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Don’t do anything stupid

A Christmas Story

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When I was a kid, my mom had odd rules.  At least to my little kid mind they were odd rules.  They were not a set of rules written on a page, but rather guidance given out when the time seemed right.  Things like:

Can I get a bb gun like my friends have?  No, you’ll shoot your eye out. (Yes, just like Ralphie’s mom in A Christmas Story.)

Can I get the GI Joe helicopter with the spinning rotor?  No, you’ll poke your eye out.

Can I get a rubber knife like my friends have?  No, you’ll poke someone else’s eye out.

Well, ok.  I embellish a bit.  Not everything was about poking out an eye.  There was the occasional “You know Superman is not real and people can’t fly, right?”

It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I understood the guidance.  It wasn’t about having the rules.  It was my mom’s way of saying “don’t do anything stupid.”  She was concerned that, as kids are inclined to do, I would do something stupid that would result in me getting hurt.  Usually irreparably damaged, like losing an eye.

Today I find myself doling out similar rules to my kids.  Don’t go in the road.  Don’t run with the scissors.  Hold the knife by the handle.  I even told my son to not lean over the second floor balcony because he might fall.  Not like there might be a sudden shift in the earth’s gravitational pull, causing him to suddenly and inexplicably fall.  More so in case he climbed too far to look over the balcony, and leaned too far past his center of gravity.  Slim chance, I know.  But those are my ways of telling him to not do anything stupid.

So thanks, mom, for passing along the guidance.  I can’t say I didn’t do anything stupid, but I do have all my body parts in their original places.

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