Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wherein I Derive an Important Truth About Our Mortal Existence from a Child's Car Seat

As you read this, I want you to know that I love and adore and want to see all the time my little step-grandsons, three of the six of which presently require car seats, by both law and good sense.

And I also want you to know that I know that car seats for children have saved countless young lives and avoided terrible injuries to their occupants.

This weekend, the Memsahib and I were visited by one of our darling grandsons while his parents spent an enjoyable weekend downtown Dallas, attending a wedding and to their own toddler-free fun.

This car seat  .  .  .

It is enormous.

It weighs more than some roadworthy vehicles.

It is so big that I could barely get it in the back door of one of the largest, roomiest sedans manufactured in the modern age.

It is incredibly plush, robustly bolstered from thigh to shoulder with upholstery that securely cushions his tiny buns from any horizontal movement.  It is so luxurious that Donald Trump could nap in the thing.

And this was not even the entire car seat.  This was only the part of the car seat that was designed to click into a docking device that is presently secured to the back seat of the automobile in which the delightful tyke takes most of his rides.

It has buttons on it.  The kind you push and things happen.  Or are supposed to.

And, of course, it has the usual belts and snaps and things that are supposed to click into place to keep the child secure, if not almost completely motionless.

Not the car seat in question.  But it did have a cupholder.

In preparing the child for his ride, I found the use of these appliances  .  .  .  challenging.

Since it was lacking the base to which it would customarily be attached, there were no passageways in its back through which the backseat belting could be threaded to secure it.  The only alternative being to strap the entire piece of furniture into the back seat by treating it as person and bringing the seatbelt mechanism across its front and securing the tongue to one of the female pieces buried in the seat which had to be dug out.

In itself not such a challenge, in theory.  But this particular carseat was so wide that it covered that female element, and it was only with the greatest exertion and topological problem-solving that I was able to get the tongue of the seatbelt to click into the receptacle.  All of this performed, mind you, whilst twisting this my body, now in its seventh decade, into configurations the local boot camp would not countenance.

Fortunately, we were not on a schedule, and we proceeded to our destination, your driver somewhat exhausted but only slightly injured, and the lad had a marvelous time riding a pony and swinging on a swing and petting some very cute goat-kids, which made it all worthwhile.

But as I was wrestling with this Shetland Barcalounger, and, for the longest time, losing, I did have a thought.  Not a charitable thought, not one of which I am proud, but one that did cross my mind, and more than once:

Human life is not that precious.

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