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CAREFUL! You just might...trip?

Are children still constantly told to tie up their shoelaces? Or did that go out of fashion when 'Pull up your pants!' did? The latter warning used to seem more serious. That is of course until the current fashion craze (and that word has several meanings) consisting of offering the world to see that your underwear is indeed clean, made it redundant. Then again, the shoelace advice always seemed like a ridiculous warning to me, that is of course until I tripped.

That was back when I was 10.

I've since grown up and will presumably be passing on these nuggets of wisdom when my daughter takes her first steps in about a year's time.

But again, that will be advice given to a child.

Last summer I returned to the country of my birth, Canada, the place where I heard those warnings so long ago. It had been about 6 years since my last visit, 6 years that had taken me around the world, literally. Ever time I go back, I feel a little more removed, a little more distant, like a guy who shows up at a party dressed completely inappropriately. I find myself constantly asking myself, 'That's not how it used to be, is it?' It's been 20 years since I left.

Memory plays tricks and often paints the past in rose pastel, impressionistically blurring out the hard lines of things we might want to forget, but I simply don't remember such nannyism. I remembered asking friends and family six years ago if they had noticed the absurd crowding of their visual sphere with inane caution signs. The signs had probably crept into everyday life slowly but surely and no, they hadn't noticed.

But I had.

So this time I made a point to document them as we travelled around the country.

The 1st...watch your step taken to extremes!


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