It has come to my attention that I am old. Or at any rate, not young.
And what this means, for me, is that I am coming to terms with the fact that my children are growing up in a radically different world from the one I inhabited. Do I mean social media, climate change, digital life? I do not. I mean menaces in books. And maybe movies and television.
See, in my (lost) youth, you knew what to fear: killers with hooks for arms. Vampires—sure. And above all, quicksand. It was everywhere, in every book. "Oh no, Dale, quicksand!" Which meant, of course, that I am well-trained in how to handle it. Don't struggle! The more you fight it, the likelier that you will be pulled under! Get a friend on shore to hold out a stick as they lie down on solid ground! Etc, etc. In case of vampires I've got the whole garlic, wooden stake, cross thing memorized, and of course there's not a lot you can do about the guy with the hook (which was the whole problem with him).
But kids today? (Aren't you happy for me, that I could start a paragraph with "Kids today"?) Do they know anything about quicksand? No, for them it's zombies, zombies, zombies. Sure, they have vampires, but not useful ones. And it's…I don't know, it's just one of those things that make you sharply aware of how much we have no real idea about how to handle the world around us, and how desperately (plaintively) we try to anyway.
All I can say is, I have made sure my kids know the whole quicksand drill. They, in turn, have given me some zombie tips ("just explode their heads, Mom, it doesn't matter how"). And you guys? You just remind me of any menaces of yore I may have missed, in the comments please.
8 thoughts on “Quicksand! Or, What About the Children????”
Tsunamis haunted my childhood, for some strange reason. And while I know that they are a modern menace, too, I feel like I would know exactly what to do if I were to see a giant wave cresting toward me. Another menace was “the man in the van” holding a box of candy or chocolates out to me.
YES. Tidal waves. For which I think the only cure is: get away as quick as ever you can. Also: hold on to a palm tree (courtesy of Hawaii, by James Michener).
Which makes me wonder: were tornadoes a forties thing?
So funny I turned out tv on and it was on Disney. Some show was on and they were talking about zombies! Cracked me up. It was some crazy discussion about zombies. Love your blog!
Grasshopper swarms, from the Little House books. Terrifying. I think the only solution is to get lots of chickens and move away, fast.
It was quicksand for me, too. In fact, once as a kid I was out exploring with my dad and little brother in a patch of woods near our suburban home (a patch which is now, sadly, part of a hotel/conference complex, but never mind that now) and I was walking along a log that was laid across a brook, and slipped and fell. I immediately grabbed onto the log and started kicking and kicking for dear life, raising up a tremendous splash [note: the brook was maybe all of 18 inches deep, if that]. Eventually I inched my way back to shore, and my dad asked, mystified, “What was all that kicking about?”
“In case there was quicksand!” I said. I was amazed he’d even had to ask. It was so obvious to me what the danger would be in that situation.
Careful, Els! You kicked—never struggle in quicksand! THAT’S HOW THEY GET YOU. That’s quicksand’s ironic streak, the more you struggle to live, the more surely it will destroy you.
Oh! The quicksand, YES. I was terrified of accidentally stepping in it during any sort of exploring of a new park in suburban Minneapolis. Where, of course, there is quicksand at every turn. Was it Gulligan’s Island that is responsible for this? Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale…of quicksand! EEEK!
Tornadoes!! (In New Jersey). Also: getting hit by lightning. Rubber was supposed to protect you, which is why we spent thunderstorms on the couch, surrounded by every sneaker in the house.