Gut Rumbles

July 29, 2007

These are the days

Originally published february 17, 2002

What do you call a rash of rashes?
[Ed. Article no longer exists.]

The good news is that it doesn't appear to be deadly flesh-eating bacteria. The bad news is that it's probably exacerbated by energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly school buildings which are buttoned up tighter than a Fort Knox vault. Long ago, when I went to school in south Georgia, we had windows that stayed open during hot weather (which was most of the time) because we had NO AIR CONDITIONING. You might stain a test paper with drops of sweat from your brow, but you didn't break out in mysterious, contagious rashes from breathing the same recirculated air over and over again.

I didn't have air conditioning at home, either. I remember many a hot, humid night when I crawled out of my bed and lay on the cool tile floor to sleep, just to find relief from the heat. We had only three television channels in black and white, which you could access only by physically twisting a tuning knob on the set, and if you wanted popcorn, you cooked it in a pot on the stove. You baked potatoes in the oven and it took a LONG TIME. When you wrote a term paper, you typed it on actual paper on an actual typewriter and ran through a lot of white-out and eraser strips correcting mistakes. Fresh laundry hung out on a line in the back yard to dry. Birds would crap on it and it had to be washed all over again.

Of course, a Coke cost a dime, a hamburger was fifteen cents and you could still buy penny candy back in those days. And we had drive-in movies, too. Were those the good old days? As a newly-minted senior citizen, I feel qualified to say HELL NO. I like air conditioning and satellite TV and remote controls and microwave ovens and computers and washer-dryer combos. I wouldn't go back and live the way I used to for all the tea in China.

But I miss the drive-in movies.

And kids who sweat in school today probably have grounds for a lawsuit.

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