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COMMUNITY VOICE

How many seniors does it take to put a 4-year-old into his car seat?

Monday, September 23, 2013 - 12:01 am

Do you remember the “moron” jokes we used to tell when we were in grade school, before they became politically incorrect?

They always started with “How many morons does it take to…” Slowly, that morphed into “How many Polacks does it take to…” as in “How many Polacks does it take to change a light bulb in the ceiling?” The answer was, of course, “Two. One to hold the bulb and one to turn the chair.”

That became “How many blondes does it take to…” and throughout these changes through the years, we just hung in there, making fun of all these subgroups.

We were helped along a little with our expression of prejudices by Archie Bunker, who blurted out on television in front of God and the whole world his thoughts about Hebes and Kikes and Chinks.

We all gasped, but we also laughed along with Archie every Saturday as the whole family gathered in front of the black-and-white television set while the vertical hold bounced and flipped.

Just yesterday, I created my own subgroup of inadequacies. My husband and I spent the afternoon with my niece's 4-year-old son, and the question became, “How many seniors does it take to put a little boy in his car seat?”

Of course, the children know more about car seats than we do, and they jump in, fasten themselves in, assure us they are safe, and away we go. But as George and I struggled to fasten a few loose ends into the car seat, my admiration for Prince William grew by leaps and bounds.

Did you witness, along with the rest of the world, how the young prince gallantly took the car seat from his adorable wife (who looked like she had just been to a spa rather than through the rigors of childbirth), walked around the car and jauntily put his new baby into the contraption in the back seat of his car that keeps the car seat in, snapped it and happily drove away, like he was his own chauffeur?

Now my guess is that secretly somewhere in the bowels of the palace, he had rehearsed and rehearsed that scene. Walk around the car, open the door and see this thing here? That is what you snap the car seat into. Yes, that thing. No, William, try it again. Open the door first and then snap it in. Well, just try one more time, and this time watch your language because the television cameras will be on you.

Yes, we know the Queen Mum never had to do this nor your own father, but just try once more. We promise you this one act alone will tide you over until your coronation. History books will talk about it for years. OK now, one more time. Oh, and smile, yes, then get in the front seat, put the key in, oh don't forget to close the door. Well, you get the idea.

So, there we were yesterday, two seniors with one 4-year-old and one car seat, which had been installed by his mother that morning. He had already informed us that he likes to call his mother “Sweetie Pants” because she calls him “Sweetie Pie” and our car smelled like a traveling McDonald's due to the leftover Happy Meal in the car. We had already sung, full voice at his request, the Johnny Appleseed Table Prayer and then complained to our cashier because we had received a “girls” toy rather than a “boys” toy (no gender identity issue here).

When it came time to take him home, and George and I were struggling side-by-side to hook this thing into that thing to secure the last two things that were twisted in that thing-a-ma-jig and elbowing each other, I thought, “How many seniors does it take to put one 4-year-old into a car seat?

I know firsthand that it takes only one 7-year-old to teach us seniors about the newest iPhone. If I ask this kid to show me how to download iTunes into my iPad, I bet he can do it.

I am positive that children are now born with a chip in their brain that contains all information about technology, past, present and future.

And thus I created my own subgroup: seniors who can hardly keep up with how swiftly the world is now spinning. It's OK. You can make fun of us. We make fun of ourselves. And I do now know the answer to how many seniors it takes to put a 4-year-old in his car seat: Two… with the help of his mother and the 4-year-old.

Nancy Carlson Dodd is a resident of Fort Wayne.