When some people talk about the good old days, they paint a picture of freedom, simple pleasures, and youthful imagination. They describe a simpler time when everyone worried less and being playful came easier.
But those same good old days could also be aptly described as the horrifying, dangerous old days.
Sure, totally unregulated life activities and insane childhood maneuvers may look rosy from the hindsight of safety. Yet if we really look back at some of those childhood activities with the neighborhood crew, a ghastly picture comes into view.
We're talking sharp objects up for grabs, 40-foot drops, questionable illegal activity, and zero parental oversight.
It's a wonder the population maintained high number with all those children cheating death on a daily basis.
The Boy Who Lived
"I grew up in Kigali, Rwanda. After the 1994 genocide there were land mines all over the place."
"We used to walk to our primary school (about 1.5km). As kids we used to place soccer on the street while walking to school, so 1 day the ball fell in the bush as always, and I went for it."
"Little did i know the the stone-like thing under the ball was a notorious landmine, I got the ball and I asked the other older kid what it was."
"10 min later the entire neighborhood was on site talking about how I just cheated death. Never will i ever forget it. If i stepped on the mine that afternoon, i would n't be writing this today."
All Hazards Present and Accounted For
"Swimming in the drainage canal by my house. Barb wire, horsesh**, concrete, fertilizer runoff etc." -- Singdownthetrail
"I grew up on an air force base and back behind the school was an old pond with suspicious rainbow ripples that was surrounded by 50 gallon barrels. We called it the Devil's Claw and spent the entire summer there every year."
I looked it up recently and yep, it's a super fund site because it was the jet fuel dump." -- goffstock
Safety First...A Whistle Should Do It
"My cousins and I, from the time we were toddlers, were just sent out into the forest in the morning with nothing but whistles to 'scare the bears.'"
"One time I chased a bear."
Up and Up
"I grew up within the boundaries of Tufts University's campus, at the end of my street was a campus building that was six stories high."
"I remember climbing to the top of the fire escape, stepping over the railing onto the slate pitched roof. I held onto the dormer and made my way on top of that roof, then I would walk up to the pitch of the roof and straddle the pitch and look out on the Boston skyline."
"I was under 10 years old. Well over a hundred feet up, one slip and I was sidewalk pizza."
"I can't believe I survived being a latch key kid in the 80s"
"Previous owner of my childhood home left a bunch of random chemicals in the garage (he was into home improvement and stuff) and my siblings tool to playing 'mad scientist.'"
"Several instances of unknown gasses spreading through the garage later and we're still around." -- pandawrath617
"We used to play with chemicals in my neighbors garage. Like combine all different kinds of chemicals we could find, I would assume lawn care and car chemicals , in her garage into a hole in the cement floor."
"At least we were smart or lucky enough to keep the garage door open." -- rrt527
A Wildly Popular Death Trap
"I used to roller blade off the roof and onto the trampoline....it hurts to think about it now. I'm still shocked I never got hurt!" -- Melrob17
"My backyard was lower than my front yard, so the back deck was eight feet or so above the back yard. We would jump off onto the trampoline." -- TheVentiLebowski
"Everyone had bad ideas involving a trampoline." -- Melrob17
Never a Dull Moment
"I used to fill balloons with my dads oxygen/acetylene torch from work and throw them in bonfires. The explosions were so thunderous we'd have cops riding up and down the block. I can remember doing it one time and flaming debris burning a sand dollar sized hole in my starter jacket."
"Oh and going hunting with my friend at 13 and shooting shotguns at trees that we were standing near when one of us wasn't looking to scare each other."
Just an Innocent Breaking and Entering
"Back in the old days when folks didn't lock doors, my dumb a** used to go in my neighbors houses and wander about while they slept. Then I'd get scared and leave."
"Very dangerous as a 6 yr old young lady."
Ahead of Their Time
"I used to have free reign in the woods behind the base housing at Fort Bragg. My friends and I would ride our bikes through the woods for hours in the summer at the tender age of 7 like it wasn't a big deal."
"I'd never let my 7 year old now wander around the woods like that now-a-days."
"One day we found a vine that was dangling next to a ravine and do a Tarzan Juno across it. It was probably a good 30 foot drop to the bottom of a pit filled with jagged rock and dubious puddles of ick."
"I wasn't supposed to show my parents, but I did one day and they freaked out and cut it down."
"My friends were mad at me for like a minute until they all agreed it was indeed incredibly dangerous and for the best. Perhaps the most logical conclusion I have ever seen kids come to in my life."
"We used to dig tunnels through the hay that they stored in the barn that would be like 10 metres high in places."
"The tunnels would regularly collapse and we'd just shrug it off and dig another."
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Over-sharing is a thing. Sometimes, people really just cross the line in the information they've decided to volunteer to us.
