In high school in the 90’s, it was difficult not to be bombarded with the safe sex talk of that era. The positive test of Magic Johnson with HIV gave a famous face to a disease that had not fully hit mainstream awareness. Many actions were taken to help protect young people from their hormones. Not least of all the education system’s attempt to prepare us with lessons about condoms. I remember very plainly Mr. Vellucci, my bio teacher, asking us if we understood how condoms worked. Or did we need him to demonstrate using a banana as he had been instructed to do. It was all very well intentioned and I’m sure that it worked to some degree. Unfortunately with the widespread use of the internet and mass media, our children need to be protected again from a disease that threatens to kill every last one of them: LIFE.
Luckily major efforts have been made around the country and the globe to protect young people from this abomination. Teachers, parents and coaches have been instructed to protect all children from failure, disappointment and reality at all costs. Falls, cuts, scrapes, risks, chances, expectations and a slew of LIFE’s other cohorts must be eradicated with extreme prejudice. Keeping our kids safe is JOB #1. Allowing them to live and learn fall near the bottom of the list behind getting into a good college, winning many trophies, being perfect and so many other things that are put on their schedules. What we need now are some Life Condoms! A protective covering that will keep out all negatives. Just need to find a new substance because someone is bound to be allergic to latex and sheepskin doesn’t protect anyone from anything. At this point, I feel the need to stop because I’m afraid that there is a mother someplace who is reading thinking “This sounds like a GREAT idea!”
Life is a messy business. We come into this world screaming, covered in blood, unable to speak, read, write or walk. Despite this introduction through chaos, there is an expectation that life is supposed to get cleaner, neater and follow specific guidelines. The truth is that the human animal was made for the rugged battles of the natural world. We seem to be more susceptible to the trappings of comfort and fortune rather than hard circumstances. Adopting a Spartan lifestyle is probably not necessary but a healthy dose of reality is probably in order. Letting a young person tie their own shoe laces, make their own dinner, fight their own battles is not particularly a bad thing.
The life condom doesn’t exist but based on the complaints I hear regularly, some wish it did. They want their parents, the government, the president, their teacher or any other official power figure to step up and fix their life for them. Eventually these desires are going to come up empty. No one is going to take care of you indefinitely.
So since it will be on you at some point, why not cut the complaining? Take over the parts of your life that should absolutely belong to you and run with them. Nothing is going to start out perfect and it never will be if you don’t do your part. Complaining problems away seems like a bad strategy and a poor way to live. Life was meant to be messy. Get over it! Dust yourself off, clean up your wounds and move on. Otherwise go looking for a life condom but that truly is like taking a shower with a raincoat on. Most of the joy in life is found in the things that we never expected to happen.
Don’t protect yourself out of the best parts of life.