Thursday, August 11, 2011

3 Things That Made Sense When I Grew Up

I was a pretty innocent child. I had little interest in making trouble (apparently when I was a toddler I was Hell on Legs but I mean AFTER that.) As I grew up, my fantasies with boys involved a LOT of snuggling and very little else. The occasional fantasy make-out session was not unheard of, but it was likely in a library or after a rousing reenactment of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I watched Friends, but mostly because I thought Chandler had a funny way of talking, not because I wanted to emulate their lifestyle. Besides, they were ADULTS. They were, their TWENTIES.

So I don't understand why people--people MY age--get up in arms about the shows kids these days are watching. I don't think we give kids enough credit for their innocence.

Actual Conversation:
Girl: Have you seen iCarly?! They have such adult conversations It's forcing kids to become older than they are!
Me: Yeah, maybe. Then again, I used to watch Night Court.

It's true. I did. And damn me if I understood a single word those people were saying, but I LOVED that show. Or maybe I just loved John Larroquette. Hmm. Regardless, every generation thinks that the generation younger than them is going to Hell in a handbasket because of the shows and movies and news they're surrounded by. (PS that phrase always makes me think of this image)

Awwww! Handbaskets are so cute!

Wait, where was I? Oh right, how everyone always thinks kids are screwed. But really, I think we forget that kids do not have the knowledge, experience, and life biases that we do. 3/4 of the stuff thrown at them goes over their heads. And the other fourth gets taken in, processed, and decided upon. Because they are human beings, not robots. But most of it? Most of that "adult" stuff we let them watch? It's called "adult" for a reason--kids don't get it.

If you don't believe me, here are three things I simply DID NOT GET as a child.

1. Grease

I don't know why Grease is considered such a family-friendly movie. It boggles my mind. That is a dirty, DIRTY movie. The thing is, though, I had no idea it was dirty as a kid. All I knew was there were a lot of parts in the movie I didn't understand.

Eventually (but while still young) I was informed that the movie was kind of dirty and I started looking for things. But with my innocent, untainted mind, I still had no idea what was going on. Remember the scene when Rizzo climbs down the drainpipe to meet the boys and she says "eat your heart out" to Danny? Well, from what I could tell, Danny responds "Stop your sex just ain't my style." Which...I guess made sense. I didn't really get what it meant. Then one day it hit me--I wasn't even watching the movie, I just thought about it for AN second and realized he had said "sloppy seconds ain't my style."

And like that, all the pieces of Grease started coming together. I started thinking about lyrics I had previously ignored or glossed over and realized what sick, twisted words were going in one ear and out the other. It became so strange to me that we all danced to "Greased Lightning" in the 6th grade. Like, we're all willing to ignore the fact that John Travolta sings "you know that ain't no sh*t, we'll be gettin' lots of t*t" just so we can punch our fists up and out. White people go crazy for dancing to Greased Lightning. "You mean we get to fist pump...IN UNISON?! And then we get to CLAP?! SIGN ME UP!" But seriously that song has nothing on Eminem for dirty, sexist lyrics. And yet children have been dancing around in their living room to that song for literally DECADES. Has Family Guy REALLY caused that much trouble?

2. Tracy Chapman, Fast Car

A lovely song about a woman who likes driving in a car with her loved one. We had this album on tape and listened to it all the time when I was about 5. This one was Katie's favorite song on the album and I thought she was SO BORING for liking it. It's about a woman driving a car! What's so great about that?! I doubt Katie, an 8-year-old suburbanite, understood that the song was about the socioeconomic issues behind a woman's lower-class life and relationship, but it took ME until I was 26 to actually listen to the lyrics and realize how much is actually in this song. Which, admittedly, is probably longer than it should have taken me. (Also, check out this great cover)

3. Gin-flavored Limes

When I was little, I loved lemons and limes. I know, I know--I was a WEIRD child. And whenever we went to my aunt's house, the adults would drink drinks with limes in them. This was as far as my understanding went. They sat around drinking drinks with limes and talking about boring adult stuff. I had too many other, more fun things to be doing. I had too many Playmobil toys that needed wheelchairs to care. But every once in a while I'd come by my parents, make sure they were talking about me, and ask for their limes.

When I finally started drinking gin (ie, like last year because I am embarrassingly un-classy) I realized then, and only then, that gin and tonics remind me of my aunt. Because I had been eating gin-soaked limes as a young child and had no idea. Was I a drunk 6-year-old? Is that why I decided to get spiked hair and a tail? The world may never know.

