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What I’ve survived (up until now)

A Facebook post the other day caught my attention. It was titled, “I SURVIVED.” “Share” if you did too was at the bottom of the post. I didn’t share the post, but I could have. Because I survived everything that was listed:

SPANKINGS. This was an easy one for me, because I never got one; not at home, not at school…not anywhere. Probably should have, but it never happened.

The nearest thing I got to a spanking happened in the 6th grade. I badly flunked a math test and the teacher wasn’t happy about it. When she asked me what I was thinking I said, “Well, I guess I just made some crazy mistakes.” This didn’t sit well with her. After telling me she didn’t want crazy people in her room, she proceeded to break a pencil over my head.

LEAD PAINT. I’m sure my baby crib was painted with lead paint, just like the window sills I chewed on, in our asbestos- insulated house.

SECOND-HAND SMOKE. I grew up in smoke-filled houses, smoked-filled restaurants, and inhaling second-hand smoke in second-hand cars.

NO SEAT BELTS. I remember riding with my mother to the grocery store when I was around six years old in the FRONT seat. I survived simply because she never hit anything. So did she. She lived to be almost 90 (so much for the second-hand smoke).

NO HELMETS. Helmets were not required back when I rode bikes. I had several accidents including hitting a tree head on. Arguably, I suffered no brain damage.

MERCURY. I used to break thermometers and play with the mercury. It was cool just watching it roll around in my hand. I don’t know how I disposed of it; or how many fish ended up dead.

NO EXPIRATION DATES. When I was growing up there were no expiration dates on anything. If the milk had soured, you poured it down the drain. If the bread had turned green you threw it out. Simply, if it didn’t look right or smell right, it was “out of date.” Today, everything has a “Use or Freeze By” date, or a “Best By…” date. Who needs common sense anymore?

DRINKING FROM THE HOSE. I remember drinking from the hose many times, especially after mowing the grass, or playing backyard football (without a helmet).

And drinking from the hose has no expiration date. But who cares. I’m drinking a bottle of water right now that expires on April 18, 2215. If second-hand smoke or mercury poisoning hasn’t caught up with me by then, I think I’ll tempt fate and drink the water on April 19, 2215. And just see what happens!

—Raymond Reid

Raymond Reid is a national award-winning humor columnist. He can be contacted at

Reflections of Erma