Pete Davison: Childlike Wonderment

Posted on May 16, 2011 by

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Everyone supposedly misses their childhood, a time of innocence and purity when you could make fart jokes without worrying about your potential audience. And sure, there are plenty of awesome things about childhood — and plenty of reasons to ensure you keep an air of immaturity handy should the occasion demand it. But there were plenty of shitty things, too. So, in the best tradition of online journalism, I present to you the Top Five Reasons Childhood was Shit/Awesome.

Shit: Enforced Sport

P.E. lessons were something of a necessary evil, but inflicting team sports on non-sporty types is just torture, particularly when said non-sporty types inevitably are the last ones to get picked for the team, leading to abject humiliation, even if it was unintentional. So fuck P.E. — I’d much rather we’d had sessions in the gym or something. Of course, our school didn’t have  a gym at that point, so…

Awesome: Imaginary Play with Shit Props

My primary school was out in the country, so naturally this meant we had a lot of countryside things find their way into the playground. We had The Log, which was fairly self-explanatory, and found itself carved into an interesting assault course by everyone who discovered you could scrape a stick along it and make “piggy dust”. But we also had two tractor tyres, which could be stacked in various ways to make “flight simulators” of varying complexity. Which was awesome.

Shit: Inadvertent Bodily Functions

At school, you are statistically more likely to throw up in front of people, shit yourself or piss yourself than at any other time in your life, until you become an old person, when said risk starts to increase again. I think that’s really all that needs to be said on the matter. Pissing, shitting or sicking yourself is never pleasant — and even worse if there are witnesses. If you piss, shit or sick yourself when you’re older than a child, people assume there’s something wrong and that you need help. If you piss, shit or sick yourself when you’re a child, though, you’ll become an object of ridicule and never recover. Even years later, you’ll be Captain “Hey! Remember that time you shat yourself?”.

Awesome: The Acceptability of Lunchtime Farting Contests

Depending on your place of work, this may not apply, but for the most part, competing with your peers for who can do the best fart (and, by extension, who can discover the best position into which you can manoeuvre your legs and anus to create the most cacophonic flatulence possible) is unacceptable. But at school, this sort of behaviour was perfectly normal, if normally confined to the far end of the school field.

Shit: Having to Swear in Stealth

Swearing too much is the sole preserve of the chav, but everyone knows that a well-executed expletive can be enormously entertaining. At school, swearing was enough to get you a detention (though in my experience, these days kids swear so much it’s generally ignored by teachers) and at home it was enough to get you a good hiding/grounding. Now, as grown adults, you can call each other cocks with gay abandon.

Awesome: Sleepovers

You can have sleepovers when you’re older, but your friends tend to have their own house, and sleeping in their bedroom is generally frowned upon. But back in childhood and even into teenagerdom, sleepovers were a big deal. My favourite sleepover came after one of our exam results days, when my friend Woody “invented” the phenomenon of Emperor Farts, which simply involves quoting one of the Emperor’s lines from Star Wars, then farting. It’s funnier if you see it actually happening.

Shit: Subculture Segregation

Okay, this still happens when you’re older, but it’s particularly pronounced in school. Geeks don’t talk to the cool kids. Cool kids don’t talk to musicians, who are a different kind of cool, unless they’re in the orchestra, in which case they’re kind of a geek. Goths don’t talk to anyone. Chavs talk to everyone but usually to start a fight. And everyone stays in their own little clique. Grow up a bit and you’ll find yourself blending with a much more diverse band of people, particularly if you work somewhere like an Apple Store.

Awesome: Kids’ TV

Kids’ TV in the 80s and 90s was, as the rose-tinted spectacles will have it, awesome. A lot of it, to its credit, is still funny today, and entertaining for kids and adults alike. Contrast with the bullshit on kids’ TV today… and you end up sounding like an old man. But hey.

Shit: Constraints

As a kid, you had to be home by a certain time, eating at a certain time, in bed by a certain time. As a grownup you can generally do what the fuck you please, so long as you either haven’t made dinner plans with a hot date, or don’t mind pissing off your hot date.

Awesome: Simple Pleasures

As a kid, you can find entertainment and enjoyment in the simplest things. Parents get a new car? Get taken out for a ride in it! Found a box of old clothes? Play dress-up! Got some Lego? Make something awesome without the first thing that enters your mind being a three-dimensional blocky phallus! The possibilities are endless, and you don’t even need money for most things.

So basically, being a kid was pretty awesome and shit at the same time, just like being an adult. The key, then, is to find a way to balance out the awesome and shit parts of both.

So, who’s up for a lunchtime farting competition?

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