“Maclaren’s “umbrella fold” pushchairs are under scrutiny after the company recalled the buggies in the US and announced it was offering owners free hinge covers to protect little fingers from being caught in the hinges…”
—www.guardian.co.uk, November 10, 2009
If you were to see my mouth right now, you’d say, “Hey Walter Whiffet, you’re either very shocked or sucking on a large invisible courgette. Well I’m not sucking on a large courgette, a small marrow, or even pretending to suck on a vegetable, okay. I’m, like, REALLY shocked. For the record, I’m also not sucking on an invisible bratwurst, but not because I’m meat phobic—just super shocked. You see, I’ve just heard about Maclaren’s umbrella-fold pushchair. You won’t believe this, but it turns out that if you let your kid wedge his tiny fingers in the large metal hinge and then collapse the pushchair onto your kid’s hand, the large metal hinge may actually hurt your kid. That’s right; you did read that correctly: crushing your kid’s delicate fingers in a large metal chopping device tends to hurt. Why didn’t Maclaren point out this non-obvious fact sooner?
What’s that Maclaren? You thought that your average citizen would realise that a small hand + a heavy-duty crushing device = hospital visit? Yeah right! We can’t all be science geeks like that Hawking fella, who talks with an electronic voice and sits in his adult pushchair all day—probably because thinking about complex science stuff makes him “leg lazy.” Oh, and to clarify, I’m also not sucking on an invisible giant’s thumb to help him sleep. Like I said, I’m just shocked, and I’m definitely not giant-thumb phobic.
Let’s be realistic: when you’re collapsing a pushchair, who’s got the time to look both left AND right to check whether little Jimmy’s fingers are trapped? Sure, maybe a time-machine guy or someone who‘s always late for appointments, but they’re about it. Come on—next you’ll be telling us that when we’re driving we should be paying attention 100% of the time. I mean, get real. Seriously. Like, get out of here. And by the way, don’t think that I do have a giant-thumb phobia and was trying to cover it up by emphasising that I don’t. I do hope I’ve made that clear. I’m shocked; that’s all.
When you first learn that crushing your kid’s fingers may actually hurt, your first reaction is “Crushing Denial.” You may find yourself saying things such as, “But I thought that little Jimmy was a walnut.” How arrogant of Maclaren to think that we’re smart enough to distinguish between a human being and fruit with an edible kernel. Talk about totally whacked.
Next comes “Denial Recognition,” often accompanied by a deep hatred of walnuts, or anything that reminds you of a walnut. During this stage stay away from anyone called Mr. Walnut, pygmies who keep getting accidentally sat on and then shout, “Ooh, big man, you’re crushing me like a walnut,” and any accountant whose head is trapped in a giant vice. Your hatred may also spill over to anything that starts off sounding sort of like walnut, such as someone saying, “Hey, pass me that Walrus” or “Let’s all go to Wal-Mart.” Don’t be surprised if you get the urge to collapse a pushchair on a Wal-Mart employee—I mean, that’s normal anyway. And let’s just assume, for argument’s sake, that the employee is twenty-foot tall and has a disgusting giant thumb.
Be prepared for “Denial Denial,” later followed by “Denial-Denial Denial,” and then “Denial-To-The-Power-Of-Six Denial.” You’ll probably find that all that denial is causing your head to hurt, although this may be because it’s repeatedly being hit by an angry pigmy. If so, stop sitting on him. Also be aware that your house probably stinks of walrus.
Finally you’ll experience “Crushing Acceptance”— that is, provided you don’t get stuck in a phase called “Walrus-Stench Denial.” Once you‘ve conquered stench denial, there are many ways to forget about the stench, and only some of them involve a large mallet and a repulsive giant thumb. Okay, most of them do. And just assume that by “most” I mean “all.” Now if that’s not shocking then I don’t know what is.
(NOTE: It turns out that I was wrong. What I thought was shock was, indeed, a large courgette stuffed in my mouth. Ignore everything I said. Misinterpreted shock is a symptom of Giant-Thumb-Phobia Denial.)