Friday, November 17, 2006

Sissy Pants Nation

When did this become a Sissy Pants Nation? When did we become a bunch of Nervous Nellies afraid of our own shadows, bedwetting namby-pambys and quivery-lipped crybabies begging the government to protect us from nail clippers and “hate” speech? When, exactly, did the change occur?

It was not a Sissy Pants Nation when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s. In those days, it would have been unthinkable to arrest and handcuff a little boy for playing with a cap gun in public, or suspend a student for drawing a picture of a gun or taking a bottle of aspirin to school, or call the bomb squad when a student brings a giant foil-wrapped burrito to school as a science project.

Yes, it would be have been unthinkable, and unbelievable. It is unbelievable now, yet these and similar incidents have occurred, and continue to occur, here in the Sissy Pants Nation.

A few days ago, a kindergartner in Kentucky, a five-year-old boy, was suspended for bringing a pocketknife to school. (LINK) The crime was discovered when he used it to open his sealed lunch. Thank God they caught him in time, we’ll all sleep better tonight, etc.

When I was a boy, I had a pocketknife. All the boys did, and we carried them everywhere, including school. As long as we did not carve up our school desks with them, the teacher didn't mind. Why, on one occasion, I even recall a teacher asking if she could borrow one of the boys' pocketknives to do something or other.

We always used our pocketknives responsibly. We knew not to cut towards ourselves, but rather, cut in the opposite direction. And we certainly knew better than to stab someone with it, or threaten to stab someone—

Wait, I just remembered. A boy pulled his pocketknife on me once. I was in the second or third grade. We were walking home from school, he and I, arguing about something, and by the time we reached Lilly Lane he was so mad he pulled out his pocketknife and brandished it at me.

Now, had this been a Sissy Pants Nation, I would have run away in terror, crying to Mommy and she would have called the cops and all kinds of unnecessary hell would have been raised.

But this was not a Sissy Pants Nation yet, so I grabbed the knife and ran off with it, and he did the crying.

Sissy Pants Nation, Sissy Pants Nation, we're all Nervous Nellies in the Sissy Pants Nation ...