Saturday, October 30, 2010

Drive drive drive

Yeah, they have seat belts on shopping carts now. I'm all for protecting the little ones, but? One reaches a point of diminishing returns eventually; Mr. Darwin is going to have his say on the matter.

Back in the 1960's there was an alternative child protective mechanism in shopping carts. It was called, 'Sit still and act like you've got good sense or Mom will pop those jaws for you.' It was surprisingly effective, to be so low-tech.

But we don't do barbaric parenting things like that anymore; instead we physically restrain our children like they were Hannibal Lecter. Sadly though, barbarism hasn't been entirely banished from our culture. There is still I-55.

I-55 is a marvel of civil engineering, cutting a more or less straight line through Mississippi in North/South direction. The posted speed limit is 70mph but everyone understands that's merely a suggestion. The observed speed limit is 80mph and there is a bad wreck on I-55 at least once a week.

OK, so everybody is going in the same direction. There are no stop lights or cross traffic, so... how come I see the MediVac helicopter so often? Well, the sameness of the landscape can lull one into a semi-conscious state I guess. And there are cell phones. Some people change lanes without consulting the rear view mirror.

Hmmm, well here's a thought. Doctors now have a pretty good handle on what they call 'Clean room syndrome.' It's where babies are protected from encountering any germs or dirt, and then become children allergic to everything. This because human development requires some early exposure to the natural world, in order to kick in a normal immune system.

Maybe there's an as yet unidentified human reflex system. Maybe something called 'Safe room syndrome' stunts its development. If you keep a person trussed up and encased in protective plastic through most of their early life, do they really know, on an instinctive level that this world is chock full of opportunities to get Ouchies?

Now you know where seat belts are really needed? Church pews. Must get in touch with Rick Warren on that one...

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