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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Baby on Board

A couple of decades back, a marketing company got a keen idea, and started to stamp out little cardboard signs the size of license plates to be affixed on the back window of your car. The statement, appealing to caring parents, was simple: 'BABY ON BOARD'. Soon, the sign started appearing on the windows of cars everywhere. The card was a pronouncement, a statement, and a warning, directed at anybody following within eye shot. Stay away, stay clear, and be extra careful, because THERE IS A BABY ON BOARD! Naturally, I found this irritating in the extreme, since who was to tell me that my driving was less than careful? So I hoped privately that the morons carrying this sign would somehow careen off the road and explode in a ball of flame, sparing of course the innocent baby, which was of course on board. Thankfully, the market proscribed a corrective, namely little signs that proclaimed new places for the baby, such as: BABY IN TRUNK, BABY IN GLOVE COMPARTMENT, and BABY IN MICROWAVE. With new places for the baby for the busy motorist to ponder, the whole exercise in parental caution dissolved away, and all motorists were again equal on our highways.

Unfortunately, too often you can't keep a bad idea down. A year or so ago, another marketing company noted that our troops were suddenly in harms way, and soon began to market little magnetized ribbons to hang on our car trunks, espousing our heartfelt desire to SUPPORT OUR TROOPS, or calling upon God to BLESS OUR TROOPS. Unlike generic bumper stickers that suggest practical and helpful means of action, such as support your United Way, or give to Unicef, these ribbons were curiously unfocused, and to my jaundiced eye, just as irritating. So what am I or God for that matter to do to support the troops, and who are these people to insinuate that I'm not? And for that matter, what are you doing to support the troops? I am confused and irritated by all of this, since odds are that not one of the thousands of bozos who are driving about with these stupid magnets have given a cent to the military widow's relief fund or other charities that support our troops. So now I'm waiting for nature and the market to take its course, and introduce magnetized ribbons that proclaim my or God's support for the aardvarks, whales, tax accountants, or democrats. And after that, as with babies on board, I am sure that all motorists will once again be rendered as uniformly compassionate as they are vigilant.

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