Thursday, May 8, 2008

Danger, Will Robinson

Sleep is out of the question, so WTF …

In the golden of age of childhood, which – of course – is whatever age the speaker was a child, we covered a lot of ground on Halloween. Kids in the city had maybe 15 feet (and perhaps a flight of steps in some neighborhoods) so the economic cost/benefit equation always seemed to support the decision to keep going until all the porch lights went out.

But what seemed like a tremendous haul back home, always shrunk in the light of the candy inspection. Maybe you do this now.

Unwrapped candy? Out.

Slightly torn wrapper? Pitch it.

Carefully dipped and wrapped apple? Where’d that come from?

We knew, because it was the … wait for it … Dominant Narrative that there were all kinds of creeps out there who got their jollies poisoning and injuring unsuspecting kids. It was our truth because we believed it, out parents believed it and the nice ladies on the teevee kept warning us about it.

But was it true? Have you ever actually heard of a needle-in-the-apple placed there by a complete stranger?

By a complete stranger?

Me neither.

Now I am not suggesting that anybody stop thinking twice about candy from strangers. Nor does anyone dispute that a healthy dose of wariness is a healthy skill to teach children.

But still.

Every autumn hospitals offer to x-ray bags of candy for children. Have they ever found the razor in the candy bar? If they have, it got ridiculously little coverage in the mainstream press.

That’s not to say those community hospitals should stop capitalizing on the dominant narrative. That’s, you know, what we’re all about here.

Especially if it gets me back my Reese’s cups.

But is it a good idea to scare the kids in the process?

Just askin’ …

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