“I Wish I Could Sit Next To You, Papa”

This morning I picked up my little granddaughter to watch her while the kids were at work. I bundled her into her state-approved car seat, and we hit the road to my place.

About halfway there, in her sweet little voice, she said, “I wish I could sit next to you, Papa.”

“I wish you could, too, Sweetie,” I replied. “It would make it so much easier to talk to you.”

“You know”, I continued, “when your Mommy was a little girl, she used to be able to sit right next to me so we could see each other and talk when we were driving around.”

“Yeah…”, she mused. “Why can’t I sit next to you?”

“Well… because there are laws – rules – that say you have to sit in back.”

After another long pause while she considered that, “I wish I could sit next to you, Papa.”

Yeah. Me, too, Kiddo. When your Mom was your age, her car seat was strapped into the front passenger seat right next to me. That way, when we talked, we could glance over at each other just like in every other normal conversation. Because seeing the other person when we talk to them is a very important part of human conversation; being able to see the non-verbal communication cues. A lot of the way we talk to each other is communicated through our body language. That’s one of the reasons people are more likely to miscommunicate over the phone or through written contact: no body language or facial expressions.

It’s why most important meetings are conducted face-to-face: it’s important to see as well as hear what the other person’s saying.

But instead, people who think they know better for us how we have to live our lives have taken away our choice on how you can ride in the car with me, so you have to sit in the back. I’m truly sorry about that. I often wonder what we adults are teaching you kids about how to relate to other people by sticking you back in the far reaches of the car away from us.

They say it’s so you’ll be safer when we’re driving down the road, but I have to wonder if they thought that out all the way. After all, part of our human nature is to look at someone we’re talking with. But instead of being able to just glance over to the seat next to me – which is just a natural act – now I have to try to glance all the way into the back where you’re sitting. How does that make you safer, if it might make an accident more likely to happen by making me do that?

And what happens if you suddenly scream? You’ve done that sometimes, haven’t you? Usually it’s because you got suddenly excited about something. But how can I tell if it’s just that normal response to something that excited you, or if something bad’s happened that I need to respond to immediately? There’s only one way to know: I have to look.

Want to hear something funny, little girl? When I was your age I used to sit right next to my mommy in the car. Want to hear something even funnier? Back in those days we didn’t even have seat belts, let alone kiddie car seats! Amazing, huh? To hear some people today, you’d think it’s a miracle that any of us even survived! But we did.

In just a few years you’ll be able to read this for yourself, and you’ll see the rest of the answer to that question you asked me today. I hope this makes some sense to you.

It sure doesn’t to me.

© Brian Baker 2012

66 comments on ““I Wish I Could Sit Next To You, Papa”

  1. captbogus@yahoo.com says:

    Yep. Now you’re getting into an area that totally whizzes me off.
    Those folks aren’t satisfied just suggesting to you what is safer. If you don’t take their suggestion, they push to make it a law you HAVE to do what they say. “For your own good.”
    I have used my seatbelt ever since my first car that had one but I still resent seat belt laws. I do not wear a helmet when riding a bike because
    that is my choice and I know it might be safer although the liberal argument
    falls short of logic.
    Just as you say it is more of a hazard forcing you to put your granddaughter in the back seat and your argument is good and shows the shortsightedness of the liberal do gooders. They get a flashbulb of an idea and never think it out but immediately start trying to make you abide.
    Just as they say the reason for forcing you to wear a helmet is so they won’t have to pay for your life support. Well, the falacy of this argument is that there are more helmet wearers on life support than non helmet wearers. I mean when the head meets the pavement something’s gotta give and it ain’t gonna be the pavement.
    For your own good and safety they want to ban all guns but haven’t figured out how to keep criminals from obtaining handguns or how the average 19 minute response time can protect you from a home invasion.
    Yessir, BR, You kinda hit a sore spot with me.
    I am effing sick of all the “for your own good” laws. I am sick of First Ladies telling me what’s for my own good.
    I’m tired of every damn person and organization and legal body that wants to tell me what to do and how to live for my own safety and good.

    You,re right

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks for that, Buck… and thanks for that MOST excellent comment.

      I couldn’t agree with you more, right down the line, to the last dotted “i” and crossed “t”.

  2. Gray Ghost (Mississippi) says:

    You sure have “hit the nail on the head”, Brian. The busy-body Leftist Liberals will not be satisfied until they control by law every aspect of everyone’s life (except their own). I used to think that the Liberals meant well but were just mistaken in their actions. I no longer think or believe this.

