Our House Is A Danger Zone
Home is where the
heart is, so they say. But for 20,000 Americans each year, home is
where the heart stops beating. According to a 2002 study, that's how
many Americans fall victim to fatal injuries in their own homes.
At this rate, it will take just 14,750 years for clumsiness and
carelessness to wipe out the entire population. Fortunately, al-
Qaeda is not aware of this statistic and remains fixated on ka-
booming things instead of creating mass clumsiness and carelessness.
But is it true that home is no longer a safe haven? Is home really a
foreboding lair of unpredictable dangers? Has home become the very
place where we are most likely to look evil square in the eyes and
say, in all sincerity, "AAAAARRRRGGHHH!"
My home is.
We have a smoke alarm in our home. Smoke alarms are supposed to be
the good guys, right? They warn us about impending suffocation by
Not ours. Our smoke alarm warns us of slightly warm soon-to-be-
toast. It lets out an ear-splitting screech. Yes, split-ear injuries
are becoming commonplace in our home.
And the toaster is an obvious accomplice. How else would the smoke
alarm know to attack just as the soon-to-be-toast warms up?
Diapers are becoming dangerous, too. Aside from the obvious hazards
of unsanitary suffocation when a toddler in a dirty diaper won't
stop squirming and wriggling, and makes her way across your face
toward the couch, there is the parent factor to consider.
Not long ago, I had been looking after the kids all morning. Having
just waged diaper-change on Little Sister for the third time that
morning, and believing I had won, I was ready for some fresh
challenges. When my wife chose that moment to walk into the room, I
thought her timing was particularly fortuitous.
Just how fortuitous, I was about to learn.
As I headed toward my office to get some work done, she sniffed the
new diaper. Making a funny face..."Pee-ew! She did this on your
watch. Here, you take her."
I hightailed it to my desk, "No way. I just changed her. You take
"She's all yours," she insisted.
"No more dirty diapers," I cried, ducking behind a chair. "Somebody
call 9-1-1. My wife is chasing me with a loaded baby!"
Having children at either end of toddlerhood opens up all kinds of
opportunities for injuries. It seems they each take their rolls very
seriously. Little Sister drops as much food on the floor as she can
get her fingers into. And Little Lady is only too happy to help her
little sister slip on that food later.
Of course, Little Sister is very polite, and she quickly
reciprocates by grabbing Little Lady to hold her balance. Have you
ever been grabbed by a 14-month old baby-toddler? She makes a pit
bull's bite feel tender as a gentle ocean breeze.
And she always knows just the right places to grab, so that any
family member can easily compete with the smoke alarm in volume,
tone and free-style split-ear injury creation.
Yes, the home has become an ominous booby trap, launching its attack
on families where they least expect it. When even the toaster and
the smoke alarm collaborate on home insurgencies, can all-out
warfare be far behind?
But I will have the final laugh. Just wait 'til I rewire the smoke
alarm. Who needs to warned about smoke, anyway? In this house we
need to be warned about dirty diapers. Hey, I feel a new invention
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
David Leonhardt publishes
The Happy Guy Humor Column
A Daily Dose of Happiness
The Happy Guy