The real Little Green Man from Mars is alive and well and living in Appalachia.

The Truth Is a Lone Assassin by Jonco Bugos

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Walk, Don't Run

I'm not talking about the guitar song The Ventures did back in the 1960s. But, come to think of it, I actually own a vinyl recording of Golden Greats by The Ventures, which includes that song. Earthlings, by the way, didn't want vinyl records anymore after audio cassettes were invented. And then when compact discs were invented they lovingly called them CDs and then they tried their best to obliterate every audio cassette on the planet for violating some unwritten code of coolness, or some such damn thing. The only vinyl recording Earthlings wanted after CDs firmly ruled the recorded music world was the Beatles' White Album and then just to own it or to covet it, not to actually play it. It's the same deal with a hundred-year-old bottle of wine. Really old vintage wine on Earth isn't to drink but to stare at and brag about. Go figure.

Anyway, the Ventures' song Walk, Don't Run really isn't the point of this blog posting. I'm talking about the way American Earthlings go out of their way to make sure that people, and especially children, never run in public. Earth kids are supposed to be seen and not heard. But, above all, they're supposed to walk and not run on most surfaces of the planet. Especially in America.

I never understood why children were supposed to be "seen and not heard". Parents in the 20th Century had little tolerance for gabby kids. I never knew why. I think it was because the children were hogging all the attention from the gabby adults who, in turn, thought they held some kind of patent or something on speech. Also, Earth parents don't like to learn anything from their children. That must seem counter-evolutionary to them or something, I don't know. So, in keeping with Earth tradition, American kids in the 20th Century were pretty quiet around adults.

But they still liked to run.

Running was fun. Wherever you were going, you got there faster. If there was something to be had at the end of your run, like the last piece of cake or the last cookie or a chance to buy an ice cream cone before the ice cream shop closed, then the rewards of running were obvious. But the penalty for running in places where running was frowned upon, or just plain outlawed, grew and grew as you got older. Suddenly, running in most places was a crime.

Running inside the house was forbidden in most American homes. A kid running inside the house was a kid in trouble, running away from something he or she had coming to them. Or a kid just too damn happy to be tolerated by adults who never seemed to have the time to be happy because of all the work and responsibilities that had somehow kept them from running. So, the inside of the house was definitely off limits for running from day one. Walking in the house was still OK, though.

Kids all over America were not permitted to run on sidewalks in downtown areas ever since the Colonies told King George to stuff it. While it was perfectly all right to run down the street in any residential neighborhood, doing the hundred yard dash in front of a store or a restaurant meant that you had stolen something and were high-tailing it for cover. If you were downtown with your parents and you took off running that meant that your parents had no control over you and that made them mad. Parents were supposed to be concerned that their children would fall and hurt themselves but the real reason is that children weren't supposed to bump into old people and knock them down. Both things seemed to happen all the time but grown ups were still hesitant to post signs downtown about not running. Kids: 1, Parents: 0. But the game continued.

Grown-up Americans fought back by posting "No Running" signs everywhere else to make up for their inability to post these kind of signs on downtown sidewalks. So they posted them in airports, train stations, bus stations, shopping malls, stores, churches, church parking lots, school corridors, you name it. Parents began steering their small children by their heads while shopping, not because the kids didn't know their way around but because they might break into a gallop at any moment. Head steering worked. It was very difficult even for the strongest, most agile boy or girl to start running when their little feet were firmly pressed to the floor by big grown-up hands applied to the top of their heads. Kids: 1, Parents: 101. Game over.

American parents, and the grown-up Americans who seemed to hate children and animals more than W. C. Fields himself, had won a resounding victory against the high crime of running in public. Their victory was so overwhelming that grown ups, themselves, were forbidden to run in public. But only kids got into trouble over it. By 1960, running in public had become the second biggest kid crime in America. The biggest kid crime in America was giving your opinion out loud about anything while grown ups were giving theirs.

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