Back in my elementary school days, being on the Safety Patrol was one of the coolest things you could do. It gave you a feeling of power over the constant flow of humanity, as it made its way to school, then back home again. As an added bonus, you got to wear that cool safety patrol belt that identified you as a Child with Authority. Don’t mess with me, kid. I’m saving lives here!
We would stroll into class late, protected by the little badges on our safety patrol belts. Plus, the reward for our public service would usually be a field trip at the end of the school year. Most of the time, these were boring museum excursions, but sometimes we went to a ballgame, or maybe even a park. I remember once at Camp Dearborn, a friend and I moored canoes with a couple of girls and chit-chatted for about an hour before going our separate ways. Ah, youth.
The safety patrol belts have certainly come a long way. Back in my day, they were white, or a fluorescent hunter’s orange. The strap went over your shoulder and around your waist. This identified you to oncoming traffic, so you wouldn’t get flattened like a pancake while performing your duty. Nowadays, the safety patrol kids wear fluorescent yellow vests. I’m pretty sure those things can be spotted from space. Which is the point I suppose.
Back in my day, there weren’t nearly as many cars on the street when school let out. These days, it seems like every little snowflake is driven to school. The job these safety patrol boys and girls perform isn’t for the faint of heart. They do a tough job, in a sea of SUVs, just waiting to turn wayward children into roadkill. So, in the immortal words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, “Let’s be careful out there.” Stay safe, kids!
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