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

Believe it or not, when I was little, it was a thing to invite your kids’ teachers to dinner. I remember my older brother’s kindergarten and first-grade teachers, but by the time I was in school the custom had died out. This would have been in the late '40s.

Maybe I was supposed to pay a corkage fee :slightly_smiling_face:

I ended up as a Creative Director. One day the boss called: “American Family’s coming in an hour to see that new campaign! Hope you’re done, and available to sell it.”
“No prob. Should I clean up? I’m in black jeans, but I’ve got a sportcoat and tie, and a shaver in my desk…”
“No, no, don’t you dare clean up. We need you to look creative.”
“Great, then it’s the clip-on pony tail?”

Speaking of ad agencies, no one knew I had a pointless BS in Biology. Especially not the boss, who (two weeks after I’d started) mentioned “Hey, we were so busy at your interview talking about the work here that I just realized I’ve never looked at your resumé or your portfolio! Maybe we’ll do lunch and get around to that.”

(We never “did lunch”…)

I’ve actually found that comes in handy now and again.

As a strategist at an ad agency, my expected attire is somewhere between a creative and an account person. One of my outfits for client meetings is something that my wife calls my “agency ninja” wear: dark sportcoat, black t-shirt, black slacks.

Rattlesnakes. I’ve heard about them since forever. Yes, I’ve seen plenty, and I’ve killed plenty. But they always let you know when you should back the fuck up.

They don’t jump at you.

Heard this from somebody and posting this just to razz them

I remember lots of safety videos about the dangers of blasting caps. 50 years later I’ve yet to encounter one (I don’t even know what they are).

These videos will probably tell you more about blasting caps than you really want to know.


Being trapped in a junkyard refrigerator. Apparently I never played hide and seek with the cool, dangerous kids.

Refrigerators with a mechanical latch have been passe for quite some time. I don’t know if a little kid would have the strength to push open a magnetic latch is confined, though.

Not swallowing chewing gum. It takes 7 years to digest? That’s how long I’ve been alive!

Getting picked last for teams and not participating in school sports. At age 60 I don’t have the aches and pains associated with old sports injuries, knees and hips doing just fine.

For example, statistics for the 18 months from January 1954 to June 1956 show that 54 children were known to have been trapped in household refrigerators, and that 39 of them died. As the issue rose in prominence, people were asked not to abandon refrigerators and to detach the doors of unused refrigerators… The Refrigerator Safety Act in 1956 was a U.S. law that required a change in the way refrigerator doors stay shut…The act applied to all refrigerators manufactured in the United States after 31 October 1958, and is largely responsible for the adoption of the [magnetic]mechanism that is used today instead of a latch.

My mother, a nurse of over thirty years, told me once that swallowed chewing gum ends up in the appendix. I’m pretty sure she implied that was a major cause of appendicitis.

Been swallowing gum for most of my 57 years. My appendix should be the size of a medicine ball.

Goodness, what happens to gum swallowed by people who’ve had their appendix out?

Amazingly enough, I never thought to ask…

Two that were brought up:

Scarlet fever. I had it when I was four or five. I don’t remember it because I was delirious. My parents had to hold me under a cold shower to get my insanely high temperature down. Every time a new doctor finds out I had it they become very interested in my heart. It can cause permanent damage to the heart valves. Luckily I don’t have any lasting damage.

Tornadoes. I was obsessed and scared of tornadoes. Which is kind of weird since I was living in New Jersey and we are not known for our tornadoes. My father was very annoyed with that I was scared of tornadoes. The funny thing is now decades later there has been a significant increase in tornadoes in the state. Stopped being afraid though.

That’s how my uncle died, though as I understand it, cigarettes were far from the heaviest thing he was on at the time.

For me it was 5/5/2000. There was some kind of belief that the planetary alignment on that day was going to cause all kinds of cataclysmic devastation on that day - fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, rivers and seas boiling, forty years of darkness, earthquakes, volcanoes, the dead rising from their graves, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, MASS HYSTERIA - and it terrified me for most of my childhood. I was extremely relieved when the day came around and nothing happened, although I was still a little trepidatious about 12/21/2012, which also happened to be my 30th birthday and therefore seemed like an appropriate day for the world to end.

On a lesser note, rip currents. We had an all-school assembly once a year the entirety of my K-12 education, warning us about what rip currents are, how to recognize them, and what to do if you got caught in one, but the entire time I was living in southern CA and swimming in the ocean I never encountered one. I also had a fear of walking over bridges or piers because I thought an earthquake might happen and the bridge would collapse, which I think was partially fueled by the fact that there had been a rather significant pier collapse in the area when I was very young, though that happened because of a storm and not an earthquake.

The rendering plants that buy the appendices don’t want the gum so doctors just toss it on the sidewalk outside the OR. Check for yourself. You’ll always find gum stuck to the sidewalk outside a hospital.

I had scarlet fever when I was seven. As an adult, I’ve had my aortic valve replaced, and another valve may need replacement. Cause-and-effect not proven.

But the scarlet fever did change my metabolism. Until then I was a skinny little kid who just picked at my food. After then I had a hearty appetite with a tendency to being overweight. Again, cause-and-effect not proven.