Friday, October 17, 2008

G.I. Joe's Adventures in the Land of Doot Dah Doo: and Other Choking Hazards

It is my belief that there comes a time in every single person's lifethat they are so bored they want to take drastic action. I've heard people utter, "I'm so bored I could die." I've seen folks stare at a clock so intently, as if to will the hour hand to suddenly lurch forward, that I feel their eyes may actually pop out of their head's and shoot across the room. I've witnessed boredom being eased by doodling (on paper, desks, pants, arms, and even the back of a sleeping person's neck), napping (including snoring, jerking awake so violently you fall out of your seat, and some monstrous drool puddles), and playing little games (tic tac toe, hang-man, and the ill-advised "see if we can drop these staples into that floor outlet" - but that's a story for another day).

A while back, I encountered such boredom firsthand. My wife signed us up to attend a baby safety class, in preparation for our first born's arrival. At first that seemed like a splendid idea, learn baby CPR and baby Heimlich and such, but then we got there. I soon realized I was in for a level of excitement that can usually only come from bashing yourself in the head with a pair of maracas.

The class started with Boring Johansen (yes, that is what it said on his "Hello my name is…" sticker) lecturing the group about car seats. Yes, this is vital information, but I believe I was signed up for the common-sense-impaired section of the course by mistake, because the session began with Boring informing the group that you should always strap the seat in, not simply place it in the car. This statement produced various "oooohs" and "aahhhhhs" from the crowd, like Boromir had discovered the secrets to time travel or some such thing. It was right then that I started beating my head against the table, thinking that maybe time would go by faster if I was unconscious.

In this ninety-minute session about car seat safety, I learned this:

(Yes, there is a big blank space here for a reason. I'm making a point.)

To keep myself entertained I decided to play some games with it. The same games that would probably drive me nuts in my own classroom were suddenly my lifeline to sanity. I poured myself a glass of the world's sourest lemonade (lemonade that would inspire the phrase "If life gives you lemons, don't make lemonade like that stuff cuz it's so sour that it's actually puckering internal sphincters"), grabbed a few of the cookies they'd laid out for us, and played the following games:

1. Every time the man said the word "crotch" I'd force myself to do a"shot" of the pucker-juice. The word came up so many times that if I'd been doing actual shots, I'd have passed out around the twenty-five minute mark, an amazing amount of crotch considering this was a baby safety class, not a how to.

2. How long can I go without taking a bite of that cookie? This was a challenging game, cuz those cookies were good. I'd try to set goals for myself: watch the second hand go around two times, get a bite –watch it go three times – take a bite --- wait til Boring Johansen repeats the word "crotch" again, then get a bite. It tested my willpower and helped the cookies survive the whole session, a pretty difficult game.

3. Hold my breath until the man's PowerPoint presentation repeats something he'd already said. Okay, this wasn't much of a challenge; each slide contained something he'd already said at least once. Almost every one letting us know that a five-point harness car seat connects in the crotch. (Do a shot, eat a cookie.)

The only thing that kept me there was the knowledge that the second half of the session would be run by someone else. A younger female nurse had introduced Borizimo the Not-So-Magnificent and promised tobe back later. It had to be better.

After a short break, we returned to find a few colorful note cards on the table in front of us. The cards contained some interesting questions about child safety and we learned that we'd take turns reading the cards and attempting to answer our own questions. It seemed to be a good idea in concept, but in execution it made me long for the days of Boro the Lord of the Car Seat.

Apparently common sense is not a strong characteristic around these parts, because these questions should have taken ten minutes with simple, straight forward answers. Instead, they sparked discussion and debate, dragging on for over an hour. Non-discussable, un-debatable things were suddenly being argued with a passion that's usually reserved for holy wars, soccer fans, and Star Trek geeks.

The first question, read out loud by a clean cut man in his mid-thirties, asked the group to name five household items that could pose a danger to babies. Boom boom boom boom boom and we're done. Next question. That's how it should have gone, but no, yuppie-boy hemmed and hawed for what seemed like enough time to have an impromptu reenactment of the War of 1812. Just after the baby new year 1813 was born, someone shouted out, "household cleaners."

The teacher praised him and agreed that household cleaners were indedd dangerous for babies. He was all smiles until she asked him to name four more. She may as well have been asking him to recite the Gettysburg Address in Latin. After about fifty-seven "ums"and thirty-eight "uhs," I decided to help the poor man out.

"Blenders," I offered, merely to lighten to mood in the room, get a cheap laugh, and take some pressure of the common-senseless man to my right.

Instead of a few chuckles, I got a chorus a Family Feud style "Good answer, good answer"s and a little bit of clapping, like these people were stumped by the question and amazed that I was able to pull an answer out of thin air like that. I then knew I had to move from this neighborhood before my son was old enough to be infected by the stupidity that was present before me.

Yuppie, the pressure now off, blurted out, "Outlets."

