i’m a survivor…

I was checking my Outlook today and realized I was an email pack rat. In it were emails dating back to 1998. Oh, I delete most that I receive, especially those that somehow miss the supposedly highly-intelligent junk filter.

As most things male, I’m afraid to throw anything away.  I’ve kept a lot of items from the last 25 years that I really have no need for. Things I have to have and keep. Afraid that I would someday somehow need that cue ball I “borrowed” from a pool hall in Chicago. Fear, though helpful in certain situations, in my case makes me hoard objects that are well, crap.

Though my defense for hanging on to them is mostly sentimental, they honestly are just taking up space. Lots of valuable space. Space I don’t have.

So today, I decided to do a little clean-up. First on my detox list is my email. I spent a good hour this afternoon going through them all, deleting all that I deemed unessential. Let me tell you, it was difficult clicking the “delete” button on them. But after I was done, it felt great and cathartic.

During this self-imposed purge, I found a few little gems that I decided to hold on to. These emails were saved from the thrash bin, either because they were (1) sentimental, (2) inspirational, (3) informational, and/or (4) just plain funny.

One that I kept happen to meet all four criteria above. This one, received in 2006, was sent by brother Joe from San Francisco. Like my father, he’s a private person and rarely emails me.  And when he does, it’s not some drivel. We talk on the phone often, but is not the corresponding type. Although he didn’t compose the content himself, I thoroughly enjoyed it.


“This is dedicated to all of us kids who survived the 1920s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.

First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn’t get tested for diabetes.

After that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright-colored, lead-based paints. We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles or doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking.

As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, booster seats, seat belts, or air bags. And we loved to ride in the back of pickup trucks on warm days. We still do.

We drank water from the garden hose and not from a plastic bottle. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and no one actually died from this.

We ate cupcakes, white bread, whole milk, real butter, and drank Kool-aid made with sugar. We weren’t overweight because we were always outside playing.

We would leave home in the morning and play all day—as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day and we were OK.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then ride down the hill only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.

We did not have: Playstations, Nintendos, X-Boxes, 500 cable channels, DVDs, 100″ plasma TVs, iPods, Blackberries, cell phones, iPhones, GPS systems, or satellite radios.

We didn’t have the internet, chatrooms, intstant messaging, SMS Texting, or Myspace. We had real friends and we went outside and found them. We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were given BB guns for our 10th birthdays. We made up games with sticks and balls—hard and soft. Although we were told it would happen, we did not poke our eyes out.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend’s house, knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. There, we played cowboys and indians and didn’t have to worry about being PC.

Little League had tryouts, and not everyone made the team. Those who didn’t had to learn to deal with disappointment—imagine that!

These generations have produced some of the best risk takers, problem solvers, and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success, and responsibility—and we learned how to deal with it all.

If you are one of us, CONGRATULATIONS!

If not, then hopefully this gives you an idea of a time when lawyers and the government did not regulate our lives as much. And if your parents were one, then let them know how brave and lucky they were.”


Kinda makes you wanna run through the house with scissors doesn’t it?


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