There are certain stores in the world you step into and get this feeling: if this place were swept away in a flood, the world really wouldn’t suffer. Grocery stores, beer stores, pharmacies, and the admirable Lee Valley Tools do not fall into this category; Babies”R”Us does.
Yet if you’ve ever done so much as humour the heretical thought that ‘maybe I have all I need’ it will quickly be shattered and replaced with a line of thinking more in tune with our society’s values, the moment you set foot in a Babies”R”Us. Of course, that is assuming you have a child and you’re of the mind that child-rearing is primarily a job not of care, love, or nurturing, but of minimizing the psychological trauma you inflict on the growing creature.
The very first natural trauma, of course, is the child growing up in a home that isn’t perfectly outfitted with the latest, greatest, and most organically-certified protection from the rough-edged world around them.
I know this is accurate because of the utter confusion a person will feel if they go into that consumption temple and do not have kids. It’s like stepping into a supply store for some arcane hobby such as marble polishing or artisanal pencil sharpening, and marveling at the strange contraptions these people spend their money on.
Of course, the big shift that happens between these confounded non-parents and their voraciously consumptive counterparts isn’t the presence of a young child; that’s only a pressure point which scores of junk-manufacturers have located and exploited like evil acupuncturists.
That pressure point is fear. How can my point above about the number of parents raising their young primarily on the basis of minimizing trauma be better illustrated than with the following product, a true modern snake oil?
I saw this and couldn’t believe my eyes. Well, I could believe my eyes. When you’re living in an insane world and see a thing like this it only serves as confirmation that you aren’t the crazy one, after all (which actually is confirmation that you’re the crazy one, after all).
Anyone raised by anything other than wolves knows that water is a filthy and terrible thing and if we’re not going to protect ourselves from its poisonous ravages, we certainly must protect our young. Thank heavens for Nursery Water. In this bottled gift from heaven we’re given distilled water with “minerals added for taste”, and molecular element #9, fluoride. What could be more natural for your young one than oxygen’s next door neighbour on the periodic table?
I can just imagine it: the well-meaning new parent haplessly stumbling across this liquid landmine and becomes paralyzed by the nagging feeling as he wanders through the store that he has been putting his newborn’s life in jeopardy each time the child drinks anything other than this elixir of life. The new parent can’t appropriately focus on swaddling blankets any longer, much less make a decision of which method of heating he’ll choose for a new bottle warmer. “What have I been thinking?!” the parent curses, making a hasty and passionate dash back to the Nursery Water section and filling a shopping cart with litre after litre of this innovation that makes the parent proud and grateful to live in such an advanced civilization.
As you may realize, Nursery Water – or sorry, Nursery® Water – is a stand-in for one of many such products that preys on a parent’s insecurities, and compels this worried person to buy a safe version of something that already exists in great abundance and more or less for free. Sure, if this parent is living in a piss-poor favela in the hills of Rio de Janeiro, I understand the need for water like this. But guess what: those Brazilian parents don’t have a hope in the world of affording something like this. The simple fact that this Nursery® Water exists in a place where people can afford to buy it makes it absurd.
What I’m about to write is beside the point, but I’ll briefly mention that this stuff isn’t even good for babies. The reason I don’t want to elaborate is that if I start questioning the product’s validity, the conmen at Nursery® have pulled me onto their turf. It must be dismissed with a quick boot to the pants. The water must go.
As I discovered with minimal research, feeding additional fluoride to a baby is not recommended. Some suggest that feeding fluoride to anybody isn’t recommended. The way I see it, even if Nursery® Water was good for a baby, it wouldn’t be good. At what point do you stop with these insane interventions? We’re not talking about feeding the child arsenic to build her tolerance. This is water! The kid is eventually going to need to live in a world free of Nursery® Waters and I can only imagine the abdominal trauma when she has her first sip of raw, unfiltered tap water at the age of 17 when in a fit of rebellion she decides to abandon the full-body armour, the antibacterial mask, the UV-protective eyeshades, the 23-hour-per-day mouthguard, and drink straight from the faucet like some raving lunatic. I can see the poor creature confined to the handrail-equipped, daily-sanitized toilet, like a Canadian having just unwittingly downed 6 litres of Mexican tap water.
And this gives me an idea – motivated by Michael Lewis’ quote above, and my view that [supervised] natural selection is the best long-term method of child rearing. I’m going to start a company called Tap™ Water. Yes, yes. It’s coming to me now. Bottles of water that are normal in every single way. The water has minerals. It isn’t distilled or purified. It will even contain whatever percentage of fluoride is in the local water supply. I’ll cater to the hippy crowd by making it locally sourced, and cater to the vegan crowd by making it free of animal cruelty. Oh, this will sell by the truckload. And underneath the image of the blue-eyed smiling baby will be our tagline: “Water from the world your child will be living in: the Real One.”