    In part (especially with the Liberal Elites) it is all a question of control. If you have enough laws on the books, no average person can keep up with them. Eventually you are going to break a law. And then the Liberal “rulers” can do what they want (either benevolence or punishment). The Liberal sheep have no say in all of this and are no more than followers of the Liberal Elites.

    I am sad that you and your grand-daughter could not sit next to each other. As a fellow grandfather, I know what your time with your grandchild means. Both of us are at the end-portion of our lives (not saying that either of us will kick-off in the next few minutes). But imparting to a grandchild your love and a little of your wisdom is important.

    I was lucky to know my grandparents. My father’s father taught me to play checkers and chess. He was also an electrical engineer, Class of 1911 at Mississippi State University (I was Class of 1973, also electrical engineering). Much of what I am today I got from him. And in a way, he taught me how to be a grandfather. In my opinion, that is one of the things that we teach our grandchildren; i.e., how to be grandparents to our great-great grandchildren.

    And any busy-body law passed by some two-bit Liberal politician that makes it harder for us to be a good grandparent is a stupid law.

    • BrianR says:

      Yeah, Gray; amen to that.

      Like you, I no longer ascribe benevolence to the actions of leftists; it IS all about control. It’s cynical, subversive, and intentional. The whole goal is to eliminate individualism and independance and replace it with dependance on government largesse and control.

      And also like you, I considered this entire event to be just plain sad… which is what prompted this essay. As you said, these laws are just plain stupid. They’re based on the presumption that some political hack hundreds or thousands of miles away cares more for my granddaughter than I, the guy who loves her, does.

      Stuck on stupid.

  3. gunnyginalaska says:

    Great essay. I remember much of the same and often wonder HOW did the human race survive 10,000 years without liberals to wipe their butts and mandate and regulate their lives. I hope that Americans have awakened to the control freaks liberals that are only 20% of the population!

    • BrianR says:

      Thanks, Guns.

      Maaann… let’s hope so! I hope when my munchkin’s old enough to read and understand what I wrote, she’s not wondering what the hell I’m blathering about.

      • gunnyginalaska says:

        Nah, she’ll know because by that time, we’ll have begun seriously rolling back the Left!

        LOVE that binky shot BTW! haha

      • BrianR says:

        Thanks, man. That’s my Little Binky Princess!

  4. Nee says:

    Yes, I remember the days, myself. However, as angry as it makes me to follow the rules, I can offer this…One of my parent’s friends had two kids riding in the back seat. Once straddled the hump (remember those?)and the other was standing.next to her. The dad stopped fast and one of the kids literally flew out the window, dying instantly. A seatbelet could have helped The other is that I have been hit from behind with three kids in car seats. Not a scratch on them. Replaced the car seats and the whol tailgate and back seat of car.
    I understand your point, and the anger at being told someone knows better than you. Given the way things are going, censorship and government intervention are widening, and that can never be good. Have you seen that the Media is now going to be hand picked and offered government computers, without internet? WTF is the outrage????I ask you?

    • BrianR says:

      Nee, that example is, of course, tragic. And it’s exactly the kind of event the nannies use to justify their laws. But here’s the thing: that happened in the pre-seat-belt days, which is why cars now have seat belts. But what’s the point of the laws?

      If a parent is non-caring, they’re going to ignore the law anyway, and that kid would still have been killed. If the seat belts are there, a caring parent’s going to use them whether or not the law requires it. But now the law requires the kid be in the back seat. Why? On the off-chance that an air bag deployment might hurt the kid. But funilly enough, you can disable the passenger-side airbag if your car even has one.

      The real issue here is that the nannies pass laws in their efforts to make everything risk-free, and that’s just simply impossible. I can raise all kinds of other possibilities. What about side impacts in the rear? The kid’s at GREATER risk. Now cars come with rear air bags, so how come the kid can’t be in the front, since the air bag risk is everywhere in the car? How big a deal is that air bag risk to begin with?

      See what I mean?

      This whole thing particularly chapped me during her first year, when she not only had to be in the back seat, but also had to be facing the rear of the car. She couldn’t see anybody! What does a 6-month-old think when she’s strapped into that position? That her parents abandon her when she gets in the car? Because she sure didn’t understand what was going on at that age.

      • Nee says:

        I see what you are saying…it’s the same argument I use for Obama care. The suggestion is made and people believe that if they have health care they won’t get sick. Or that if we have DUI laws no one will die at the hand of a drunk driver. It’s impossible to guarantee the uncertain and more rules just means more money for the government.

      • BrianR says:


  5. CW says:

    What a cutie!

    It’s funny (?) how we become so programmed to being told what to do.

