Hot Lava and Quicksand

Saw something online about things that worried you as a kid but turned out to be worth very little anxiety as an adult.

Hot lava

Safe for chairs, but not kids

It was never simply “lava.” It specifically had to be hot lava. Never molten magma, liquified rock, vaporized stone, or the like. Similarly scalding, very warm, lukewarm and tepid were never considered. “Boiling” was allowed, but only when used in conjunction with hot. Boiling hot lava was the worst. An order of magnitude more dangerous than merely hot lava.

We’d play a game – certain parts of the house were designated as hot lava zones. Touch them and you’d flare up like a strike-anywhere match. It was necessary to leap from one safe spot to another. Game logic dictated that a wooden chair could act as an island in a pool molten earth. Good times, like most activities that involved climbing on the furniture, that were frowned upon by Mother and Dad.


Certain death

Don’t remember ever playing this as a game, but whenever you stepped off a paved surface or prepared path, quicksand was a concern. We expected to encounter it on every unchaperoned venture into the woods.

Maybe they were common tropes in television shows we watched. Will Robinson must have rescued Dr. Smith from one or the other, and Gilligan likely dealt with both.

Reality and adulthood have turned out to be different. COVID-19 has turned out to be a bit of both: certain death initially fading into a set of circumstances we’re struggling to exit now. At least in childhood we could declare the game over and head outside to play catch.

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