Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Way It Used To Be

I used to have one of those old fashioned chemistry sets. It was given to me by my fifth grade teacher.

I used to try mixing things up to see what happened. Most of the time: nothing. Every once in a while I would create a blob in an interesting color, which would proceed to stain the concrete on the garage floor.

But it did give me the opportunity to learn, to imagine.

What you'll see in the video is that these sets really no longer exist. You can't get the sets full of chemicals anymore. We've sanitized them, made them safer, eliminated potential lawsuits. You get the picture. But we've also eliminated a source of curiousity, of wonder, of imagination. We have less "What if'" and whole lot more "so what's". It's a shame.

To be sure, there was potential for mayhem and injury in those old sets, but really no more than going out and crashing on your bike or falling out of a tree. But they also gave us a way to explore. I miss that.

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