    • BrianR says:

      I certainly won’t argue as to her cuteness factor! Thanks.

      Yeah… isn’t that funny? It’s EXACTLY what the elites are counting on.

  6. clyde says:

    Know what you’re saying. Had that same conversation with my lil’ cutie a year ago. It’ll be up to US to teach them the error of liberalism. Be tough here for me,since both the poor thing’s parents are a bit to the left.

    • BrianR says:

      My condolences to you, Clyde. How’d that happen?

      I managed to raise my little girl as a confirmed conservative, I’m glad to say, and I’m already starting in on the munchkin!

      • clyde says:

        One of the many hazards of the job. When one is away from home 300+ days a year,kinda tough to teach’em much. Couple that with them going to a ultra-lib college, you get the picture.

      • BrianR says:

        Yeah, p[\articularly the college thing.

  7. thedrpete says:

    BrianR, one of your best-ever. Amazing who it takes to cause us to have such eureka moments.

  8. AfterShock says:

    Well Brian, you know none of us old timers — according to statistics proffered by the progressive(commie) elites — should ever have survived long enough to have grandchildren. To this day I ignore “rules” that have no merit. That isn’t to say I didn’t buckle my kids in, but back seat vs. front is one I ignore, BTW, safety is MY responsibility, I drive accordingly — competently — and in 43 years behind the wheel privately and commercially I’ve seen every imaginable jack-ass’d driver and maneuver in traffic, yet I’ve never had an accident nor the opportunity to be saved by a seat belt or an air-bag. For whatever that’s worth.

    • BrianR says:

      And there you have it! Perfect: “… safety is MY responsibility…”.

      But NOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooooo…. noy according to the elitists! You can’t be TRUSTED!

  9. Mrs. AL says:

    You are blessed to have such a beautiful granddaughter, BrianR. And they do say and ask the most important things, eh? Straightforward and simple (not to be confused with immature).

    And now a questioin from someone with no children or grandchildren … why not put that car seat dealie in the front seat?

    • BrianR says:

      MrsAL, thank you for them kind words about my munchkin. Very much.

      I actually know the asnwer to your question. Should I answer it, or is this a test for the unchilded?

      • AfterShock says:

        Mrs Al’s right Brian, your granddaughter is SOOOOoooo Cute!. You’re a lucky fellow. I have five kids but no grand-kids — yet. But hey, my oldest son is 38 and my youngest son is 12, The middleman is 22 with two daughters close behind, so odds are I’m gonna have some G-kids sooner than later. That said, I’ve gotta live long enough to ‘splain the facts of liberty and happiness to ’em. That thought keeps me going.

      • BrianR says:

        Thanks, AShock! I sure agree; she’s gonna be a heartbreaker.

        Your oldest is 38? What’s he waiting for???? Tell him to get to work!

        The great thing about grandkids: all the fun, none of the responsibility. Like I tell the kids, “your job is to raise her; my job is to SPOIL her!”

        My daughter always rolls her eyes, and says I’m doing a GREAT job. That is a compliment, right?


      • Mrs. AL says:

        Actually, I would like an answer. I really don’t understand the rationale, but then again I don’t tote little ones arround.

      • BrianR says:

        Okay, MrsAL, here’s the answer.

        A bit over a decade ago, car builders started putting in passenger-side airbags. Then it was discovered that under some rare circumstances, deployment of those bags in an accident could cause injury or even death to a little kid in the front passenger seat in a kiidie-car-seat. Hence, LET’S MOVE IT TO THE BACK!

        Of course, they overlooked a lot of other obvious thoughts (or at least obvious to me): What about the issues I raised in this essay? Were the kids actually made safer, or was the “danger” merely transferred to another set of results under DIFFERENT accident conditions? What about other peripheral consequences? How many lives are we actually “saving”? Was that enough to justify reworking our entire cultural meme? On and on and on.

        There may be an essay in THERE, too. But anyway, that’s your answer.

  10. Mrs. AL says:

    So in other words, you don’t have an option but put this sweeties car seat in the back because some pine cone in D.C. figured he/she/it knows better than you where to put the darned thing. Right? It’s also my understanding that the passenger air bags can’t be “disarmed,” is that correct? What a crock of whoha.

    • BrianR says:

      Oh, yeah… I forgot to mention that. The passenger-side airbags CAN be disarmed!

      A double crock of whoha.

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  14. Jim says:

    Next you’re going to want to chose what food you can eat you, malcontent!

  15. defendusa says:

    Hey Brian,
    Thought you might enjoy this link. An interesting read.

