Jan. 7th, 2011

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I was chauffeuring two six-year-olds and a ten-year-old last night and we were discussing car accidents.

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So the oldest asked me if I'd ever been in one, and I said, "Oh, yeah, several. Most car accidents are minor," and I told them about one I was in when I was 10 or so. It was particularly memorable: my dad and I were in our van at a railroad crossing waiting for a train when a teenager came flying over the hill behind us and couldn't stop. He slammed into the rear corner of our van and then spun several times in the air, past my window and into a ditch. Scared the hell out of me. When asked if everyone was all right, I said, "Yes, but we were very lucky, too. You know, when I was a kid, people didn't wear seat belts like they do now. We didn't have boosters and car seats like you guys do."

I left out that I have distinct memories of riding both on the arm rest of our Buick and in the "back seat" of our MG.

They were scandalized. "What do you mean, you didn't have a booster seat? You didn't wear SEAT BELTS? Were people crazy in the olden days?" (Seriously, I did not make up that "olden days" line, and remain undecided about whether that amused me or lowered Alex in my esteem.)

I said, "Yep, hardly anyone wore seat belts and we didn't have things like bike helmets, either." (Here I also left out that any kid who wore a bike helmet in 1982 would obviously have been one of those kids who already a brain injury, or who was one of those weirdos who ate paste and had a mother who wouldn't let him play contact sports.)

"No bike helmets!" The six-year-olds cried. "But you could get a head injury! That's very dangerous!"

"We are indeed lucky to be alive," I said. "You guys are much safer and smarter than we were."

"No kidding," said Anya. "You guys were very irresponsible."

I figure next I'll show her the MG in my parents' garage and tell her to try to find the back seat.

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