It's hard to control who does this to us since it tends to take us by surprise, but hearing some of the things that people have suffered having to hear can easily act as cautionary tales to us.
Seriously, Who Asked<p>I used to work at an animal shelter and we had several people who would come volunteer to help out.</p><p>One of the women who came there on a regular basis went to lunch with me. She was such a sweet woman, a little older than I was at the time. She proceeded to tell me that she used to go to the park and hook up with old men because she felt sorry for them.</p><p>WTF?</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/moviesandcats/" target="_blank">moviesandcats</a></p>
Decent Bloke....<p>I (25f at the time) was at A&E in the UK. I got discharged and was waiting for my taxi outside. This buff shirtless dude, covered in tattoos (they were decent too, imo) comes over and asks for a light. I bought a zippo for novelty so I obliged.</p><p>We got to talking and he told me how he had just got out of prison after serving a life sentence for killing his father, after his father murdered his baby sister. Had his records on him and everything (he was at the hospital as he was diabetic and had experienced an issue of some sort after being released - I have no expertise here).</p><p>I have never feared and respected a man so much in my life.</p><p>I bought him a pint after my taxi decided it wouldn't be arriving. Decent bloke - we still speak 9 years later.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/heavenhelpyou/" target="_blank">heavenhelpyou</a></p>
Oh....Sounds Fun....<p>My sophomore year In college a girl who I had a group project with told me that her first sexual experience was getting tag teamed by a couple of guys while she was in high school. </p><p>I just told her "wow, that's pretty intense." She told me that she loved it and then I changed the subject. Until that point nothing sexual had come up in the conversation.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Nothing_/" target="_blank">Nothing_</a></p>
TW: Suicide<p>My manager at my job in high school decided to tell us about how she tried to end her life on my very first day. </p><p>She was like, "One day, I decided to take some pills and end it all. I grabbed a pill bottle out of my mom's cabinet and took a handful without even looking at what it was and then lay down to die. I was so surprised to wake up in the morning perfectly fine. Confused, I checked the bottle to see what I had taken."</p><p>Yeah, it was estrogen.</p>
Please Tell Me About Your Infidelity<p>My wife loves to tell this story.</p><p>Her first day at a new company she was to meet another employee who would show her around the office. She met her in the lobby and on the elevator ride up to the office she proceeded to tell my wife how her husband has gained some weight and she is considering starting an office affair with a co-worker who is really into fitness and 'has muscles' (apparently she made a gesture where she fanned herself while saying muscles)</p><p>Like literally my wife met this lady 5 minutes earlier for the first time in the lobby and she is already unloading all this stuff on her.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Boxman75/" target="_blank">Boxman75</a></p>
TW: Abuse<p>I was seated next to a quiet kid on a high school band bus to a football game. He'd been in my band class for years, but I had never really spoken to him. He was the type who didn't fit into anything at school that I ever saw. I resolved to get to know him a bit and open up a conversation since we were going to be sitting by each other for a few hours. It was like a dam burst; that dude talked for the whole trip.</p><p>At one point, he told me that his mom was really unhappy with his stepdad but couldn't afford to divorce him. And then he told me that his stepdad would get drunk and beat him with a stick, but he wasn't sure if his mom was also getting beaten and that scared him. There was a brief pause before he said "I never told anyone that before..." Then he changed the subject completely.</p><p>I must've been seventeen or so. It shook me. Like... Obviously I was old enough to know that sort of thing happens, but too sheltered to think it happened to anyone I knew. I told my parents about it-- seemed the right thing to do. I don't know what happened from there. He and I never really spoke of it again. I just looked him up on Facebook, though. Looks like he's done really well for himself.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/DietrichBuxtehude/" target="_blank">DietrichBuxtehude</a></p>
Not The Thing To Tell Your Nurse<p>I was doing my practice in a hospital. They brought a young man in the neuro clinic, he was my 1st patient. He was around 30 and he had fallen from a tree while working. </p><p>He turned out to have a complicated neurological condition that had nothing to do with his fall. He was also diagnosed with severe depression. He was in there for months and no one ever visited him, the only time he felt a bit better was when I visited him and did some tests to him. </p><p>He said "it's nice when you come and make me play with the coloured toys and make me draw things". One day he was looking out of the window, when I came in he looked me dead in the eye and told me "you know, if the windows didn't have protective bars, I'd jump right out". It was the 1st time I'd heard such thing and I remember it ever since.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/Shoddy_Natural4217/" target="_blank">Shoddy_Natural4217</a></p>
Ope Okay Guess We're Going There<p>Coworker took out a client for a business lunch at a small town restaurant. He asks the waitress "How are you?" to be polite. </p><p>She proceeds to go on a 5 minute spiel about how terrible her ex husband is and how he's ruining her life and how she feels like crap because of it. After she finishes, takes their order and leaves the customer says "So you must know her pretty well?" </p><p>"Only well enough to say hi in passing." </p><p>"Oh, so then that was just as awkward for you as it was for me then?" </p><p>"Yes, yes it was."</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/NowhereinSask/" target="_blank">NowhereinSask</a></p>
The Evidence Is The Burn<p>Some guy next to me on the bus once went into a long elaborate story about how he burned his house down for insurance money like three weeks prior.</p><p> I wouldn't have believed it if his hands didn't have massive burn scarring.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/STARCRUSHER99/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">STARCRUSHER99</a></p>
