Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Patently Joyless

Yes, I've been back at the patent office again. It is a sickness, I know. Just the same, it is a treasure trove of great ideas. For sneering judgemental blog posts by yours truly, mostly. And to add to the already psychotic excitement of a patent search, I scooped a patent that was issued today. Did you catch that? TODAY! It is a proud and indescribable thing, kind of like the day you learned to ride a bike.

Remember the first time you successfully rode a bike? Odds are you were thrilled by the feeling of accelerating away from Mom or Dad or whoever, finally able to propel yourself into a brave and exciting new world. I remember my brothers and sisters "teaching" me to ride... it did not involve training wheels or anything. They would push me along on a bike a little too big for me, get me pedaling, give me a good shove and see how far I got before I crashed, which I did quite a lot. I was fond of heading for somebody's lawn as soon as I felt too wobbly, so most of the time I just wiped out on the grass. Helmet? Nah. Quiet street with no cars? Yah. I consider the first time I made it to the end of the short block and successfully turned around to make my way back without crashing the day I learned to ride a bike. I was proud. I was relieved. I was elated. I felt like this:

I'm a sucker for laughing babies, but I used the above clip because I couldn't find any video of really happy kids on bikes. I wonder why? I may have found a clue... in today's climate of fretful and fearful parenting, letting a kid even get out of reach is a frightening loss of protective control. So, rather than allowing a child to feel in any way capable or free or, or God help us, unsupervised, somebody figured out how to suck all of the joy out of learning to ride a bike.

click image to enlarge

I don't know why they didn't picture a modern kid's bike. I guess patent diagrams are not the right setting for levity or youthfulness, and neither is learning to ride a bike.

Go Johnny, go! Ooh, Johnny, you're doing it! Well, wait, don't try to go fast! Hang on, you're more than 30' away from me! What, do you expect me to run or something? You ungrateful little risk-taking lunatic! You could have been hurt! There's got to be a better way... ahah! (Insert light bulb here)

I'm all for protecting children from real dangers. I would suggest teaching your kid to ride a bike someplace safe that allows them to actually get away from you a little bit. My guess is that if you're the type to put a leash on a bicycle, they might really like that.

Keep It Under Control until next time,



Steve A said...

Just don't let my wife find out about this thing!

RANTWICK said...

Steve - Hmmm. I hadn't considered the grown up applications. You had better be nice to me.

Anonymous said...

I would have loved to have had that device on a bike! When I was growing up, the rope that you tied to your friend's bike to pull you on a skateboard would often get caught up in the wheels when the skateboard went faster than the bike. A rope tied to this sucker would allow for a shorter rope!

RANTWICK said...

Chris - That's the spirit!

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