Wednesday, January 21, 2015

     Have you ever considered what you might have said to someone when you were seven? Did you call a playmate a bad word? Did you use words you didn’t understand? I remember calling my best girlfriend’s neighbor a “whore.” I was ten. I had no idea what that meant. My friend and I hung over the backyard fence and yelled it at the neighbor’s shrubs. The story of the fallout from that experience still haunts me today. Seriously, folks, unless NASA was recording everything we said in our pre-pubescent years, how is it that thirty years after the fact, a person can be publicly scrutinized and harassed as a result? 

     Mark Wahlberg apparently said some bad things when he was a kid. So did I. I’m sure other stars “borrowed” their mother’s Miracle bras or helped themselves to the family car for a little fun at the Big Boy drive through. But come on, people, that was then, and this is now. If, however, years ago, you were sexually abusing women and paying them off to keep them quiet, that’s another story.

     I have wracked my brain trying to remember all the bad words, slurs, inappropriate comments I made from the age of two to fourteen, but for the life of me, I can’t remember many. I do recall being sent to my room and losing my “privileges” for smacking my bratty sister around occasionally. I recall being “grounded” as a teen for sassing my mean who “sacrificed her life to buy me nice clothes.” Yeah, right. She sacrificed so she could take another cruise to Hawaii with my Dad. Fortunately, for me, these careless syllables don’t matter, as I’m not famous (well, at least not to anyone but my seven-year-old grand-daughter.)

     Wow, how times have changed. Instead of parents grounding their kids or taking away their toys, they now lock them in basements and deny them food. This morning, a news story revealed a father in Montana who made his son stand on a major street with a poster in his hand saying, “I’m 14. I stole the family car and lied.” What? Yup. The Dad was sitting in a folding chair behind the kid who was standing at the curb. Public humiliation, including international coverage of his poster art should not leave any scars.

     The only way to play it safe these days is to zip your mouth and hide under your bed.