Saturday, June 12, 2010

Kids on the High Seas

Forgive me for not publishing for awhile. Responsibilities win. Avocational endeavors lose.

The dismasting of 16 year old solo sailor Abby Sunderland's boat in the Indian Ocean this week, so that she was mistakenly feared lost by observers around the world, generated a flurry of nasty criticism of the parents by people around the world -- should responsible parents be allowing their teenagers to do such things?

When Robin Lee Graham began his famous solo voyage around the world in 1965, it was still a "National Geographic world" where costumed folk of marvelous lands opened their arms appreciatively to travelers from the West, in the warm afterglow of World War II.

No longer. By and large, the world is filled with hatred and coveting, terrorists and crime. They want to seize us, cook us and eat us for dinner, I think. It really is much changed.

Those social dangers are in addition to the dangers in an environment afflicted with global warming, where the average weather-bearing vortex is 50% larger and more powerful than they used to be, only a few decades ago. The seas are more dangerous than ever, as a consequence.

It sounds like I'm about to condemn Abby Sunderland's parents, right?


As our kids grew up, changes in our society forced me to amend Birds and the Bees discussions with them to include advice respecting extraordinary care even about kissing -- even polite let-me-get-to-know-you kissing -- of all things. Since the 1960s, growth hormone in our meats and unmetabolized birth control pill chemicals spread everywhere in the environment have pushed kids' bodies into puberty years and years earlier. Kids have begun having sex and bearing babies earlier than ever. Kids are contracting venereal diseases earlier than ever -- including the viral kind, for which there is no cure. Finally, kids are now customarily substituting head jobs for venereal sex to avoid pregnancy -- transfering virus-generated venereal disease, and the accompanying warts and sores from the crotches of infected children to their mouths. Thus my Birds and the Bees advice on care even about kissing.

Kissing has become a life-threatening enterprise, with possible devastating lifelong, life-threatening consequences.

So, here is my simple question for readers here: Who is safer? Abby Sunderland, alone on a sailboat in the middle of the wild Indian Ocean?

Or one of our kids on a date?

Surprisingly, it's a difficult question.

Sail on, Abby. Be careful, little honey, but sail on, sail on.

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