Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hazardous things…


Mr. Grenade, without his pin is not your friend

Mr. Electricity is not your friend, especially in the shower

Mr. Gasoline is not your friend - more so when you are a smoker

There are many hazards in the world and say what you will, the best way for a child to sort all that out is to experience each one first hand. Like shoving the piece of metal from my erector set (this was a toy building set not a dick-splint for the impotent, in case you are a bit confused) into the empty lamp socket. I gained instant respect for electricity after I picked myself off the floor. The public service announcement (I am old enough that they actually had those on throughout the day. That was before networks were trying to squeeze every drop of blood out of their viewers) said not to put metal objects into any open sockets or outlets. The problem I had is that the ad didn’t tell you why you shouldn’t. Kids always want to know the why behind the no.

Mr. Stove is not your friend when his burner is on. Yup, that is correct. Even after the electric burner is off you still get a neat coil shaped burn on the back of your hand. I actually had a friend that had the outline of the bottom of an iron on his stomach. He and the wife had a bit of an altercation, and though she had turned the iron off it was still hot enough to tell she was the proud owner of Sunbeam Electric Iron from the etching it left on his skin.

You can see stupidity wiht heat in action all the time while visiting Yellowstone Park – people just have to stick their hand into the hot spring to see if it is hot. The warning signs and the steam coming off the water are apparently not enough. They didn’t have a proper stove education when they were growing up and probably love NASCAR. Fortunately they are usually short lived, especially when the ignore the “do not pet the bears” sign.

My point is that we coddle kids a bit much. It is ok to strive to keep them safe, and I don’t suggest you give your li’l darlin’ a ride in the drier so he knows it isn’t as fun as it looks, but some things just have to be experienced first hand or the kid is really going to do some stupid things when he gets older. Like watch NASCAR or think he can beat the train to the crossing (also Natural Selection at work). The genetic material available in the US is thin enough without you adding to the problem.

Every kid has to try the homemade parachute off the roof trick. The fact they heard kids got hurt doing that simply means that the injured kid wasn’t doing it properly. You have to have that sickening second when you realize that sheet isn’t going to slow you perceptibly before impact to realize the error of your ways. I never heard of a child taking a second shot at a rooftop parachute attempt – if yours does it is definitely a cry for help – serious help, like electroshock.

Then there is fire. This is probably one experience that needs to be closely supervised. If you have matches and lighters around the house keep them out of reach – no shit. If you smoke, junior is going to want to emulate you and if he gets a hold of a lighter, Katy bar the door. I had a first hand experience. I found an old lighter and was clever enough to put a new flint in it, and fill it with lighter fluid – these things and some worse were readily available in our household (we’ll do some gunpowder stories another time). Unfortunately I was lying on the floor watching TV next to one of the living room chairs whilst I dicked with the lighter and managed to set the chair cover fringe on fire when I struck a spark. Apparently I had gotten fluid on pretty much everything. Fortunately mom didn’t notice the inch or so of fringe that had been trimmed of the cover when she got home.

Any rate, give your kids some room to grow and make sure you have decent medical (and homeowner’s) insurance. Experience is the best teacher; bad experience is a college professor…

3 Comments:

At 10:02 PM, Blogger KyuBall said...

Oh, the truth behind the words...

Scars from childhood, that I was lucky enough to survive:

Pea-sized scar on hand from burning a plastic bag to hear the cool sound it made as it dripped.

Multiple punctures to legs and back from a thorn bush I landed in after jumping off the garage roof with two styrofoam wings attached to my arms with rubber bands.

Oh, there's more...but, you get the picture.

 
At 4:51 PM, Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

It's a miracle you aren't dead. I think the world is dangerous in new and wonderful ways, and we don't need to worry about teaching children by arming them.

Though, it is sad that we've kind of put natural selection in check.

 
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