Watching Stranger Things lets me know that I can't stay up until 10:25 PM like I used to. And also: if we want to save our world from an evil parallel universe, maybe we should let our kids wander alone for long stretches of time. Set in early 1980's Indiana, the kids in Stranger Things stay out late with their friends, ride bikes all over town, have mysterious shaved-head girls living in their basements, get into the occasional knife-fight at the quarry, and all while their parents obliviously do... something? What are the parents doing? I mean, I'm watching Netflix when I'm neglecting my kids, but they didn't have Netflix in the early 1980s.
Main character Mikey's mom appears to be a house-wife, but will disappear for an entire day while her son skips school and has a secret roommate living in the basement -- RENT FREE! Does no one else need to go in the basement all week? Where is the washer/dryer located? No dehumidifier to empty? No beeping to check up on?
The parents do so little with/for their kids, part of me watches the show thinking, "You lucky bastards!"
But maybe that's why our country isn't great any more. Our kids are being coddled. The Stranger Things kids are armed with nothing but bicycles, walkie-talkies, and parents who have little interest in them, yet they fight a seemingly un-defeatable nemesis. No wonder we were able to overcome the Commies back then!
To get this country back on track, I'm going to start setting a better example for society with a lax tone toward my offspring. I can see the family dinner conversation now:
10-year-old Son: "Can me and my buddies head over to the abandoned quarry tonight and come back tomorrow? Oh, and can I borrow the gun, too?"
Me: "On a Tuesday?!"
10-year-old Son: "But, dad, I've got all my school work done. I'll take my books and go straight from the quarry to school, if I'm still alive."
Me: "Okay, but take your baby brother with you."
10-year-old Son: "Awe, dad! C'mon! We've got an epic battle with a monster planned and the baby's gonna ruin it!"
Me: "No 'buts' about it, young man! If you're not going to watch your baby brother here at home, then you have to watch him while you go on your quarry-adventure tonight, because your mother and I can't possibly watch him."
10-year-old Son: "Geez, this is so not fair! .... Okay, get me the diaper bag and some extra ammo."
Me: "That's more like it."
10-year-old Son: "See you tomorrow night!"
Me: "Have fun!"