I watched my son guide his Camaro down city streets at speeds in excess of the posted limit. Backwards. In fact, his driving in reverse got him up near one hundred miles an hour at one point, and as he cackled with glee, I had to leave the room. I was pleased to know that his expertise was still limited to joysticks and video games, but I wondered what we all might be in for in just four more years. This was a kid who, upon finding his stroller unattended in his first year, was wont to turn the thing over and check out the chassis.
I know that I am not the only father who has had to stand for hours at a construction site, watching big trucks with their small children. It was only recently that we were able to let go of our collection of "Monster Machine" videos. Maybe that's why a pair of recent news items never struck me as particularly odd.
Like the one about three-year-old Pipi Quinlan, a little New Zealand girl who used her mother's Internet access to purchase an earthmover. Not a toy. Twenty thousand dollars of real-life heavy equipment. A phone call to the seller "straightened things out." Translation: No big digger, and a heartbroken Pipi. Mom might check out Bob The Builder before the Barbie aisle on the next trip to the Kiwi equivalent of Toys R Us.
Then there's the six-year-old from North Platte, Nebraska who grabbed the wheel after his dad passed out in the family pickup. Tustin Mains jumped from the back seat and into his dad's lap to steer the truck for several blocks until police officers were able to catch up and stop it. Tustin says he was happy when he saw the officer reach in the window and pop the transmission into park. Obviously, Tustin hasn't spent enough hours playing "Need For Speed." My son would probably still be driving. Fast. Backwards.