Thursday, August 14, 2008

Food or Plastic? Hard to Tell.

Congratulations, Europe! You're still leading the world (surprisingly enough) in the overprotective actions that only encourage coddling children so that they will inevitably grow up to be "adults" who cannot make a decision on their own and have no idea what mistakes or pain involve. Please form a single file line to receive a helmet to put over your buttery soft cranium for your own protection.

What the hell, people? Over yonder in Germany, the lawmakers there are considering a ban on something called a Kinder surprise egg. First of all, I'm not overly thrilled about any food that has the word "surprise" in it. I prefer my food to be surprise-free. It works out better that way for me. A surprise egg, from what I can tell, is a chocolate egg that is hollow and has a little plastic toy in the middle. You eat the chocolate, you play with the toy, what's not to love? Well, according to a parliamentary health commission, plenty. They say that "it is dangerous to combine food and toys in one product." And I think it's dangerous to combine idiots with legislative matters, but I don't see that changing anytime soon.

I just don't see how it's "dangerous". After all, Cracker Jack has been going with the food-toy combo strategy for at least one hundred years and it seems to be working out pretty well for them. Then I read why the softheaded commission thinks that these tasty treats are "dangerous". And that's when I twisted off. According to commission member Miriam Grub, "Children cannot tell the difference between a toy and food." Um, wait. What?

Correct. Suddenly, for no apparent reason, "children cannot tell the difference between a toy and food." Well, she is on a commission (which usually means a person is more stupid than an average idiot), so perhaps we should take a good look at her concern. Let's do that! Seriously, folks, let's examine this woman's concern before permanently affixing a helmet to her overly ripe melon in order to protect her from herself. Here is a Kinder Surprise Egg before it is unwrapped by a stupid, stupid child who does not know the difference between a toy and food.

Looks tasty and fun, doesn't it? Now, who knows if the little imbecile is going to be able to figure out NOT to eat the foil! (You know, I had a dog that ate a whole basket of those little foil wrapped eggs at Easter time once. But the key to that story is that she was a DOG! She was also crapping little multi-colored tin things for weeks.) They probably shouldn't come wrapped in anything AT ALL! You know, "just in case". But I digress. So, that's the Kinder Surprise Egg before it's unwrapped. Now, here is the Kinder Surprise Egg, unwrapped and cut in half with the toy inside. I'm going to make the picture really big so you can try to tell the difference between the "toy" and the "food". It's very subtle and you, like the idiot children running amok around Germany, might not be able to differentiate between the two and just gulp the whole damn thing down at one time because you just couldn't figure it out. I'm just trying to give you a head start here. Ready? Behold!

So you can see why she's concerned, right? NO!! Of course not! Are you freaking kidding me?!?!

This woman is worried that children can't tell the difference IN THAT PICTURE between which is the TOY and which is the FOOD?? Since WHEN?! Oh, wait. That's right. Since NEVER! And this woman knows that, as she followed up that moronic statement with, "We just want to prevent a worst-case scenario wherein a child could choke on a toy out of a combination product like this one." I see. So because something MIGHT happen, let's just make sure that it never does and BAN whatever it is that has a scintilla of potential to be dangerous? That seems rather extreme. How about this instead? How about you just teach your child the difference between food and toys and call it a day? OR better yet, assume that if your child does bite down on the hard, yellow, encapsulated toy, that he or she will think, "Why, hey....this doesn't taste like chocolate. I think it might not be food after all! I do not think I will continue trying to eat this. Oooh! But it does appear to open up into a little toy that looks like loads of fun! I shall play with it instead and eat the yummy chocolate shell that it came in."

I'd assume that the commission might think about that novel idea (you know, the one about actually teaching your child something or allowing some Darwinian principles to do their thing, instead of just removing the scenario in which danger may rear it's ugly head) but they're pretty busy these days. See, they're also looking into at mandating that children wear bicycle helmets (ironic, considering the commission members themselves are the ones that need helmets.) and, brace yourself, making schoolbooks lighter so children don't injure themselves or tire themselves out carrying them around all day. Oh. My. God.

The helmet thing? Look, I've almost given up on that one. I think it's ridiculous and overprotective. If you want to wear a helmet, fine. But don't treat those who don't like they're spawns of Satan who have taken up Nazism. (Or at least stop treating me like that. Did you wear a bike helmet around the neighborhood when you rode your bike as a kid? Of course you didn't. And you turned out OK. Not great, but OK.)But the book thing? Are you freaking kidding me? First of all, how many books are these German kids carrying around all the live long day? I mean, I know it's Germany and all, but I'm kind of under the impression that the "bad Germany" days are far behind them. Injure themselves? Are these kids so stupid that they don't know how to carry a book? How do you injure yourself carrying a book? And where exactly are they going all day long that they're carrying these books around to? And if your kids are tiring themselves out by carrying their freaking school books, your precious little snowflake needs a little bit more exercise. Or, at the very least, another introduction into the real world. What are they thinking?

You can't stop fate, people! Accidents will happen! I don't care how hard you try, you cannot and you will not EVER be able to prevent EVERY single accident that COULD happen from happening; nor should you! That's why they're called "accidents" because they're not intentional! It's right there in the name: accidents!
Listen, you know how many times your kid is going to try to eat the toy inside of the chocolate egg? (OK, if you guessed 'zero' because your child isn't a freaking moron, that counts as being correct.) At the most? ONCE. Then it's over and they move on. They will stop trying to eat the little plastic toys once they realize that they're more fun to play with and that the chocolate tastes better. And do you also know how many times your child is going to injure himself with a schoolbook? (If you guessed 'zero' because your child is the same child who didn't eat the plastic toy, that again will be counted as correct.) At the most? ONCE. Pain is a VERY good teacher. Very effective. Deterrents? Nearly as good as rewards. Sometimes better. I swear.

Knock it off, Germany. Stop sending the message to children that they're too stupid to know the difference between delicious chocolate and plastic toys. More importantly, stop sending the message to parents/adults that they should try to foresee everything that could potentially go wrong with every situation and then alter or remove that situation so the potential to have any discomfort or inconvenience inflicted upon your child is gone. Because if you don't, you're going to end up with a whole bunch of kids who grow up to be a bunch of adults who think that they are too stupid to know the difference between delicious chocolate and plastic toys. And if they think they're too stupid to know that, do you think that there's anything out there that they're NOT going to feel too stupid to deal with? Probably not. And you're also going to end up with a bunch of parents/adults who spend all of their time running around and sterilizing the world we live in until they feel as if they have sufficiently controlled the universe so that there is nothing left to think about because they've gotten rid of it all. So just knock it off.

Again, single file for the helmets. Wear it all the time, especially if you're on a German commission. Even when you sleep. It's for your own protection because you clearly don't know the difference between "caution" and "coddling."

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