Who Are You Fooling?<p>Met this dude in college when he moved into the dorm. Goofy looking redneck kid from the San Antonio area. I'm getting to know him when I notice his Spice Girls cd (this was like 2003), and I commented on it. </p><p>He then goes into this long story of how he was at the Walmart in San Antonio, looking at the CDs in that store and just happened to have bumped into Ginger Spice who invited him into the tour bus that no one had noticed, and he lost his virginity to all the Spice Girls at once.</p><p>My thought was "Thank you for this story, I know instantly that I can never trust or believe anything you ever tell me again." It's been almost 20 years and I still can't believe that was something he said in the first five minutes of meeting me.</p><p><a href="https://www.reddit.com/user/GreatJanitor/" target="_blank">GreatJanitor</a></p>
We're never that surprised when we encounter people who are lackluster at their jobs. Bad waiters, rude customer service people, dishonest contractors, or inept colleagues abound throughout daily life.
But it's interesting that we expect to encounter that kind of ineptitude far less with certain professionals.
Salt in the Wound<p>"I was dealing with a lot of family issues at the time and my ex had just broken up with me that week so I was taking it fairly hard."</p><p>"My therapist said 'it's because they found someone better' and when I said no and tried to explain she just dug in deeper that my ex had dumped me because they found someone better than me."</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goytctg?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">sgrmw</a></p>
Suddenly, a Brainstorm Session for Insults<p>"14, telling my shrink about how I was bullied in school."</p><p>" 'Do they make fun of your nose?' "</p><p>" '...nnnno....?' "</p><p>"And that's how I found out I have a big nose."</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/gp0jn7u?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">KindlyOlPornographer</a></p>
The Exact Wrong Outlook<p>" 'You'll never do an important job like doctor, veterinarian, firefighter, lawyer, conselor...You'll probably end up in a Walmart for your whole life.' "</p><p>"I was 8 years old and still remember how mad my parents were lol."</p><p>-- -<a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goyug8s?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">SincerelyDontCare</a></p>
Mourning Snooze<p>"Nothing. She fell asleep in her chair while writing notes....I was talking about the death of my parents. I was 16. Never went to another therapist" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/gozuyga?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">Papismurf101</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"After reading a few of these I'm convinced some therapists get there education on a milk box. Flipping heck. I'm so sorry that happened to you." -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/gp2zydy?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">illthinkofonel8er</a></p>
When Word and Deed Do Not Align<p>"When they say things like 'okay I understand how you are feeling thank you for telling me' but proceeds to ignore most of the things I've said. -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goyrsef?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">PrestigeZyra</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Ugh I hate that. Sympathy is not Empathy."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Rephrased: 'Based on what you've shared, I think I'm starting to understand what you have been through. Thank you for telling me. Now you said X, would you like to explain that further so I can better understand?' "</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It's called motivational interviewing and that specific technique is 'reflecting' and 'clarification' to ensure the client is able to fully explain their meaning without the provider 'assuming' anything or ignoring the person's statements." -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/gozv732?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">jhorry</a></p>
Proven Wrong Almost Immediately<p>"Go back to work, you'll be fine, you don't need different meds."</p><p><em>"3 times being sent home and psych ward visit later" -- </em><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goygpxp?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">BalancedJoker</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goygpxp?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank"></a>"let me guess, diagnosed with depression (unipolar). prescribed an SSRI type antidepressant. turns out you have biploar depression and without mood stabilizers the SSRIs sent you into a strong manic episode." -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/gp0hdbz?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">SecTrono</a></p>
Doubling Down<p>"I had a psychiatrist who was convinced I was anorexic even though I wasn't."</p><p>"It really sucked because my therapist and my psychiatrist worked at the same company and they had a policy where they don't help people with eating disorders."</p><p>"So even though I went to a specialist and they confirmed I didn't have an eating disorder I was still banned from that facility and lost my long term therapist."</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goyzbxh?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">assainXD1</a></p>
Throwing Shade on a Healthy Habit<p>"I use my creativity with art and craft as both a coping skill and as something that gives me extra purpose in life."</p><p>"A psychologist told me that doing so is maladaptive. I didn't go back."</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goyloq7?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">BlackCaaaaat</a></p>
Wut<p>"Had a therapist tell me that my soul, long before I was born, chose my parents and subsequent childhood abuse so that I could learn from it."</p><p>"By this logic, of course, the abused person is always in control and the abuser is helpless. Argue with that logic. Needless to say I never saw her again."</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/ltikks/people_of_reddit_what_is_the_worst_thing_a/goyszg6?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">mercuryrising137</a></p>
On the internet, people tend to say things they likely would not in the real world. The anonymity of a forum or comment section--composed only of verbal contributions beneath made up names--compels us to socialize with less inhibition; we take more risks with the peers we can't see in the flesh.
