Friday, February 10, 2012

Art Attack

Scientists would have us believe that there is a vast ring of debris, an asteroid belt they call it, somewhere a few miles beyond Mars. Well, there is a vast ring of debris floating around out there, but it’s not chucks of rock and ice. It’s made of countless pictures created by children to be hung their parents’ refrigerators.

You see, toddlers create pictures at an astounding rate. (Paradoxically, artists who wish to be paid for a living struggle to produce a decent drawing once a month.) It doesn’t matter if you have a dorm room mini-fridge or a walk-in freezer; a single toddler can fill every square inch of surface with a vast array of shapes, lines, and colors that only he can interpret.

What would look to the average adult like a series of crooked purple lines inside a blue oval is, to its creator, Noah’s ark. And even more amazingly, a child who can’t remember where he put his brother’s left sock five minutes ago can remember each and every picture he has drawn, and will notice if one is missing.

I discovered this when I made room for a fresh batch of drawings by removing some old pictures and placing them in the garbage. I may as well have thrown away my son’s favorite blanket, stuffed animal, and shirt for the look he gave me when he saw his artwork in the garbage.

Of course, the spaghetti-sauce-stained picture had to be prominently displayed once again. This led me to my grand aforementioned conspiracy theory. What have parents done with all these pictures since crayons became widely available?

That’s when it dawned on me: The space program. Does anyone really care if Jupiter’s seventh moon has ice on its poles? Of course not. All those missions succeeded in one thing: dumping reams of children’s drawings beyond the prying eyes of curious toddlers. Soon, these orbiting illustrations will fill the outer reaches of our solar system. And we wonder why Pluto took off.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

Miss America Meets Diaper Changing

I think there should be diaper changing competitions. If we can turn on the TV and watch a competition where men pull train cars attached to their waists by chains, why can’t we watch a contest where men race against time, odor, and other men to change diapers?

I know, people who like daytime talk shows and don't eat hot dogs would say this could make a spectacle out of what should be a caring interaction. But that road’s already been traveled; just try watching a beauty pageant where a teenage girl tries to explain how her platform of adopting animals will create world peace. In a bathing suit. (On the other hand, dressing animals in bathing suits might help with world peace. People would spend more time looking at Siamese cats in bikinis on YouTube instead of blowing things up.)

I would have no interest in participating in such a contest—I can never keep my child still long enough for an effective diaper change, and I almost never get those velcro straps facing the right way the first time. But it would be interesting to learn some new techniques, plus the prizes would be unique:

Anouncer: Congratulations, you’ve won our first annual diaper changing contest! Your prize is a year’s supply of butt paste!
Diaper Changing Champion: Uh, I was actually looking for the train-pulling competition. 

Yes, this could bring a new awareness to the challenges of parenting, all while providing some entertainment. And there's already a precedent for it. Just think of all the shows where people have to get rid of crap as quickly as possible for our entertainment, like American Idol or C-SPAN.