This summer has brought a plethora of visitors all dragging children along for an outdoor vacation. In case you don't know what plethora means it’s a gaggle, clatch, herd, flock, drove, swarm, pile or, in layman’s terms, a bunch.
The parents arrive with great expectations about all the neat things they are going to do to bond with their children who have been cooped up in the big city for the past year. Things like hiking, fishing, ATVing, and singing around the campfire while toasting marshmallows and making s’mores all swim through their heads like salmon heading upstream.
What actually occurs seems to be a strange departure from when I was growing up and is shocking in fact.
If you know Trixie she is all about having fun. So when the children would show up she filled out our social calendar like a fat man eating funnel cakes at the State Fair. We soon were bloated with activities going almost nonstop from morning to night. With only one problem: it was hard to talk the kids into doing much of anything.
That brings to mind a story. I moved to town some 10 years ago for the first time in a long, long time and as I took my evening walks, I began to notice a strange phenomenon. From each house on the street I would I would see brilliant blue rays being emitted with flashing colors interspersed with a blinding white light. It took a while to realize that every house had their TV on at full blast.
No children were outside riding bikes or roller skating down the walk being trailed by barking dogs. No happy laughter filled the neighborhoods because people were locked away in their own castles seemingly safe from the neighbors around them.
I can recall growing up and my mother would tell us to get outside and NOT COME BACK. Hindsight being 20/20 I am not sure that sounds all that good. Maybe she was just trying to get rid of me for good. But regardless, we never were allowed to sit inside and watch television when there was playing to be done outside.
Of course, gone are the days when TVs sit in our living rooms. Now, television is on every telephone and in every pocket, which is a problem when folks are trying to get away from it all in the mountains.
When at first the vacationing kids started to make their rounds through the camp with their folks, I thought that just maybe there were some oddities here and there but it soon became apparent that most all of them are marching to the tune of a different drummer.
I took one family fishing to Big Meadows. Once there, the 14-year-old boy never looked up from his chair on the bank. Ear buds bulging from his head like a space traveler he played a video game the entire time we fished raising up only to ask in a whiny voice, “how much longer?” Ol' Dutch wondered if he knew how to swim?
Another group arrived and with them more Chinese electronic time wasters. They quickly ascertained the password to the Internet at the park and soon locked it up watching movies and playing games so no one else could use it.
We would loudly announce that “we are going fishing, does anyone want to go along?” No one would even raise their heads long enough to engage, afraid that they might have to go outside and miss out winning another level toward being a master zombie or killing another pixel bird.
Poor Trixie, she tried her hardest to make sure everyone was having fun but that only aggravated the little monsters with her constant planning and bubbly personality. Come to think of it, I have that same feeling in the mornings toward her when I am trying to get enough coffee in me and she is already running like a nine day clock.
Trixie's dad Shot, (now there is a neat name for you), was ruminating about this. Cows do this a lot I hear and it’s the main cause of methane gas in the world. But I didn’t smell anything as he explained the result of playing too many video games.
He theorizes that the aliens that visit us and seem to congregate North of Alamosa were at one time just like us: normal human beings, hunting, fishing, hiking and able to actually do physical work. But someone invented video games and a transformation began to take place.
Their eyes began to bulge out of heads from being glued to the tubes. Heads grew disproportionately to their bodies from thinking all the time, their fingers became long and skinny to better reach the kill button across the keyboard. And their bodies shrank into physically emaciated, gray, lithe, bony muscleless skeletons. Soon they were incapable of doing any work requiring strength and probably have had to import labor from a Southern neighbor.
But that is all in vain as they found out one generation later, the worker bees children were glued to the same contraptions resulting in more incapable aliens.
This theory will soon be proven in our own country as you cannot go anywhere without seeing kids bound hand and foot to some kind of video bondage. Forgot “Free Willy,” we need to “Free Billy.”