Stop The Clock, I Want To Get Off

I read that in research on treating the disease progeria scientists may have found the key to the aging process.  Is that right out of science fiction or what?  Of course it’s being trumpeted as “stopping the aging process”, which it really isn’t, but I didn’t read much past the headline, because it kind of ignited my imagination.

If you could stop aging, at what age would you “freeze” things?

Everyone would probably stop somewhere in the young adult phase, but I think I know when I would want to call a halt to Father Time.

5 years old.  Starting kindergarten.  Not that being 3 or 4 weren’t banner years, but I don’t remember much about them.  Starting school gives me an anchor event to tie memories down to.

I remember the teacher reading to us, playing with my little roundhead friends, finger painting, and on a good day, a brisk game of Duck Duck Goose.

There was some moral instruction, in an effort to make us all good little citizens.  Learn to share, wait your turn, and the toys will get put back in the toy box quicker if we all help out.

Then we’d lay on our mats, which I never really understood, but now I realize it was a safe and legal way to immobilize and silence us so the teacher didn’t go to the corner tavern on her lunch period and order doubles when she thought about doing all this again for the afternoon class.

We started to learn our ABC’s, and count.  You were anxious to learn this, because this thing called “reading” would unlock the hieroglyphics you saw everywhere.  Plus if you were good at it the grown-ups seemed to be pleased.

But it was all downhill after that.  Learning your ABC’s turned into tests, that cardboard number line turned into math, and Duck Duck Goose turned into Phy Ed class.  You couldn’t just pick a little cardboard book off the shelf anymore, now we’ll tell  you what to read and you’d better regurgitate the accepted answers when asked.

And every year was onward and upward.  Finger painting turned into art class, which was fun, but then there were budget cuts, so no more of that, it doesn’t matter anyway, spend more time on math, because you should be an engineer….we need engineers, or else the Russians are gonna kick our ass.

And all that good citizenship stuff got beaten out of you soon enough as the grading system, hormones, and adolescent society sprung up around you.

Until one day, at the end of the assembly line, you are excreted from the system with a diploma in your hand.  And everyone tells you “but you don’t know how the real world works yet”.

Well, they’ve had you for 8 hours a day for 17 years, so who’s fault is that?

So now you lay on your mat, exhausted from the job you’ve learned to hate, and wonder how the hell all the mean kids ended up in charge?  Behavior that used to get a trip to the coat room to stand in the corner and think about what you did now gets a promotion and a bonus.

And you wonder whatever happened to that cute little dark-haired girl that used to like to fingerpaint with you?  But after rent and student loans there’s nothing left so just like art class I guess she’s been cancelled due to budget constraints.

So, yeah…I’m thinking 5 years old is a good place to just hit the “pause” button.

Because everything you really need to get by you can learn from Dr. Suess.   The rest is commentary.


3 thoughts on “Stop The Clock, I Want To Get Off

    • Thanks a lot, John – I’ll check Tom’s posts out. I actually enjoyed school, but as I look back on it more objectively now I realize that it was palatable for those of us who had certain tendencies to be good at taking tests and other things that the “system” rewarded, but those who weren’t wired for the regimen were just left behind. There also wasn’t any cooperative effort – if you were a good student, you were able to progress with the “gifted” pupils as far as possible. But maybe we would have learned more about life and each other by having the so-called “gifted” students helping the others out.
      It’s great for people’s egos to think they are little Einsteins who are oh so smart, but most of what pays off in the real world is communicating with others of all abilities and backgrounds. Plus, it’s good for society.

  1. May be I have got off…in my own way. Tired of the run. Where else would it lead except the finishing line? And what the hell is ‘that’ finishing line – I don’t see it – school? college? job? marriage? kids? grandchildren? or death?

    A thoughtful post. But we humans never realize from our mistake…we take it too literally, “To err is human”, and we keep erring — raising our poor kids as blindfolded, trophy-winning thoroughbreds!

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