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Wide White: The Underground Railroad and UPS

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Underground Railroad and UPS

The brain of a child is a funny thing. It's been fun to observe in my 9-month-old twins as their brains develop and begin to pick up more and more information.

It's fun to remember things our brains processed when we were kids.

When I was a kid, I was sure the Underground Railroad was an actual train. I envisioned all of these great people working hard to build an escape train that ran through underground tunnels and somehow managed to avoid disturbing the slave owners and sheriffs above ground.

Once I figured out the Underground Railroad had nothing to do with trains, I still maintained that it must have been a network of underground tunnels. It took me a while to finally realize that it was a network of homes, people, and safe routes guiding escaped slaves north to freedom.

Metaphors, allegories, and figures of speech are funny things for kids to figure out.

Another thing that's funny for kids to figure out is their dream job. I had some of the standards, such as wanting to play Major League Baseball. However, the job that I most consistently wanted was to be a UPS driver.

Remember, you have to look at professions through the eyes of a child. My experience with UPS drivers was limited to the delivery of birthday and Christmas gifts. As far as I knew, UPS drivers spent their entire days every single day making people happy.

I also had a love for the road and thought the greatest job would be on the road. Driving a semi would be the ultimate road job, but I was conscious of the future family I had. Driving a UPS truck would let me be back home every night.

The fact that all of this went through my 8-year-old brain is a little crazy to me now. But then, I was the kid who owned an iron, ironing board, silverware, and other dorm amenities by 16.

What sort of things did you think up as a kid? Have any of those crazy ideas persisted into adulthood?

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