Everything I needed to know about life I learned from an ABC Afterschool Special


Starring Scott Baio and Kristy Mcnichol.

Mrs. 20 Prospect and I have always tried to limit our kid’s intake of television. Not for any religious reasons, just because we are better parents than the rest of you. However, Lil’ Miss 20 Prospect and 20 Prospect Jr. have officially hit their middle school years, and with it they have become media consumers. Gone are the days when we could keep them locked in the basement, away from the evils of the world. (Damn you Child Protection Services!) Now they are required to listen to the radio, and watch annoying Disney Tweenage Television programming lest they be viewed as Amish by their peers.

Thankfully, when I was growing up my parents had no such hang ups. No, back in the 70’s we rode in cars without seat belts, sipped Genny Cream from the bottle, inhaled clouds of 2nd hand Marlboro smoke, and watched television until our eyes bled.

God I miss those days.

But society is older, and wiser now. Now we worry about our children’s physical and psychological well being. Wimps. I mean really, where do you want your children to learn about sex? A textbook in health class filled with facts, or a dog eared playboy magazine in the locker room. I’m afraid that our children’s  generation is in serious danger of growing up well adjusted, and without serious psychological damage.  Can you imagine what that is going to do to the Pharmaceutical Industry in another 20 years? Horrible, simply horrible. (shudder)

Growing up on Prospect Avenue I led about as sheltered an existence as was possible at the time. And yet when I think back to it, I often wonder just what I was actually sheltered from. Hell, my Big Bruddah took me to a Grateful Dead concert when I was in 6th grade.

Me – “Um… are they smoking what I think they’re smoking?”

Him – “Yeah. Don’t tell your mother.”

We picked up a hitchhiker on the way home and gave him a lift. I went to R rated movies at age 11. At 8 years old my parents hosted the ND Theater Club party after the last night of the school play, which consisted of a half keg of beer on the back porch, a kid throwing up in the kitchen, and me helping to carry my 17 year old sister upstairs to put her to bed. It was formative events like these that inoculated me against the world, so that I could grow up to be the successful, well adjusted adult that I became. (stop your snickering) Those cheesy ABC afterschool specials didn’t warn us off of drugs, and teenage sex, so much as provide a roadmap, and serve as inadvertent humor.

I often wonder if we are doing our kids any favors by sheltering them. Ultimately, they will be out in the world and will have to make those choices for themselves. A little freedom at a young age can be a good thing. Better to learn from your mistakes when they are still relatively minor, than when they can damage your life. Especially when your every waking step is being recorded and posted on youtube.

All I can say is thank god we didn’t have digital camera phones, and internet video when I was a kid, or there would be no forgetting all the stupid things I did. Thankfully, my college binge drinking managed to kill off the brain cells that contained my memories of those embarrassing events.

So let this be a cautionary tale! Do as I say! Not as I did! The mighty 20 Prospect has spoken!

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3 thoughts on “Everything I needed to know about life I learned from an ABC Afterschool Special

  1. The After School Special was like my emotional compass! Remember Helen Hunt on CRANK! Just say no or you too will fly off a building.

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