AH, the musical "Bye Bye Birdie." I finally have an answer to its musical question, "What's the matter with kids today?"
The answer is, grown-ups.
We outnumber them.
The 1950s were a great time to be a kid. We outnumbered the adults. There were few rules and plenty of fellow kids in the neighborhood.
Now, the streets are pretty empty.
Mom had five kids. Her children averaged three children each. Her grandchildren averaged two.
Her great-grandchildren are just now getting in the game. Her oldest great-grandchild is 27. Yet among them all, there is only one great-great-grandchild for Mom.
Blame the pill, blame abortion, or blame low sperm counts from the use of laptops (that is the latest scare from the laboratories of science), but the fact is Americans are not procreating as they once did.
This means there are fewer children and more adults, who are watching over these kids like hawks.
I pity kids today. They suffer play dates.
In the 1950s, a play date consisted of a mother yelling at the kids to go outside and "do something."
Oh sure, a few kids came home with fewer functioning body parts than when they left, but for the rest of us, it was pretty fun.
Not so now. Any lad who ever bicycled or skateboarded in my time, and likely the 1970s and even into the 1980s, looks sadly upon the hapless boys of today in their dweeby bike helmets.
Don't get me wrong. The doctors are most correct. Head injuries and the like have gone way down since kids started wearing bicycle helmets.
But bicycling was more fun back then.
Anyone who thinks the hills in West Virginia are steep should try Hulda Avenue in Cleveland. When the light turns red, you can start at the top of the hill, and by the time you reach the street, the light has changed to green and you're traveling 35 mph.
It never occurred to me that a car might not stop at that light.
Driving, too, was better. Cars had fins.
Accidents, of course, were worse. No seat belts or airbags.
It has been years since I saw a spider on a windshield from a driver's head hitting it.