I’m coming dangerously close to graduation, which means that I’m growing ever closer to that elusive destination called “the future.”
When people are at such a point in their lives, they sometimes find themselves reflecting longingly on that other elusive time, the past. Remember sandboxes and balloons and hopscotch? Remember flying kites and blowing bubbles? Now that spring is here, wouldn’t it be nice to go back and experience those simple pleasures once again?
No. It wouldn’t. The fact of the matter is, all of your favorite childhood activities were silly and boring and are nothing like you remember them.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a comprehensive list of things you can do with a helium balloon, not including activities that involve puncturing or popping it: Hold it. Let it go.
I don’t know about you, but holding a piece of ribbon only holds my attention for so long. Letting it go and watching it float away is fascinating for a while, but then you no longer have a balloon and you realize that the whole affair was basically just an exercise in futility and impermanence.
Kite flying isn’t much better. About 40 percent of the experience is the frustration of getting it in the air, followed by about 2 percent excitement once it does catch a gust of wind. After that, the remaining 58 percent of the experience is just standing around in an empty field holding a piece of string.
Experiencing the laws of aerodynamics at play right before your eyes can be fascinating for a couple of minutes. After that, the experience boils down to “There’s a piece of tarp up in the sky, and that’s kind of unique.”
Bubbles are tedious, too. Kids can spend hours playing with bubbles, and it will be the highlight of their day. But these days, the idea of an airborne soap swarm invokes more annoyance than wonder.
Even fireworks, the ultimate symbol of awe and excitement, have lost most of their luster since childhood. They go up, they flash and they go boom. Big whoop.
“But all of those things were fun during childhood because it was a simpler time,” you might say.
Fair enough. As children, we didn’t have much of a frame of reference for fascination, and that’s part of what was so great about being young. But that’s a reflection on the stupidity — er, innocence of children. There’s nothing inherently magical about those activities, and it’s no use over-romanticizing them.
For better or for worse, we now have sex and drugs and Quentin Tarantino movies to entertain us.
But that’s OK. There are worse things than realizing your childhood is dead.
William T. Perkins is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Is your childhood dead? Vent to William by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.