Surviving typhoid and merry-go-rounds
Never mind that there are only about 400 cases of typhoid in the United States a year, and 75 percent of them are in people who've traveled out of the country. I was warned that the guys were going to become seriously ill from playing in a creek while we were on vacation - the same creek we all waded in when we were kids. "That water is just full of disease. Those boys are going to get sick with typhoid and die," I was lectured.
They also survived a spin on a merry-go-round - an old-fashioned barf-inducing merry-go-round, albeit one with protective wood chips piled underneath. The only serious injury was to the seat of Boots' pants, which are never going to come clean again.
Ay, but merry-go-rounds are dangerous, too, which is why the only one the guys had seen previously was an exhibit, locked in chains to prevent thrill-seekers from maiming their fool selves in pursuit of fun.
The irony is that the commonly mentioned hazard of merry-go-rounds is broken bones - something Big Guy had managed to accomplish the previous summer during a tumble from the monkey bars on scrupulously safe modern playground.
I guess all of this makes me a radical in today's "swaddle them in bubble wrap" world. But, then, even before we went on vacation they were walking to the park at the end of our street with a pack of other neighborhood kids. And now that Big Guy's learned how to not be a hoodlum, they're allowed to play in the front yard, too.
All the while I can hear the judging voices. "You let them go to the park? You're in California. Someone's going to grab them."
"The last case I heard of like that involved a Sunday school teacher. Is church dangerous, too?"
"Well, I see it on the news all the time."
"We must be watching different channels. That case happened more than a year ago."
Different channels or different frequencies? It seems that some can hear fear with ears as keen as a canine's. Somewhere we've lost our ability to accurately assess risk, continually blowing the remotest possibility of a problem into the sheer terror of certain tragedy.
I'll take dangerous merry-go-rounds any day over the raging obesity epidemic that's stemming in part from our tendencies to bubble wrap. It seems like that danger's putting our kids far more at risk than the remote possibility of a dread disease caught while splashing around in water.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.