During my university days, I had a roommate who had both bad health and a morbid sense of humour. He used to tell me, “Jim, when you get up in the morning, check the obituaries. If my name’s not in there, then wake me up.” Years later, I still blame him for my dark habit of starting the day with a reading of the obits. (I guess one could argue that I am just utilizing the ultimate “backward design.”)
The write up on Karl Stover’s life caught my eye this morning. Stover, 93, was one of the last remaining munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz.” Born in the Czech Republic, his childhood reads like something out of a Dickens’ novel.
Because of his height (He reached 4-foot-5 as an adult.), his father used to soak him in burning oil and then put him on a stretching machine in an attempt to make him grow. When dear old dad (who was rarely compared to Fred MacMurry) realized that these treatments didn’t work, he sold his son to a traveling circus.
As ghastly as all of this was, I wonder if today we parents are still plagued by the thought that our children are somehow inadequate? Do we have different kinds of “stretching machines” and different sorts of circuses?