THANK YOU<p>"Maybe not small. But my job is sort of essential. I support software that is used by many hospitals and medical facilities."</p><p>"I've pretty much worked every day and made sure our sh** didn't blow up whole covid wrecked shop. I get no mention. I get no praise but damnit I'm happy to keep helping fight the fight."</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp5ubry?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">shartnado3</a></p>
Making All the Right Moves<p>"Trimming 7 years (so far!) off our mortgage through minor payment tweaks and tax return lump sum payments."</p><p>"It takes planning and discipline, but means we'll both be able to retire without house-debt. Planning to surprise SO with this next year once I get it down a little further." </p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp5w7mm?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">flitterbug78</a></p>
The Leap<p>"I finally got the courage to apply to, interview for, and accept another job, and quit the job I've had for a decade." -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp63t9k?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">whatisgoinghappen</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Good job. I change as well last September. After 14 years it was stressful. Especially with a wife, a mortgage and a kid depending on my income." -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp8x685?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">Angio343</a></p>
33.83 Years of Training<p>"I successfully plunged a toilet today! For the first time in my 33.83 years of existence! I'm just relieved I don't have to call the guest house manager."</p><p>"That'll teach me not to flush toilet paper in India smh."</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp69rfb?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">fvckyes</a></p>
Keep It Going, Keep It Going<p>"Running 45 minutes to one hour most days for the last four weeks." -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp5uufd?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">InbhirNis</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"That's brilliant!! Geesh if you can keep that up, even if it becomes just a few times a week you are adding YEARS to you lifespan, as well as LIFE!" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp6gjdv?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">BlueLunarStar</a></p>
Pristine Extremities<p>"I been biting my nails all of my life and have finally stopped. I always feel a little silly to show my friends and be like, look, I have nails!" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp64l2e?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">mobiuthuselah</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Hey that's awesome! I've been biting my nails for like 20 years, it is a HARD habit to break. 👏👏" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp8cu86?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">takethehiddenpaths</a></p>
1, 2, 3<p>"I did three loads of laundry today. Folded and put away too!" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp5tmtb?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">rockbiter81</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Is..is that humanly possible? I mean put away and everything?" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp71hfd?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">AtheneSchmidt</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Several years ago, when I was majorly depressed, laundry was the hardest thing to do. It felt never <a href="https://ending.to/" target="_blank">ending.</a> To this day, keeping on top of laundry is like saying 'I'm doing ok' for me."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Doing three loads, folding AND putting away is amazing from my perspective! Congrats! Good job!!" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp7bebe?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">Smartass_Narrator</a></p>
Step One, Check<p>"I've been making a point to try and shower every day."</p><p>"It doesn't seem like much, but when I'm going through a rough bout of depression - it's the biggest accomplishment I can muster and I'm very proud of myself and my current level of stinky-ness"</p><p>"(current stink level: not stinky!! Yay)"</p><p>-- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp61um4?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">datCHEESElife</a></p>
Upswinging<p>"Drug addict for the last 10 years, tomorrow marks 2 months clean. May not sound like a long time but it's longest I've gone ever" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp601uu?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">yo_Slick</a></p><p>"Been an alcoholic for 9 years. 2 weeks sober tomorrow" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp5v4ol?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">IscreamwhenIsh**</a></p>
Here's to You Making It<p>"today is my 26th birthday and I'm still around for it" -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp5uq5b?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">b4byd0t</a></p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"I've been depressed for decades. I just turned 49 four days ago and I never thought I'd get here. It's been rough for most of those years, but I'm still here and I think of all the people I've helped that wouldn't have happened and it gives me a purpose. Do the same."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Think about anything you've done, even if it's just giving directions to a stranger. You helped that person get to where they needed to be. If you weren't there, they might still be lost now." -- <a href="https://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/luddci/whats_a_small_achievement_you_would_like_a_pat_on/gp7yyjw?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3" target="_blank">eddyathome</a></p>
Time and dedication is critical to learning new skills.