27 March 2011

Dating Yourself

Because I live with my parents, there are many things in my house that I have never laid eyes on. Much of what they brought with them in the great trek from Western New York had in fact originated in Massachusetts. They were only bringing it back home. All of my books from growing up, for instance, where I had written my name in painstaking cursive on the fly leaf or used my crayons to make 'improvements' to the story's illustrations.

These now of course belong to Miss Em and she has quite enjoyed many of my old favorites, including the story of Emmy and Timothy, the girl and her lamb, which ends in spilled birthday cake and rogue purple balloons but also includes daisy chains and long walks through grassy fields. Also, the picture book of the boy who takes his goat camping. They spend warm summer nights together in a red tent eating granola bars. That always seemed to me like something I wouldn't mind doing. Unfortunately, my parents didn't love me enough to buy me either a lamb or a goat, a slight I am still trying to outgrow.

Last night Emmaline found another one of these treasures, an over-sized paperback entitled A Sigh of Relief: The First-Aid Handbook for Childhood Emergencies. It, like so many other items that emerged from the enormous moving truck my parents somehow managed to fill even after several rounds of merciless culling, is completely unnecessary in life. It either survived because it was packed in a box at the point at which no one was actually registering what things were anymore, having moved into the phase where everything just needs to go, or else my mother specifically saved it with the thought that I might find it interesting.

I do. But I will also be getting rid of it. Our house may be big, but it's not that big.

The book was published in 1977. I suppose it was reasonable back then, in the wake of the psychedelic sixties, that the few pages printed in color would be devoted to possible toxic ingestions of certain flora.

The pages that outline what to do if you are impaled in the leg by a metal dart from your dart board, I'm a little less clear about, especially as neither party involved appears particularly disturbed by their predicament.

Also, and here it was Daryl who asked the pertinent question, when would you ever use an ironing board as a stretcher? Or, as another page illustrates, a door? Doors are heavy. I bought a house, so I know this now.

In the end I didn't learn anything about medicine from flipping through the book. But I did come to the realization that no matter what Bradley Whitford may think, it is a very good thing indeed that mustaches have fallen out of favor.

Campfires and marshmallows, however, are understandably timeless.

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