My Mom used to cut chicken, chop eggs, and spread mayo on the same cutting board with the same knife...and no bleach! Funny, but we never seemed to get food poisoning! My Mom used to defrost hamburger on the counter, too....and used to eat it raw sometimes, but I just can't remember getting ecoli...not once! Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring). The term cell phone would have conjured up a phone in a jail cell, and a pager was the school PA system. We all took gym, not "PE"... and risked permanent injury with a pair of high top Keds (only worn in gym) instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built-in light reflectors. I can't recall any injuries, but they must have happened because they tell us how much "safer" we are now. Flunking gym was not an option... even for stupid kids! I guess "PE" must be a lot harder than gym. Every year, someone taught the whole school a lesson [and provided comic relief] by running in the halls with leather soles on linoleum tile and hitting the wet spot. How much better off would we be today if we only knew we could have sued the School District! Speaking of school, we all said prayers and sang the National Anthem and staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention. We must have had horribly damaged psyches! I can't understand it. Schools didn't offer 14 year-olds an abortion or condoms (we wouldn't have known what either was anyway), but they did give us a couple of baby aspirin and cough syrup if we started getting the sniffles. What an archaic health system we had then. Remember the School Nurse? Ours wore a hat and everything! I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can't believe how bored we all were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box, or 270 digital-cable TV stations. I must be repressing that memory as I try to rationalize through the denial of the dangers could have befallen us as we trekked off each day about a mile down the road to some guy's vacant lot, built forts out of branches and pieces of plywood, made trails, and fought over who got to be the Lone Ranger. What was that property owner thinking, letting us play on that lot? He should have been locked up for not putting up a fence around the property, complete with a self-closing gate and an infrared intruder alarm! Oh yeah... and where was the Benadryl and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have died! We played king of the hill on piles of gravel left on vacant construction sites and when we got hurt, Mom pulled out the 48-cent bottle of Mercurochrome and then we got our rear spanked. Now it's a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10-day dose of a $49 bottle of antibiotics and then Mom calls the attorney to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat! We didn't act up at the neighbor's house either because if we did, we got our butt spanked there, too...and then we got spanked again when we got home! Talk about physical abuse!!! Mom invited the door to door salesman inside for coffee, kids choked down the dust from the gravel driveway while playing with Tonka trucks. (Remember Tonka Trucks? Remember how tough they were? It sure wasn't so they could take the rough Berber in the family room!) Oh, and Dad even drove a car burning leaded gas! Our music had to be left inside when we went out to play and I am sure that I nearly exhausted my imagination a couple of times when we went on two week vacations. I should probably sue the folks now for the danger they put us in when we all slept at campgrounds in the family tent. Summers were spent behind the push lawn mower and I didn't even know that mowers came with engines until I was 13...and (horrors!) we got one without an "automatic blade-stop"! How sick were my parents? Of course my parents weren't the only psychos. I recall Donny Reynolds from next door coming over and doing his tricks on the front stoop just before he fell off. Little did his Mom know that he could have owned our house. Instead she picked him up and swatted him for being such a goof. It was a neighborhood run amok!!! To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that? We needed group therapy and anger management classes...and didn't even know it! We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn't even notice that the entire country wasn't taking Prozac! How did we EVER survive???