These days, it’s next to impossible to purchase anything that doesn’t come with a warning about how the item may be dangerous to your safety or harmful to your health. For example…it must be about the sixth or seventh cycle of whether eggs are healthy or harmful and I’m still confused as to whether one beer a day increases or decreases the danger or benefit of that egg.
For the record, after my birth, I came home from the doctor’s office without the security of a federally approved child safety seat. Most of the toys I remember playing with have been banned and I must have ridden a bicycle 10,000 miles…without once strapping on a helmet.
There were unsecured guns in the house (usually under the bed or in the back corner of a closet) and by the time I was 9, I could take them, without permission, to rid the farm of a pesky varmint or retrieve meat for supper or, in some cases, both. Granted, it was a different time, but I wasn’t the only boy who brought his new rifle to the one-room schoolhouse for show and tell, on the first day back from Christmas vacation. I even remember the teacher allowing us to target practice during recess and the only kid that ever got hurt was my buddy, Barney, who wondered if it was possible to stick a .22 shell in a rotten stump and use a rock as a substitute for the firing pin. Turns out…you can. With no school nurse (again, something unheard of today), the teacher wrapped up the end of his thumb with a clean rag and some tape and reminded him to be sure and let his mom take a look at it when he went home that afternoon.
I was operating the farm tractor by myself when I was 9 or 10. It had no cab or roll-over protection, and I can remember plowing acres and acres of oat ground, from the time I got home from school, until darkness set in, completely unsupervised, while Dad attended to other farm chores. Today, they would put my father in jail for allowing that.
When I was 14, I convinced my parents to let me use part of my calf money to purchase a small dirt-bike motorcycle, by rationalizing that it would be a great benefit for driving the cattle to the barn each night. Again, no helmet was needed…except for that one time.
I can also remember meticulously removing the seat belts from my first car, because I thought they really detracted from the appearance and comfort of the interior. After all, nobody was ever going to use them anyway.
Looking back, there were no amount of warning stickers, public service announcements, danger labels, parental advisories or federal rules that could have kept me from doing all the things I’ve done in my lifetime. Experience is the only true teacher.
WARNING: The content of this column, in no way, is meant to promote dangerous activities or dissuade anyone from using caution and common sense in carrying out one’s daily life. Labels and warnings are affixed for a reason…and make up your own mind about eggs.
Jerry Crownover is a farmer and former professor of Agriculture Education at Missouri State University. He is a native of Baxter County, Arkansas, and an author and professional speaker. To contact Jerry, go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’