As a young boy, I enjoyed reading Hardy Boys books. This ghost-written series followed two brothers on amateur detective adventures. The appeal to me was simple. Detective teenagers go on adventures? You bet I liked those books, and I imagined myself in the action.
Of course, a large publishing company (like the boy bands of the '90s) carefully designed this series to lure in young readers. What a brilliant concept. And yet, this was not the first time I had fallen victim to a literary work.
Peanuts is a comic strip written by Charles M. Schulz. It follows several youngsters during funny moments. But I did not enjoy the humor as much as the message. Charles hated everything about school! It's awful! Down with school! Go home and play! What a wonderful message for children.
As I loved everything Peanuts, my parents purchased at least 20 comic books and merchandise. I even recall having a Peanuts lunch box. They did not take the anti-school message seriously because I was learning to read, and they encouraged this positive behavior.
Around the age of fifteen, I disliked Peanuts. I had become more serious about education and no longer appreciated school bashing. By age seventeen, I also despised the Hardy Boys books. They were "for kids," and I was "an adult." Does this mean that I had outgrown both series? Yes, yes, it does.
Now, wait a minute. Many adults used to and still enjoy Peanuts. It is possible to take education bashing in jest and appreciate the light-hearted, funny scenes. It's a comic. You know. Fun. And the Hardy Boys books? Why those books were intended for youngsters. They prepared us for adult books. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Yeah, I am still not buying it because I feel like both series doped me. Peanuts took advantage of my early hatred of school right when I needed to see how important education was. And the Hardy Boys books? Perhaps they could have taken a more realistic approach. Life is hard, and people do bad things. Teenagers taking the law into their own hands? Not a message we want for our kids.
Yet… there is another aspect to consider. Part of growing up involves making mistakes and learning from them. Also, we can see our flaws and admit to ourselves (and others) that we have flaws. It is possible to change, improve and no longer enjoy something we used to. That is what growing up is all about.
What about feeling duped? A part of me is still angry. However, I need to remember that I learned from my mistake. Plus, I learned how to read. So perhaps discussing one's mistake adds additional value. Thanks, four blog readers, for helping me to learn about myself!

You’re the best -Bill
September 21, 2022
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