When you're little, your whole world revolves around swiping sugary cereal from the pantry and your parents. So if you're a kid and one of your parents has to leave for a long period of time, specifically to live in a dangerous situation, a gray mist of uncertainty descends down on you. You can eat a slice of cake, play with your friends, watch your favorite shows, whatever it is that makes you happiest, but the ghost of something terrible is always sitting on your shoulder. Whether it's World War II or it's the war in the Gulf or you're one of the Hatfields and McCoys -- it's all the same. You can try to push the thought of the worst that could happen out of your mind, but it never leaves.
Then, if you're lucky, he comes home, and the weight of a mountain of worry is lifted off your shoulders, and you feel so light that only your dad can keep you on the ground.
Did you hear the one about the zookeeper who had to weigh a baby giraffe? This is it. This is that one. It turns out China doesn't make a scale specifically calibrated for skittish newborn giraffes who aren't physically capable of standing yet. So zookeepers have to hold the 6-foot, hundred-plus-pound baby, then subtract their own weight to get the newborn's number. It's also my New Year's resolution to insist on getting weighed this way the next time I go to the doctor.
In addition to dealing with the Blitz, having to evacuate to the countryside, and, uh, Nazis, British children had the quadruple misfortune of tackling the horrors of war while under the specter of a sweet ration. Actually, all their foods were rationed, but -- you know -- chocolate. The picture above was taken in 1953, when all rations were removed and kids were finally allowed to gorge themselves on nature's greatest gift outside of wayward-eyed pugs -- candy. 1953 -- 10 years after rationing began. Most of the kids in this picture had never gorged themselves on anything, much less sweets. So you can appreciate the Wonka-esque stampede above.
Usually, when we hear about scary looking dogs and children, it's bad news. Maulings and cage fighting and bad party music and whatnot. Then you see this docile sweetheart lying like a corpse while an ill-clad, unsupervised child recreates the Rosetta Stone on her belly muscles and you think, "Welp, at least I'm not the owners of those two." And they're thinking the same thing, about you, I mean.
Imagine it's 1964 and you've nabbed tickets to a Beatles concert. Or it's 1956 and you're seeing young, hot, pre-banana and peanut butter sandwich loving Elvis Presley. Or it's 1844 and you find yourself at a Franz Liszt concert. The crowd is throbbing with the heat of hundreds of frenzied women working themselves into a communal orgasm, but you don't notice because she just inched a little bit closer. No one is looking. Her hand hovers, then lands lightly on your lap. It's over. The concert and whatever is happening in the audience is over. It doesn't matter anymore, does it? Here are two people who hid in the spastic fever of an audience watching the biggest rock stars of all time and their eyes are fixed on one another.
Speaking of true love ...
Forget what you've seen on Bridezillas or Say Yes to the Dress or whatever the show is with the bride having a nuclear meltdown over the reception's fish smell wafting toward Uncle Ishmael. Forget all that. When Filipino couple Ramoncito "Romantico" Campo and Hernelie Ruazol Campo were warned that a flood would destroy everything they planned for their beautiful day, they said, "NOT ON OUR WATCH." Or something very close to that effect. Their first plan of catching the rain and funneling it to the American Midwest didn't work out, so they did the next best thing -- nothing.
"No, you're still not allowed to wear flip-flops with your tux."