Throughout the year, my wife Ann pretty well keeps up with the celebrations of the moment, and there are a bunch of them.

Throughout the year, my wife Ann pretty well keeps up with the celebrations of the moment, and there are a bunch of them. To that end, a few days ago when I rolled into our driveway. a St. Patrickís Day flag was flying.

Not being Irish, my connection to that annual observation isnít strong. Iím not a fan of beer ó green or otherwise ó and didnít inherit my motherís affinity for four-leaf clovers.

But I do have especially fond memories of St. Paddy from old school days. Back in the day, if you didnít wear something green to school, you got pinched.

I was a good target because Iím colorblind, at least to the extent of being able to differentiate between greens, grays and browns. Not much has changed.

Paddyís day was spent switching back and forth between being "pincher" and "pinch-ee." By current standards it was serial assault and batteries, regardless of how much fun folks were having.

Which brings me to the one other holiday during which we committed felonies as viewed through todayís prism of political correctness. "Flag Day" isnít celebrated as it once was.

Way back in that day Iím always talking about, Flag Day was for searching out girls with whom to "celebrate." The ritual was to run up to one, fling up her dress and shout "Flag day!"

Back then, it was giggles ó today sexual harassment. Oh, how things have changed.

I know stuff like this sounds ridiculously juvenile, but kids from my era were babes in the woods, light-years from modern kids. You can add silly and ignorant to the pile, but it was those very traits that allowed us to enjoy day-to-day life so much.

Iím smiling as I type. I rant about how wonderful it was to grow up when and how I did. But Iíve pondered about why those days were so special?

I surely wasnít special by any measure. With no money and certainly no drugs, exactly why did we have so much fun? The key was ignorance in a "Paradise Lost" sort of way.

That this country bumpkin knew almost nothing about life allowed me to discover its sweet mysteries one at a time over many years. My "worldliness" developed very slowly. I got a lot of enjoyment out of each bite of life and am still chewing.

Today, kids gorge on the ways of the world through unrestricted Internet time and school bus rides. Thatís sadly the way things are. Iím so lucky to have come up slow and dumb. Life is an absolute blast if you sip and savor.

So today how we celebrated a couple of holidays wouldíve risen to the level of sexual harassments plus a multitude of assault and batteries. I can visualize my high school annual with our pictures having serial numbers at the bottoms along with arrest dates.

It gives me pause that games we played innocently then are now so poisonous. The country has changed. Danger, Will Robinson!

Otis Gardnerís column appears here weekly. He can be reached at