Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Evidence that our children are drinking too much caffeine


I received a couple of cards from a couple of Dodger fans recently that are really making me question the mental sharpness of our youth.

Sure, these cards are from over 20 years ago, but are we really seeing more intelligent kids coming out of our classrooms today? (I have no facts to back up this sweeping implication).

Look at this card. Someone is seriously deficient in the paper-cutting arts.

This is some sort of National Highway Traffic Safety card. It's slightly smaller than your average card, and that's before someone took a screwdriver, or whatever inadequate tool  it was, to cut the card out. I'll give the youngster passing grades for the top edge and even the left edge (which looks suspiciously O-Pee-Chee-ish). But things went a little haywire on the right side and the bottom. It looks like he/she even bent the card in the cutting process.

This card was sent to me by Spiegel. I hope he didn't pay anything for it.

Here is a card sent to me by Greg at Plaschke, Thy Sweater Is Argyle:


Goodness. What geometric shape would that be?

This looks like a combination of cutting, tearing and "look the entire picture is still intact!" No coincidence that this card came off a Drake's box (the back advertises a spelling-challenged treat called "Donut Delites.") The kid probably consumed the contents of the entire box in one sitting before cutting the card.

But my theory is that they were actually wired on caffeine.

If you haven't noticed, kids drink an extraordinary amount of pop/soda. When my daughter was tiny, I was horrified by stories of mothers who put Pepsi in their kids' baby bottles. And then I saw it with my own eyes.

My daughter won't drink soft drinks. She doesn't like them. But when she is at a party or when there is a function at school, she is the only one who doesn't have a soft drink. Sometimes, when there is a function where there are no soft drinks, the kids stumble around in a sugar-deprived semi-coma wondering what in the world they will drink (uh, milk?).

My daughter takes after me, although I always wanted soda, I just never could get it.

My mother had strict rules -- the only time we could have soda was when we were being served pizza.

Fortunately, pizza was a meal choice maybe every other week. But it still didn't come often enough for me.

Of course, with all that deprivation, when I moved out of the house, I went on a soda and beer binge. Which  probably led me to the dietary issues I have today. (Well, this turned out happy).

But my soda-less ways as a kid DID keep my cutting skills sharp.


That's a 1977 Hostess card, cut off a panel by yours truly as an 11-year-old. Ignore the rounded corners. That's a time issue.

The edges aren't exactly straight. But you can see the attempt to keep them straight. Slow and steady wins the race. That's a milk and juice diet there, my friend.

I probably cut the card down too close. I had a thing about the dotted lines showing, so I wanted to make sure you couldn't see them. But otherwise, you can still tell it's a rectangle -- which I think was the way God intended cards to be -- rectangle, circle, SOME sort of definable geometric shape.

Greg also sent me some cards to satisfy my straight-edge obsession.


This is not your average Super Star sticker from 1988. It's an O-Pee-Chee Super Star sticker! I didn't know these even existed. You'll note the crease. But I was too busy admiring the straight lines to see the crease right away.


And here is the star of the show. An autographed card of Josh Lindblom. Remember him. I expect great things.

This card has all the "s" words going for it. Sterling. Shiny. Snazzy. Sharp-cornered. Straight-edged. Nobody cut this thing off a box.

Cards cut by kids who don't know there way around a pair of scissors has a certain charm, but I still have this thing about liking my cards rectangular.

And soft drinks are out of the question for good now, so there's no changing that opinion.

17 comments:

  1. EVERY post I have ever written is brought to the masses by caffeine... Mine comes from coffee and lots of it! As a kid I couldn't get enough soda... My Mom would buy one two-liter bottle of Pepsi on Sunday and that was our weeks allotment. My sister and I typically had it gone that night... Cheers!

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  2. If you've seen the edges of some of the 1960s Post and Jell-O cards that I have, you'd realize that some of the kids were hyper-sensitive with scissors 50 years ago, too.

    Maybe that was due to Tang. Or the Cuban missile crisis. Or those Godless Commies.

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  3. Seconding Troll here. I can only write while tweaked on caffeine and can't art unless I've been boozing it up. Every time I have a jack and coke I don't know what the hell to do.

    Also: kids just have crappy motor skills. Not only do the Post and Jell-o cards from the 60's have lousy edges but so do the Wheaties cards from the '40s and the strip cards from the '20s. I'e got a Pete Alexander card that looks like the kid had no scissors so he ran over it with his dad's plow.

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  4. Everyone knows those damn rounded edge scissors can't cut a piece of toilet paper. We really expect them to be fine crafted precision tools for cutting on the back of a cereal box?