Another clap attack and round of "good answer"s followed. If Richard Dawson were dead, he'd have rolled over in his grave.

The nurse lady, sensitive young lass that she was, snapped back sarcastically, "Yes, all the outlets that just happen to be laying around are very dangerous."

A very elderly woman on the other side of the room, who was there for no apparent reason, because she was last fertile when Taft was in office, quickly became that annoying person that asks way too many questions and adds her own two cents to everything that you just want to strangle so the idiocy can continue interruption free. She defended Yuppster with, "Uh, outlets are dangerous. They're very very dangerous."

At this point, Richard Dawson would have beaten her with a garden hoe, instead the nurse stepped in. "Yes they are," answered nurse, "but we're asking about items that could be left laying around for a baby to pick up."

Eventually the rest of the group agreed upon five things that are dangerous for babies, a list that included the obvious choices: model airplanes, large rocks, plastic forks, those buttons with the sticker stick pins on the back, and "my wedding ring," but somehow the conversation was cut short before they could mention hatchets, tomahawks, fighter jets, Freddy Kreuger, and weapons grade plutonium.

Question after question, the nurse lady led the class in the most round-a-bout way possible back to what should be considered common knowledge. Actually, until that evening, I had no idea just how uncommon common sense was. She had to help these people understand that it's not a good idea for babies to get their heads stuck in the crib slats, fall down the steps, sign up for sky-diving lessons, or ingest cat feces.

As time went on, I believe the room actually made her dumber, illustrated by the "choking test" she demonstrated. Nurse lady held up an empty cardboard toilet paper tube, an item that my niece calls a doot dah doo, since that's the noise she yells when she holds the tube up to her mouth. Nurse Lady used that as an example of a small child's throat.

Anything that can fit through the tube, she said, should be considered a choking hazard and kept out of reach. She demonstrated. Holding up a small shirt button above the tube. She paused for a second to build the suspense, as if we were going to be amazed that it fit. She let go, allowing the button to fall to the floor and bounce around where innocent children (or my stupider classmates) might find it and choke. She paused again, this time for dramatic effect, waiting for the ooohs and aaahhhs to come. They did, because these people were so dumb they would have been amazed by the concept of pockets.

Apparently not certain that we all understood that small things fit through big holes, she demonstrated again. Holding up a quarter this time, she gave us the dramatic pause, then dropped the coin through the tube. One guy actually stood up to see if it made it. It went on.

Preemie pacifier. Pause. Drop. Bounce. Ooooo. Aaaaaahhhh.

Lighter. Pause. Drop. Bounce. Oooooo. Aaaaaaahhhh.

Action figure. Pause. Drop. Bounce. Oooooo. Aaaaaaahhhh.

Cap to a two-liter bottle. Pause. Drop. Bounce. Oooooo. Aaaaaaahhhh.

Barbecue fork. Pause. Drop. Bounce. Ooooooo. Aaaaaaahhh.

A Volleyball. Pause. Drop. Bounce. Oooooo. Aaaaaaahhhh.

My turn to read and answer a question was next. I had to follow the "doot da doo" choking on a GI Joe. That was akin to going on with a five man kazoo band after Sinatra has vacated the stage, so I didn't know how I'd top the cardboard toilet paper tube's entertainment value.

My note card told me to ask the group to list four safety concerns regarding pacifiers. Immediately, jokes galore ran through my head. It shouldn't be made of lava. Don't put it in the front seat with the airbags on. Maybe it should have the option of doubling as a rape whistle. Instead, I responded, "I'm going to go out on a limb and say that they shouldn't be able to fit through the toilet paper tube."

That was an easy joke. It should have been a slam dunk. You could have heard crickets chirping. You could have heard a pin drop through a cardboard tube.

I don't think they got it. I should have gone with the lava joke.

The rest of the session was loaded with such common sense that it made my head hurt, but it seemed to amaze so many of these people that I began to wonder how some of them were able to master those tricky insert penis into vagina maneuvers that got them into this situation in the first place.

Oh dear God, these people are going to be raising children soon. Let's just hope they realize they need to belt in the car seat, keep the flamethrowers out of reach, and understand that the five-point harness connects in the crotch. (Now drink some pucker-ade and eat a cookie).

Throw me a bone and vote for me for Humor Blogger of the Year,

or just a vote over at


Da Old Man said...

I was laughing so loud when reading this, the wife came in, and I couldn't stop enough to explain it to her.
Fantastic post.

Bill said...

Way too funny, I'm just glad it was you and not me. Going to stumble.

WOW power leveling said...

Thank you for your website
I made with photoshop backgrounds for myspace or youtube and
more my backgrounds: WOW power levelaing
take care and thank youa again!

paper tubes said...

This is really great. Keep it up the good going. Really very great blog this has given me all the information that i needed, good for visiting daily it will increase our knowledge. Best luck for future.
paper tubes