What things when younger did you think were more important than they turned out to be?

That actually did happen to my maternal grandmother, or so I was told. Supposedly she did indeed drop and roll, and managed to escape serious burns because she knew what to do. As to why her clothes ignited, I don’t recall if I was ever told.

My mother passed away in 2013, so it’s too late to ask for more details. But given that she was pretty obsessed with making sure I knew what to do, I’m inclined to think the story is true.

My grandfather’s brother died in infancy because someone tossed a cigarette butt, or maybe a match, into his pram, and it went up in flames.

I think some of these things used to be more common than they are now.

What an awful story.

I’ve been thinking about my grandmother’s story more, and memory (which we all know can be extremely inaccurate) tells me that she was hanging clothes on the clothesline to dry, the neighbor was burning leaves, and a gust of wind carried some burning leaves onto her dress.

No idea if my subconscious has conveniently fabricated a story for me or if I really was told that, but offhand it seems plausible.

I had scarlet fever when I was 7, and I got to stay home for 2 weeks. Though I normally loved school, that year I had a really horrid teacher, so I was happy doing my homework at home and just reading.

We had drills in which we all filed out into the hall, opened our lockers and stood between the open locker doors. I have no idea what that was supposed to accomplish, or what would have become of the poor kid on the end.

I grew up with an abusive, authoritarian father, and my biggest goal was to make it through high school. Then I’d be on my own, free, with no one telling me what to do. That didn’t turn out to be quite the utopia I had expected, though it was better than living with a monster.

I feel like you and I may have had this conversation before. :grinning: I also ended up finding friends in college through role playing games rather than card games. Although not D&D, curiously enough. I’ve actually never played D&D.

The library I volunteer at gets piles of books, mostly from the 1960s and 1970s, on how to play bridge, and to a lesser extent canasta. We can’t give them away.

We may have been separated at birth, because my father and mother both insisted that I learn how to play bridge. Dad did, when he was at college, and according to him, if I was going to have any friends when I went to college, I needed to be able to play bridge. Besides, Mom and Dad often had friends over for an evening of bridge, my Grandmother belonged to a bridge club–to me, as a child, playing bridge was what adults did. So, at the tender age of 9, and eager to learn the game, I learned how to play bridge.

When I got to university, nobody I knew there knew how to play it. But my knowledge wasn’t wasted; through my teens, I was an easy fourth at the cottage where we spent summers with my grandmother and my aunt (no TV, only a radio, and playing games, mostly card games, was what we did in the evenings). I had fun playing it with co-workers on our lunch breaks maybe forty years ago, but I haven’t played it since. Knowing how to play bridge is no longer important.

Sure, but I, a kid born in the 90s, didn’t really have to worry about it as much as I did.

Also marriage and parenthood. Pace QtM, it’s not that all those things aren’t great in their own right, but it turns out there isn’t anybody actually requiring you to do them, nor is there in fact any law of nature decreeing that you can’t be happy without them. Who knew?

Also the dreaded “bathtub ring”…
There were lots of commercials on TV for some kind of bubble bath for kids,. The final,climactic moment at the end was the announcer saying how wonderful it is that this product leaves no ring around the bathtub. “Mom will love that!”

And on the same issue: no chocolate stains on your hands.
There was an M&M candy commercial that boasted “the chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” The camera showed a kid proudly displaying his hands, palms open, and oh-so-clean.

I naturally assumed that these problems were no less important than practicing hiding under our desks at school to avoid nuclear fallout/

Worse than that; I was told that strangers would put drugs into candy and stuff and then hide it or give it out on halloween and such. There were nefarious people everywhere trying to trick you into consuming free drugs!

For a while I didn’t question it, but even as a kid I was smart enough to eventually reason that one out. ‘Wait a minute…these drugs are expensive, why would they do that?’ The explanation was supposedly to get people addicted, but that also failed even my child-level sniff-test. If they’re doing it so secretly, how would you know what you’ve become addicted to?

I also have to second quicksand as something that, for some reason, seemed like it would play a much larger role in my life than it has. I’ve never seen actual quicksand.

When we were kids we loved to stay on grandpa’s small farm for a week in summer. Their water was from a cistern and they had to buy more if the rain did not fill it. I think we got a bath every other day. All three boys in a tub with about 2 inches of water. We might have left a ring.

On first read I thought you were 41 and still thumb-sucking.

My first trip to Jamaica I had guys who were there with their families complaining to me that nobody was approaching them wanting to sell weed. I (traveling solo) made several hookups and acted as middleman, taking a half of the bag as my cut. Everyone ended up happy.

We all went out into the hall, lined up against the wall (I forget whether it was the inner or the outer wall, but I’m pretty sure we were taught that it mattered which one), crouched down facing the wall, and folded our arms over our heads.

I was under the impression at the time that if the building fell down, the wall was expected to break in such a fashion that there’d be a sheltered area where we were crouching, so we’d survive the collapse and be in an air space.

Other effects from an atomic bomb strike aside, this seemed to me once I was older to be somewhat unlikely. It’s interesting that apparently different schools did such different things.

– I think that I, along with a lot of other people, expected civilization to collapse, whether from nuclear war or from any of various types of environmental collapse or just from too many people deciding they were getting screwed over by it. This may still turn out to be accurate; but somewhere along the line I stopped expecting it to happen any minute.

And winding up mostly living alone (as far as humans are concerned) has been a lot more pleasant than I would have expected.

You know the wrong strangers.

The reason for diving under your desk, or hiding between locker doors during a nuclear strike was to protect you from flying debris, like shards of broken glass.

Of course, that wasn’t going to help if you are within a certain distance of Ground Zero. In that case, you’re going to be a puddle of molten protoplasm, if not totally vaporized no matter where you hide. But beyond a certain distance, hiding under your desk could make a difference.

Same with closing the Venetian blinds. The row of students sitting closest to the windows was supposed to close the blinds, then duck under their desks. That was to prevent broken glass from flying all around.

Tampered-with Halloween candy. Razor blades in apples was a big thing.

Also, swimming within an hour after eating. I imagined daredevil kids cramping up and instantly drowning when venturing into the water a mere half hour after wolfing down a hot dog.


Any why would anyone do something like this?, I see people asking. What is there to be gained from it?

Just pure malicious malevalent vandalism. People of a certain mind just get a thrill from doing shit like that.

Lock jaw. I might step on something sharp and starve to death because I couldn’t eat. As if I never had a tetanus shot.

A broken neck. When I was a kid adults would tell you “knock that off, you’ll break you neck!” Where are all these kids with broken necks?
But damned if I didn’t say the same thing to my kids.

The lake of fire. This one is dark. My parents had me convinced if I didn’t think or act in a certain way I was doomed to spend eternity in the lake of fire. That one stuck with me until early adulthood. Now I look at religion as a ridiculous thing people only do because their parents told them to.

Ha ha. With me it was “You’ll split your head open!” or “you’ll crack your skull open!”.