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  5. So, I was the only kid who could cut straight? I should have become a surgeon.

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  6. moving on here.... Ok. I get the difference in pop/soda. Pop=Canada and soda=USA, but 'soft drinks'???
    As opposed to hard drinks???

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  7. Well, Captain, it's not that easy here in the U.S. Depending on where you are, it's either "pop" or "soda." Sometimes it varies within an actual state (like the state where I live).

    And if you call it "pop" or "soda," somebody on the other side is going to say, "IT'S POP!" or "IT'S SODA!" like you just offended their mother.

    So, people say "soft drinks," so no one freaks out.

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  8. Canuck: that is actually the origin of the term 'soft drink'. A drink without alcohol. I think it was a prohibition thing, but I'm too lazy to Google.

    Also: in Georgia EVERYTHING is Coke.

    Coke is Coke.
    Diet Coke is Coke.
    Pepsi is Coke.
    Diet Caffeine-free Pepsi Max Clear is Coke.
    Dr. Pepper is Coke.
    Root Beer is Coke.
    Sprite is Coke.
    Mountain Dew is Coke.
    Orangina is Coke.
    Kool-aid with an alka seltzer in it so it's fizzy is Coke.

    If it has bubbles in it and it ain't beer, it's pretty much Coke down here.

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  9. Night owl, you're near Buffalo, yes? I really had never heard anyone call Coke "pop" before I went off to college. My first roommate was from Buffalo. And on first day we met, he asks me if I want to go get a pop, and in my mind I'm thinking - ok, this is one of those things my parents warned me about, kids are already offering me drugs and I've only been away at school for 1 day! I was totally disappointed to realize it was a can of soda...

    dayf, same here in TX. Everything is Coke, regardless. So, it's perfectly acceptable to say, "Want a coke?" and reply, "Yeah, give me a Sprite." and everyone's good with that.

    I sent Spiegel that Hershiser, I bought it at a garage sale in a shoe box with about 500 other cards for $3. There were a few other of the Traffic Safety cards in there, all of them cut cleanly. I have picked up that Hershiser more than once and wondered why the hell was it cut so ragged like that...

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  10. I'm semi-addicted to blue mountain dew. It's amazing. I had to cut back - I now allow myself 1 a day.

    I've heard about how in Georgia or the Carolinas they call everything coke. This makes no sense to me. How do they know what you really want?

    -Lifetimetopps

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  11. I'm with Dayf and Anthony. Everything is Coke. And Chuck, the way they know what you want is that you say you want a Coke and they ask which kind. Of course, I'm partial to sweet tea, but that's something I'm trying to cut back on too.

    As for the scissors, I tried to cut out the cards on a box with a pair of left handed safety scissors once. I'm righthanded and by the time I was done, it looked like I used a dull butter knife to do a lobotomy.

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  12. Anthony,

    Yes, Buffalonians call Coke, Pepsi, etc. "pop." Most of Western New York does. But when you get to Central New York, it magically changes to soda (I grew up in Binghamton and it's all "soda" there).

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  13. In Indiana, everything is "Pop" ... although I've always tried to be contrary and say "soda".

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  14. As a 31 year old man, I'm going to have to blame it on computers. The kids don't know how to cut because they are use to cropping in photoshop. Much like I can't write worth a flip, but can type like the dickens.

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  15. I never drank soda (not a health thing - I always hated carbonation) and I have a bunch of Drake's cards from the same year (1988) and they don't look much better. I think the boxes were tough to cut, especially with children's scissors.

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  16. It's "pop" here in Iowa as well. "Soda" is the stuff you use in mixed drinks, like a "Scotch and soda".

    When I was in school in Boston I was first exposed to the concept of calling a soft drink "soda". But a buddy of mine was from Salem and actually called it "tonic". (He also couldn't say the letter "R" either).

    The other pop/soda type issue that I encountered centered around footwear. I had never actually heard anyone use the term "sneakers" in a serious sentence. We always called them "tennis shoes". But you kind of slurred it together so it's more like "tennashoes". When somebody pointed out to me that my running-style "tennashoes" weren't made for playing tennis I was truly freaked out. I had never thought of "tennashoes" as shoes you wear to play tennis.

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  17. When I started going to restaurants after moving to the US, I was still under the old habit of ordering "coke" all the time. I had never been asked "Is Pepsi OK" until I moved to the US.

    As far as caffeine goes, after nearly having a stroke three years ago, one of the things I had to give up was caffeine. Everything I drink cola wise now is caffeine free. It's funny how I notice when I do drink something with caffeine in it, I can feel the jolt (unintended cola pun there)

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