This weekend, the Northeast was having a snowstorm. A big one. On Saturday afternoon, some areas had up to 3 feet of snow. Travel plans were frustrated. Some roads were impassable. It is safe to say few adults are happy about it.
But think about it. As kids, if we knew that much snow was coming, all we’d do is celebrate. We’d gaze out the window at the first flakes. We’d race outside as soon as there was enough to play in.
The same thing that caused our parents to grumble would cause us to shriek with joy.
A metamorphosis took place. At some point, snow went from fun to annoyance. And it’s not the only thing.
This storm got me thinking about how many other elements of life we loved as kids and are annoyed at as adults. For example:
The airport. What kid didn’t love that place? Massive windows, gigantic planes, all those moving walkways – and gift shops selling key chains with your name on them? Flying has always been magical to children. To adults, it’s as much fun as the Bataan Death March.
Disneyland. This is still Shangri-la for kids. But ever see an adult who dropped $300 for tickets trying to dodge the parade with two strollers? It’s not a happy face.
Balloons. Kids see them as something to bounce. Adults see them as something to blow up.
Mud. Kids jump into it. Adults jump over it.
Puddles. See “mud” above.
Imaginations running wild
Pirates. As kids, they are dashing, fun, swashbuckling, and you want to dress as one for Halloween. As adults, pirates are just lame.
Witches. See “pirates.”
Clowns. See “witches.”
Leprechauns. See “clowns.”
Elevators. Remember, as a kid, when you couldn’t wait to press every button? You do that as an adult, someone will throw you down the shaft.
Kool-Aid. A nectar of the gods for children. A surefire sugar shock for adults.
PEZ dispenser. To a kid, it’s a toy worth fighting for. To an adult, it’s something where the head comes off.
Fluffernutter. Speaks for itself.
The back seat. As kids, we couldn’t wait to pile in with siblings or friends. As adults, it’s another reason carpooling stinks.
Pumping gas. As kids, we only wish we could do it. As adults, we only wish someone else would do it.
Cleaning a windshield. See “pumping gas.”
Checking oil. See “cleaning a windshield.”
Squirrels. Kids see them and coo, “Oh, mommy, look how cute!” Adults see them and say, “Rat with a fluffy tail.”
From one’s fantasy to another’s reality
Vending machines. Remember as a kid, how you’d pull every lever, even when you didn’t have any change? As adults, you just pray the thing accepts your crinkled dollar bill.
Seesaws. Kids see them as the coolest way to go up and down. You ever sit on one as an adult? You’re amazed you ever survived a playground.
Slides. See “seesaws.”
Monkey bars. See “slides.”
Monkeys. Every kid wants one for a pet. Every adult thinks “Planet of the Apes.”
A magnifying glass. You could get one of these as a childhood Christmas present and yell, “Hooray!” You get one now, someone’s telling you your eyesight is shot.
Crayons. As a kid, this is your instrument of choice. As an adult, you yell, “Jeez, don’t we have anything else to write with?”
Coloring. Come to think of it, when was the last time you tried coloring anything as an adult – that didn’t involve Photoshop?
Wastepaper basket. Kids think “basketball hoop.” Adults think “wastepaper basket.”
Sprinklers. Kids think “run and jump.” Adults think “water bill.”
Pool water. Kids think “another word for bathroom.” Adults think the same thing, but with less enthusiasm.
And finally, shoveling snow. Kids think “opportunity to make money and have fun.” Adults think, “Let’s not change the kid’s perception.”
So at least there’s one part of this snowstorm we can all enjoy.
Contact Mitch Albom: 313-223-4581 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Catch “The Mitch Albom Show” 5-7 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760). Follow him on Twitter @mitchalbom. To read his recent columns, go to www.freep.com/mitch.