    The take away is priceless.
    “I don’t think that my friends at Yale actually believe any of these positions. (They hold many false beliefs, but they are not insane.) Nor can they seriously believe that, but for their extravagant positions, we would hand over the country to Opus Dei, bind our wives’ and daughters’ feet, allow George Soros or David Koch to buy their very own Congressmen, or for that matter toss ailing widows and orphans into the streets. The real fear is that the Constitution might pose some limit to progressivism’s anything-goes imagination.”

    “One could argue that the Constitution was enacted for precisely that purpose.”


    • BrianR says:

      Outstanding link! Thanks for that; absolutely fascinating reading.

      I don’t think it’s an “ahem”. “Amen” seems more appropriate.

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  18. thedrpete says:

    I, BrianR, will drive starting Friday to New Orleans, then after a few days to McAllen, Texas way down on the Mexican border to visit with two granddaughters, one of whom I’ve never met. After a couple of hours at a hotel pool, our visit will end, and the next morning I’ll deadhead to Lafayette, Louisiana for another few days (officiating track and field), then back home to here in East Tennessee. Looking forward big time to those couple of hours. I’m certain you can relate.

    • BrianR says:

      Your FIRST time meeting her?

      You bet I can relate. Have fun (I’m sure you will). And I’m looking forward to your blog essay on THAT event. That’ll be even better than your current one about your trip to NY (which I really liked, BTW. Great pics!).

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  23. jevica says:


    First car seats face one way then “well we were wrong” they have to face backward. There are many things Nanny gov’t tells us then some time later “oops were wrong” we knew that from the start.

    BTW Vegas was great had a good time with the wife and weather was better then NYC.

    Now about the “Surprise: California’s budget deficit much higher than expected at $16 billion” I guess the voters are real glad they voted for “Moonbeam”

    This from the AP “California’s budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion — much larger than had been predicted just months ago — and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/gov-jerry-brown-says-california-facing-higher-than-expected-16-billion-budget-shortfall/2012/05/12/gIQA9ptzKU_story.html

    Are they still going to build the bullet train, no one wants?

    Grand daughter looks beautiful, how old is she now? Your post makes us old folks wonder how we managed to make it this long without the government intervention?

    Looks like TH blogs are really going down hill [without you].

    Anything new coming up?

    • BrianR says:

      Hey, Jev! Welcome back.

      Glad to hear Vegas lived up to your expectations. I was there on business for a day a couple of weeks ago and thought about you, especially when I saw the sign in the airport advertising the gun range with the machine guns. Did you get by there yet?

      Yeah, good ole Moonbeam. What a jackass. We’re swirling the drain, yet we still have money to build that stupid bullet train, and subsidize illegal aliens with the state DREAM Act he signed into law. Yet he wants a tax increase! What a moron.

      I’d already decided that that’s the topic of my next essay, in the works. It’s just too plump to pass up.

      Thanks for the kind words about my munchkin. She’s 2 1/2 now. She is simply amazing, I gotta tell you.

      As to the TH blogs: thanks again. What can anyone say about them? TH doesn’t care about them, and don’t even link them from their home page anymore. If you want to visit a blog, you’d darned well better know where it is, or you’ll never find it.

      • BrianR says:

        Jev, funny what you wrote about the TH site. Look how traffic’s thinned down at mine over the last year:


  24. clyde says:

    Man,I knew TH was in the dumper,but not quite this bad. Glad you came over here. Sent Romney a check for $500,and a cc to attackwatch.org,trying to get on Obama’s shitlist. Should already be there,but doesn’t hurt to make SURE.

    • BrianR says:

      Clyde, good to see ya, buddy!

      Can you believe that TH “activity” drop? I’m glad I’m here, too. Trust me.

      Kudos on the check to Mitt. I’m going to do it, too… though the idea of me, a retired guy living on a fixed income, sending money to HIM, one of those nasty “one-percenters!”, is kinda ironic. But you make your statements where you find them, I guess.

      I self-reported my blogs on Bar Ears’s attackwatch back when he started it. They must be pretty overworked by now, checking out all us “subversives”. Especially those of us who are “Christian gun owners”, and especially the veterans. I imagine they have a lot to look at over there. Well, that’s good. Wouldn’t want them bored and just sitting around. After all, idle minds are the devil’s playground, or something like that.

      • clyde says:

        I’m on a fixed income too. That will be worth ZERO if the BECS gets 4 more years. Can’t stand the greasy cretin,but unlike the sonofabitch we currently have,who listens to NO ONE but Soros,I think Mitt CAN be molded. We shall see.

      • BrianR says:

        Agreed. Fully.

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