Thanks to all who answered Dumb Question #1, "What's up with all the tattoos?"
Here's Dumb Question #2: Why can't young kids ride their bikes around suburbs anymore, and why can't older kids hitchhike?
An older friend of mine tells a wonderful story about his 15th summer. He and a pal told their middle-class families they were going hitchhiking, from their suburban New Jersey home all over New England. They'd be gone two or three weeks. Their mothers told them to be careful, and sent them on their way. When they returned, and flung open their front doors expecting a hero's welcome, each was crushed to find his family distracted by something on TV: the first moon landing, in the summer of 1969.
Now, how is it that in only 40 years that story has come to sound so utterly preposterous to us? Have mothers only recently begun to care for their children?
And, less dramatic but even more tragic, kids of my Generation X talk with the glassy-eyed nostalgia of the elderly about riding their bicycles freely around towns and suburbs. And we're not talking ten-speeds; a five-year-old friend of mine was known from one end of Hudson, Ohio to the other as "The Big Wheel Kid."
Another childhood mate with whom I rode on many an unsupervised bike hike, now lives in another Ohio suburb and wouldn't think of letting his children wander farther than next door. Not long ago he asked me: "Why can't our kids do that anymore?"
I didn't have any honest answer. But it does seem like an important question to have at least a theory about:
Have human beings become creepier over the last 40 years? Or were we somehow ignorant of their creepiness until so very recently?