I have a lot to be thankful for. There’s my health, my friends, my family, my security…just to name a few of the big things. But mostly I’m happy it’s not the 70’s anymore. Why, you ask? While it’s true this country was subjected to Jimmy Carter, I am referring to something much scarier: Safety standards. And the lack thereof. Frankly, my brother and I are relieved we made it out of that decade alive.
Now somehow my oldest brother lucked out, because the most serious thing that ever happened to him was a flip off the changing table while my mom’s back was turned for a split second. At the time it was pretty freaky since he was only six months old, but this was nothing compared to the 1970’s death-traps my brother Dan and I experienced.
My own safety-lacking experience happened when I was five. I was riding in the back seat of my Aunt Laura’s two-door. I don’t remember the make or model, however I do clearly remember that there was a decal of The Road Runner on the side of the car, as if it were some “special edition”. Kind of like how Ford has a special edition Eddie Bauer Explorer. Well The Road Runner edition car must have been the much poorer and less tasteful predecessor to that.
Anyway, I think my brother Dan (his story later) was in the passenger seat, and we were stopped at a corner. All of a sudden I remember my aunt taking a sharp and fast left onto Main Street, right in front of the local junior high school. And then, with the help of a loose car door, an even looser front seat and non-existent seatbelt laws, I somehow Flew. Out. The. Door. I can literally remember rolling across the street. I rolled and rolled until my momentum gave out and I stopped right at the curb.
Then the Road Runner Mobile simply came to the curb and picked me up.
After the initial shock wore off, I’m pretty sure I started to cry. But if my cries could talk, they probably would have said something like this:
What. The. F*ck. I just catapulted out of your car and rolled across Main Street, and you casually pulled up to the curb like you were picking up a cast-off couch for your college dorm. I could have been seriously hurt here, people! Can you show me some sympathy instead of sitting there trying to figure out how my parents aren’t going to find out about this little episode?
Oddly enough, there was barely a scratch on me.
Now onto my brother Dan, also a victim of 1970’s safety shoddiness.
It was early in the summer of 1970, when my parents lived in a small town called Lena, Wisconsin. At the time they lived right on Highway 441, which was a 55 mph zone in front of their house. My mom was out in the yard hanging clothes and Dan (less than a year old) was being held prisoner in a playpen near her. At some point my mom saw her good friend Jacki across the street/highway and decided she needed to quickly run across to Jacki’s yard and ask her something/borrow something/get the update on The Young and the Restless.
As my mom was talking to her friend, her back turned to the highway, Jacki’s eyes suddenly became as big as saucers. My mom followed her gaze and saw that somehow Dan had escaped the playpen and crawled across the highway.
Now I’m not sure what those 1970’s playpens were made of, but clearly they were not serving their purpose. Oh and by the way, do you believe in guardian angels now?
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and remember to be thankful for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.