You know how when you were a kid, you’d get ideas in your head and you’d try to turn them into reality? Sometimes you could accomplish the goal with your Lite-Brite set, sometimes you’d have to go out and experiment, and once in awhile, you would have to get your parents involved. Usually through begging.
Some parents help their children make dreams tangible. Other’s give their tykes space and materials to make stuff happen. And then there were my parents. Yes, we were allowed to adopt any animal we brought home (Chris had a minnow named SilverStreak for about 3 years. He had a field mouse our cat caught, too) and we had full reign of the town, from the top of the airy mountain down to the rushy glen. To be fair, we weren’t really held back often; we were like little naturalists exploring our world and that was awesome.
But when we got those ideas, the big ones we couldn’t manifest on our own, the ones that involved asking for help, well, the answer was quite often “No.” And that “No” became very specific when we were pleading to go somewhere.
Backing up: I was reminded of this because Shana Abe photoposted the giant May Natural History Museum beetle on Facebook and I was reminded that I have wanted to go there since I was 12. We used to drive past it regularly on our way to our grandparents’ cafe and every time, Chris, Noelle, Bedot and I would wail for mom to stop, STOP! We wanted to visit the bug museum. The answer was always “No.”
We’d cry, “Why? Why can’t we go?”
In retrospect, I get that my parents didn’t want to haul our little carcasses along on their grown-up-time Vegas trips but back then, we kept begging to go because our friends said Circus Circus was the coolest place ever. I’m sure Mom had no alternative but to tell us our friends were stupid and the place was, in actuality, boring.
But the Tar Pits? I learned about them in 3rd grade and was fascinated. In my mind, there were lots of slimy, little pits of boiling black goo and every once in awhile, a mammoth skull would bubble up from the ooze to bob along on top until someone fished it out and cleaned it up. I told Mom I really wanted to go but she told me it was boring, it was just a hole in the ground with some black water, nothing but disappointment and a nasty smell. Of course, the truth was that it would have been an expensive trip, involving several days’ travel in the station wagon, multiple stops for food and bathrooms, plus motel costs, and headaches. So why didn’t Mom just tell us that the Tar Pits were alarmingly expensive? Why did she file them under the Boring category? Because she’s evil. Obviously.
And what was up with the Bug Museum? It was an hour away and it’s not like it cost much to get in. We definitely could have recycled aluminum cans for a summer to cover the entry fees. Hell, Bedot would have gotten in for free. It’s like Mom wanted us to be uneducated and untraveled. This is how white trash stays white trash, people. It’s self-perpetuating.
Once I became an adult with mobility and funds, I went to Las Vegas. I saw Circus Circus. I was thankful Mom verbotened that one because, dude, the place is creepy. I would have been terrified as a child had our parents dumped us off there while they went off and gambled for hours on end. Mom = 1
Last summer, we went to the La Brea Tar Pits while we were in California for Gabe’s birthday. Guess what? It is NOT BORING! She completely lied about that one. Children = 1
And that means I need to head down the road to the bug museum. If it is not boring, Mom and I, we’re going to have words. Or, rather, we’re going to define words, one in particular: Boring.