I'll tell you one thing that still makes no sense to me, though: Mary Poppins.

Now, don't get me wrong, I loves me some Dick Van Dyke dancing with penguins. But you have to admit, that movie makes no sense. WHY ARE THERE MEN ON A ROOF SHOOTING OFF A CANNON?! WHY DOES LAUGHING MAKE YOU FLOAT?! It's one of those things I always figured I'd understand when I got older and then I got older and realized, NOPE. That stuff is just completely insane. I guess they were trying to make a movie about a child's imagination. But it wasn't MY imagination, so I thought it was just weird.

I'd love to hear some from you guys. What did you only understand once you got older? What do you STILL not understand? I wanted to make a huge list of these but I couldn't think of very many, even though I know there are a million. So help me out! Please?


Fizanks said...

When I was about 7 my dad came home with flowers for my mom and was icing his crotch. He said he had picked the flowers in a ditch or something and a bee stung him and thus he had to put ice there.

A bee sting happened or was being talked about when I was around 20 and I recounted this story as it somehow stood out. My parents laughed at me and were like "oh, that was when your dad got a vasectomy." Mind. Blown.

Emily said...


Bird (Queer Skies Ahead) said...

This post CRACKED ME UP. And then I listened to Greased Lightening, missed most of the lyrics, but caught something about a "pussy wagon." Crazy.

Emily said...

Yeah, admittedly it's not very easy to understand what they're saying even with an adult vocabulary. But I can catch enough now to be scandalized!

Mary said...

The Sotos' often reflect on how ridiculously horrible the morals in Grease are. How did this become such a standard, mainstream musical?? Let's review: the core story line involves a woman changing her entire persona, values and life-approach to pander to the misogynistic desires of a set of largely unsympathetic males. Jubilant music, dancing and cute poodle skirts render these tensions and transformations as carefree if not mildly heroic.

The depth of my moral evaluation as a kid, however, extended as far as noting that the other girls shouldn't have been mean to Sandy; that I would never join a lady gang; and that ear piercing should be done by professionals.

Carey Poppins said...

I have a died a little inside. Mary Poppins. My beloved Mary. One of my top 5 movies of all time that was loved as a child and loved even more now. The layers of meaning in this movie is actually quite deep. Now I know I'm a bit of a crazy ass when it comes to things Poppins...I might have the t shirt "what would mary poppins do?", seen the play, have several copies of the movie, and have a pandora station named Mary Poppins...okay, so I'm a bit nuts...but the movie is endearing, full of imagination love and laughter, and all sorts of eccentric people that appreciated for being, eccentric. Something that despite what tv shows and movies are watched, children do loose at earlier age then before. Life is full of possibilities...even if it means popping in and out of a chalk picture and having tea on the ceiling.

Emily said...

Ah, Carey I knew you would comment. I understand everything you're saying. I guess where I was going was more that I figured I'd understand the true reason the men were firing a canon. Like it was some wartime tradition I didn't understand. And then I grew up and realized there was no meaning behind it except to be kooky and imaginative and fun. Which is fine...I think I was just a little disappointed when I realized I was never going to get answers to that movie.

mom said...

I always liked Grease, and would try to tell you young impressionable girls that it did a good job of showing the difference in how girls see dating vs how boys see it. And Hannah's shocked realization at too-young an age that "get your filthy paws off my silky drawers" meant "get your hands off my underwear" still makes me laugh

Joe Campos said...

The first thing that jumped to my mind was Calvin & Hobbes. Not just the wit that was well beyond the comprehension of the average 10 year old but also a lot of the things that Calvin's dad would say make a lot more sense. I read some of the old strips not too long ago and not only were they a lot funnier now that I completely understand what was going on, but they were also a bit depressing now that I am starting to identify a bit more with the adults. 0.o

Hannah said...

Can we talk about "Who framed Roger Rabbit?" Lets talk about "Who framed Roger Rabbit."

1) Crazed bald man dipping smiling shoes into poisonous vat
2) Some hussy with her boobs out everywhere totally macking on a rabbit.
3) guns! Guns and violence!
4) "Remember me Jimmy? When I killed your brother, I talked JUST... LIKE... THIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIS"

I watched that movie all day every day and I turned out alright