From Magic City Morning Star|
My sage old grandmother, may God rest her soul, always said that eventually, everything comes back (kind of like one of those hideous Christmas fruitcakes that no one eats and everyone re-gifts!). Nana's words were indeed prophetic. She passed in 1971, yet must have known that an inane and obnoxious trend from the 80's would gratefully die, but later revisit us like a vampire at Midnight. Yes, sorry Mommies and Daddies, but I am referring to that stupid, putrid little yellow sideways square sign that you display in the back of your Volvos and mini-vans: "Baby on board"!
What politically correct, warm and fuzzy, touchy-feely chardonnay sipping, half-witted, whale-saving youth soccer sycophant dim bulb with way too much time on his or her hands dreamt up that little ingenious brainstorm? Shucks! You mean I can't ram your car or force you into the guardrail now, just because little junior is having quality time with his environmentally friendly toys in the back seat? And why do I have to be careful anyway? Shouldn't the little bastard be strapped down in a car seat?
I am in no way cheapening the value of a child's life, despite the fact that many of those hypocritical "Baby On Board" cheerleaders don't mind a woman's so-called right to abort that child from what should be the safest place on earth, the womb, if the kid is at all deemed to be an inconvenience (or a potential Republican!). But at what point did we adults get demoted to something slightly above chopped liver?
In a certain area of my state I also now see a plethora of similar lawn signs that read, "Drive like my kid's life depends on it!" OK, Einstein, fine, but I'm warning you, once Grandma steps off the curb with her cane, and is well centered between my headlights, she's fair game!
If kids are suddenly so many rungs higher on the ladder of prominence than adults, then fine, let's go all the way! Cancel the "play date" (and where the hell did that nauseating term and concept ever come from?) and send the little darlings off to work and let them make the mortgage payment this month!
I really don't have a problem with kids. My only complaint is that just like when you see a ball cross the street in front of your car, chances are a kid isn't far behind; whenever you see a kid, chances are some beaming, obnoxious, egotistical adult is not far behind, gloating away in tow. The adults attached with the kids are the true problem. Have you ever noticed those bumper stickers that read, "Ask me about my grandchildren." ? Of course, my reply would always be, "NO!" without even missing a breath! There just isn't enough time in the day, and I certainly don't have the patience, and probably have more important items to tend to on my daily itinerary anyway, like watching paint dry! I'm not wrong on this point. Next time you see one of those bumper stickers, count the occupants in the car. I can assure you Grandpa and Grandma have nobody in the back seat, and not just because they're driving down the sidewalk at a steady 15 mph with the left turn signal on the whole way, but because there is only 24 hours in a day, and no one wants to hear them endlessly ranting about their grand-rug rats ad nauseum! Newsflash: people typically want to hear about your grandkids about as much as they want to see your vacation pictures from the Jersey shore last summer!
Then of course, there are these little gems, currently smothering a road near you: "My child is an honor student at John Doe Junior High School." WHO CARES? What exactly am I supposed to do with that little morsel of worthless information...pull up next to that car at the next red light and congratulate the driver through the window? Apparently, however, my clone is out there somewhere, already hard at work! Hence the far more entertaining, but far less seen bumper sticker, "My kid beat up your honor student." Now that IS something I want to hear about!
In local education, kids are often used as hostages by those advocating more expenditures. They will often tell us that if we oppose these hot-button issues, we are "against kids." I would argue they are against adults. Who picks up this tab come tax day, anyway? I haven't seen any of the little cherubs in question cutting any checks. And more often than not, the issue is not about needed revenue, but as with most forms of government, reckless spending. School systems now are flooded with administrators, bureaucrats, consultants and an army of pseudo-"specialists" with more vague and haughty titles than pharmaceutical companies have pills. And too little of that money goes to the "educators" (who used to be called "teachers" not all that long ago), where the rubber hit's the road, and for that matter, their pupils, for whom the whole system supposedly exists. And for all the money we throw at this unquenchable money pit, the kids still often do poorly, or even worse. Again, the problem isn't the kids. It's the damned adults. Institutions of learning have been transformed into havens of power, and the all but forgotten kids are brought out in defense when needed, like little pawns on a political chessboard.
Politicians will often drag kids into their speeches for dramatic effect, even on issues not even pertaining to kids. Of course, in all fairness, they also pull that card with the elderly too, and with (I love this one) "working families," which, I guess infers that if you have your name embroidered on your blue collared shirt, you're a martyr, but if you wear a white collared shirt and tie to work, you're by definition a thief. Ironically the same pols who so often invoke "working families" emphatically also defend some of those who are on the government dole and have often have no intention of ever going to work, especially when having more kids (sometimes equal to the number of suspects for fathers) brings in even more of the government dime. I think in Bush's term some called this type of visionary thinking "fuzzy math."
When I was a kid, we were lucky just to have food on our supper table, so dining out was seldom an issue, but on the few occasions we did dine out, it was typically in a burger or pizza joint, and not just because money was tight, but because my parents knew we young kids were annoying little brats, which most kids are. That's their job. Somehow, that memo got lost, and today, Chip and Buffy take little whiny, cranky, screaming little Junior with them when dining in an upscale ritzy joint with an astronomical ala carte menu where you pay $7.50 just for a glass of water without ice. Most of us can cook this over-rated goo at home, for cheaper, in bigger portions, and without parsley dumped all over it. But let's face it, we patronize such fine eateries for the atmosphere. So now we can also equally endure the pain of our very self-centered neighbors at the very next table, Chip, Buffy and their grossly inappropriately placed screaming offspring, and in that place, that is the only thing that is free of charge. (But if screaming Junior is still there past 8pm, you best check the bill for a cover charge, lest the crafty management try to bamboozle you that he was the "entertainment"!)
Face it, as adults, we are the ones who conceive these little angels, nurture, feed, clothe, educate, vaccinate, and protect them, and pay all their expenses until they either move out to satisfy their screaming hormones by moving in with a desired member of the opposite sex, or we simply start suddenly hinting about "room & board"! Yet adults have been reduced in our society in rank to something slightly below that lone penny sitting in the courtesy tray on the counter of your local convenience store. Even on modern day TV, kids have the answers to all the dilemmas, and the adults (especially if they are men) are portrayed as clueless, hapless, mouth breathing, drooling Neanderthals.
And as if this were worthy of an encore, thirty years later, we now see the unsolicited, unwanted and much unneeded rebirth of "Baby on board." I'm almost tempted to cut off one of these vehicles some time, and after the G-forces suck off their hub caps, the smoke clears, and my car passes back in front of them, they can read my little helpful tidbit of utterly superfluous information, on a sign also adorning my car's rear windshield:
"SCHMUCK DOESN'T CARE!"
Happy trails! (And buckle up!)
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