i. I was 8. I walked up to Tommy Lasota and his friends; his smile abruptly changed and I was pummeled by one of his minions while others watched. A big kid broke it up and said to me "sorry kid ... but you lost" as he laughed and walked away.
ii. About 12, riding my bike with a friend one day, just barely
rolling along care free. I looked up to feel a roundhouse kick to my
upper body. My friend and I were bike-jacked. A cousin and his friend
happened to drive by and we found the kids and our bikes. Based on how
we apprehended the bikes, I would say the thieves wet their pants
fleeing the scene. Heh.
iii. 17 years and newly licensed. My best friend and I are at a
drive in, speakers on poles (foreshadow) and everything. We were
drinking beers and tolerating the film. A bunch of kids walked toward
us on the way to the concession stand. I glanced in the rear view
mirror and noticed a few paused to look at us. When I looked to my
right to warn my friend there might be trouble, I noticed one had his
arm around Pat's neck and was punching him. The guys were fighting
through the large open window of my 2 door Laguna. I started the 350-4
barrel and the car lifted up and out nicely. We swung the kid into a
pole, clearing him off the side of my car and off my friend's neck.
We're not sure what happened to him, but it was a great night.
Events like this inevitably shaped my world view.
Social distance is a big deal for me. I pay close attention to the
expression of a new acquaintance who gets a little close. I feel
deceived and fluff up when a friendly interaction turns to a sales
pitch. I'm not entirely proud of the fact that any given moment, I'm
pitch my glasses (they're pricey) and take a shot or throw one,
depending on the situation - even though that opportunity hasn't
presented in decades. It's just the way I am. I am keenly aware of my
This brings me to my current parenting concern.
embraced the smart phone and remain in awe of the information I carry
with me. My public display of phone usage is greatly
affected by the adventures of my angry youth. I don't stop in the
middle of a path of foot traffic to check mail, send a tweet or message
my wife about tonight's rotobird dinner. Rather, I pull over, look
around, then lower my gaze while trying to maintain my peripheral vision
as best I can while doing all ... that.
I almost look forward to my daughter getting a phone; she laughs
when I tell her when I got my first one. The handheld computer/phone is more good than bad. However, the behavior I observe when they're
used frightens me. Had they been around when I was more of a hoodlum, I
might have cashed in. Swiping one's wallet or purse is too
easy, even kids who aren't thieves might be enticed.
And now I'm left wondering something more philosophical. Should I
teach situational awareness or will I be teaching something negative about the world that isn't true?