Friday 02 Dec 2016

A Parrot on a Leash
Jennifer Flaten

Here I am reporting for duty from my station in the icy hinterlands. I am hoping to stave off hypothermia by typing. As such, I am typing with the laptop balanced precariously on my lap.

Yes, I am aware that recent reports show that I run the risk of burning myself from prolonged exposure to the laptop, but it is so damn cold here I am willing to take that chance.

As you know, I have many things in my home, including unexplained contraptions, laundry shoots that become inexplicable clogged and a driveway that is so heaved it looks as if I have tectonic plates in my driveway, but what I donít have is a carbon monoxide detector.

Once upon a time, I did have one. I remember it clearly; it was that special time right after I had my first child. I clearly remember that wonderful moment when my parents, now grandparents, bestowed upon me all manner of safety equipment.

Never mind that prior to the arrival of said grand children they never ever gave a fig about the overall safety of my home.

Nope they didnít care one whit about my inability to detect carbon monoxide or put out fires, which is something I donít have to do that often.

Yet, the arrival of the grandkids somehow caused my parents to swing into super protective mode. I received socket covers, faucet covers shaped like rubber ducks, corner bumpers and a carbon monoxide detector. 

¬†I drew the line at wrapping the kids in bubble wrap, much to my motherís dismay.

 Anyway, the carbon monoxide detector disappeared on one of our moves. Besides, who needs a carbon monoxide detector when you live in an electric house? Ah yes, clean efficient electricity, it would never turn on you or so the propaganda in my electric company cookbook says.

 Imagine my surprise when a recent newscast declared a law requiring carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home would go into effect.

¬†What, I thought? I donít remember anyone campaigning on a platform of carbon monoxide detectors for all.

 Now, I am not against safety items, lord knows I occasionally need a fire extinguisher, as I mentioned before not as often as you would think, but still, and I have a several smoke detectors.

¬†Knowing how things work in this house, I made sure to check that the damn smoke detectors worked. By the way, the smoke detectors arenít battery operatedÖnope they run on electricity (surprise) because a fire would never break out when the power is out.¬†

 My problem is the so-called law, how exactly is it going to be enforced? Are goon squads going to go house to house looking for carbon monoxide detectors?

¬†So what is the punishment if you donít have one? A fine? A ticket? A public flogging?

¬†Nothing, it turns out, is at stake. Thatís right nothing. Sigh. Why bother enacting a law that has no consequences? Why go through all the bother. Why not just write a strong recommendation or something.

¬†This reminds me of all those funny old laws that are on the books. You never know you canít walk your parrot on a leash until you do and you get a ticket for $50. At least those laws come with a fine...not that I speak from experience or anything.¬†

¬†Tomorrow, I brave the cold and get a carbon monoxide detector and plug it in to my wall, wouldnít want to get a stern talking to or anything.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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