Years ago, I was watching the show Northern Exposure, and in one scene, a character was saying how he didn’t believe Bruce Willis’ character could have sustained all those head traumas and kept going.
He had a point. I wasn’t yet aware of TBI and its role in my life, but that comment did stick with me.
Fast forward 20-some years, and here I am, with a much better understanding of it all.
And yes, I concur. Bruce Willis plays a lot of characters who get hit on the head and recover promptly — and never show any sign of slacking off. Knowing what I know now, it’s highly unlikely that so many of the characters we watch in movies, t.v. shows, and video games would be able to stand, let along continue to function, after the hits they take to their heads.
Meanwhile, parents have delegated the raising of their children to television, movies, and gaming, leaving them to “learn” about life through a warped lens that has nothing to do with reality. That, after all, is the draw — it has nothing to do with reality.
But do the kids know it?
I’m not saying things are so much worse now, than they were when I was growing up. I grew up watching Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner blow each other up, smash each other under rocks, and do all sorts of violent things to each other — and then keep coming back for more. I grew up watching Muhammad Ali pummel his opponents, floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee, with nary a thought about how that might affect him and his opponents later on. I watched Speed Racer and all sorts of other cartoons where the characters were getting creamed regularly, but just bounced up and kept going.
Is it worse today? I’m not sure it’s ever been great.
The difference that I see, is that all the entertainment-based activities are producing physically weak and vulnerable kids who may be pushing the envelope in organized sports. They don’t have the same core flexibility and strength that we developed 30-40 years ago, just by being outside and active. Nowadays, you’ve got kids who languish in front of consoles and screens most of the spare minutes of their lives — only to be sent out sporadically to play at levels that are arguably more demanding than any when I was growing up. There’s certainly more padding, more helmets, more focus on speed and strength.But there’s less actual strength underneath that.
Back when I was growing up, you played because it was fun — not because it was your only way to afford college and have a decent life.
But now, kids are woefully unprepared for physical exercise, and whey do dive into it, they’re pushed to limits that would have seemed ridiculously extreme, three decades ago.
Then again, Bruce Willis does that sort of thing all the time.
And he’s fine. Right?