Whenever I see the controversial “Baby on Board” stickers, I think of George Carlin. If you’ve ever seen his classic “Baby on Board” sketch, you might think of him too. (Warning, lots of cussing so don’t watch with children around.) The iconic, late comedian says of people who drive vehicles displaying this sticker, “You know what they’re actually telling us, don’t you? They’re actually saying to us, ‘We know you’re a sh*tty driver most of the time, but because our child is nearby, we expect you to straighten up for a little while.’”
When Margaret was born, this sticker suddenly made sense to me. In addition to having minimal head control, babies have soft spots, called fontanels, that don’t become solid until they are approximately 18 months old. Hence, babies under 18 months old are at much greater risk for injury or death in a car accident than older children and adults. While I chose not to display this sticker on my car mainly because I felt it was ineffective (to Carlin’s point, if anything, people drive worse because of its inherent insult), those who did now seemed somewhat justified. Besides, they were just looking out for their baby’s best interest, which is what responsible parents do, right?
As President Trump rounds the corner to his first 100 days in office, there is one thing we can count on: continued drama. Whether you’ve been on a high dosage of anti-anxiety medication since the election or there is a life-size stand up of him in your entry way, you’re a big fat liar if you say you haven’t cringed at least once in the past few months at his social media rants. I think there has been so much facial contorting in the last 70+ days, that a year from now, when Allergan is reviewing their year-over-year sales for Juvederm and Botox, they will see a huge uptick in revenues for these product lines. But the frown lines are not what is most concerning to many of us parents. It’s the message that he sends every day to our youth: that acting inappropriately and rudely is acceptable…and may even be rewarded.
This is anathema to what Carlin jokes about in his stand-up bit. Carlin purports that asking drivers to alter their driving behavior for the sake of the good of the baby is actually a bad thing in the long room. “Let him grow up with a sense of reality!” he jokes. “Life doesn’t change because you post a sign!”
But as we’ve seen in the last few months, life already has changed for those of us who live in the United States since Trump became our 45th president. He’s discredited the media and the intelligence community, caused serious concern that US residents will deported on a whim, used rhetoric that makes Muslims, women, and those with disabilities feel marginalized, and is intolerant of anyone who speaks out against him. American life as we know it has changed.
While I suspect George Carlin would be horrified at the notion of being associated in any way to Trump (despite the endless supply of great standup material), the truth is that a man with the temperament of a baby is running our country. America, we have a “Baby on Board!”
So Americans, let’s unite! Let’s be proactive and try to minimize the damage to our country while we can. We can start by putting a “Baby on Board” sticker on Airforce One.
That way, anywhere President Trump flies, people all over the world will remember that we are all dealing with a baby and we should alter our behavior to minimize catastrophic damage. I know, this feels like a cop-out. We shouldn’t HAVE to alter our behavior, just like the drivers in George Carlin’s scenario shouldn’t automatically be viewed as irresponsible drivers. But just like the intent of the “Baby on Board” sticker is to optimize safety, ultimately, we need to protect our country from the baby whose soft spots endanger it the most.
As a parent, my greatest hope is that the world my children inherit is better than the one I inherited from my parents. If you are a parent, I’m guessing you feel the same. So do your progeny a favor. Spread the word that there is a baby on board. And for heaven’s sake, don’t be offended by the sticker. Rather, let’s be responsible Americans and heed its message. And hopefully in four years, we can peel that pesky sticker off with little residue.