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Daddy, I ate the battery! The insanity of the PC brigade

I don’t know about you, but if I bought my kids motorcycles or quads I’d be very, very surprised, not to mention annoyed, if the little bastards ate them. I owned about three bicycles before I saved enough dosh to buy my own 50cc buzz-bike when I was 16, yet I and millions of other kids around the world managed to complete our schooling with absolutely no idea what a two-wheeler or quad of any description tasted like.

Those brain-dead do-gooder safety Nazis in the US, led by Hillary Clinton and her ilk, have nevertheless banned sales of all quads or motorcycle aimed at youngsters under the age of 12. Why? Because some interfering heap of sanctimonious camel snot decided that something had to be done to prevent the sale of toys with a higher than legislated overall lead content to American children — they reckoned these could cause problems if the kids sucked on them for long enough. Think small Chinese toys meant for small kids, coated with lead paint and imported through the back door. Oh, and by the way, think motorcycles and quads.

Unfortunately for anybody trying to retail bikes or quads in the US, virtually all of these machines, no matter where they’re built, contain parts that push their Pb factor through the ceiling. Tyre valve stems, batteries, battery terminals — all of these thoroughly indigestible components contain enough lead to make them unacceptable to the bleeding heart brigade, if not the hapless children they’re trying to protect. The kids, of course, aren’t dumb enough to try eat a quad or even its battery, but those rabidly leftist cretins who devote their lives to ensuring that we all live forever routinely work on the assumption that everybody except them and their loony friends is brain dead.

I bought a new computer this week, and it came with a big sticker on the keyboard reading “IMPORTANT NOTICE! For comfortable and safe use read Safety and Comfort Guide”. It then directs me to the supplier’s website for tips on how to avoid sitting in a position from which I might conceivably wish to sue Hewlett-Packard should I one day wake up with a sore back. “This guide describes proper workstation setup, posture, and health and work habits for computer users,” it oozes at me. Never mind Jaws and Nightmare on Elm Street! We’re dealing with Killer Komputer Keyboards here!

I recently renewed my cellphone contract and the first two pages of my new phone’s user manual are devoted to safety. “Read these simple guidelines. Not following them may be dangerous or illegal. Read the complete user guide for further information,” it adjures me. Do you perhaps know of anybody who’s been savaged by a Samsung, mauled by a Motorola or neutered by a Nokia in the last year or so? I don’t.

Then we have the recent sorry saga of Oxford University’s famous Bodleian library, where the ever-vigilant Health and Safety Nazis suddenly decided that the ladders that have granted students access to books on the upper shelves for centuries should be permanently removed in case somebody fell off and hurt themselves. Think about it — would you not hope that a person incapable of climbing a library ladder, operating a computer keyboard or talking on a cell phone without injury would be removed from the system before he attained a qualification allowing him to design your next iron lung or perform your liver transplant? Or, being selfish, even install your wife’s new boob implants? The Oxford Dons are in turn grumpy, refusing to move the books southwards from their traditional location, so there’s now a stalemate.

Extreme stupidity isn’t really a sin in my book, but when it’s coupled with that bloody-minded arrogance that so often steam-rolls its way across common sense while the politically correct cretin making all the unwelcome noise is on an unsolicited mission to save the world, it becomes a hanging offence as far as I’m concerned. First prize for 2009 (so far) goes to the security imbeciles at Heathrow Airport who apprehended poor Carolyn Burgess when she placed Robert B Parker’s detective novel, A Triple Shot of Spenser, in the security tray alongside her handbag before boarding her flight to Japan. One bonehead at a time is enough for most people to have to deal with at a time, but the 58-year-old bank employee was confronted by no fewer than three jibbering security dolts, who after a long debate decreed that she could take her book on the aircraft as long as it stayed out of sight in her handbag all the way to Tokyo. What was the problem? They felt — such nitwits always “feel” rather than “think” — that the picture of the pistol on the paperback’s front cover might be distressing to other passengers. Instead of taking Larry, Moe and Curly outside for culling the minute the story hit the press, their employers chose to defend them. “In certain circumstances, a passenger carrying an item which features an image or slogan that could be perceived as aggressive may be asked to cover it up or remove it. Security officers are advised to use common sense when making these requests,” said a British Aviation Authority spokesman.

So here we go. It’s only a matter of time before somebody at our own Airports Company gets wind of this, and our choice of in-flight reading matter becomes restricted. We won’t be able to take any South African newspapers on board, of course, because the front page of any of our daily rags contains much, much more frightening material than anything a crime novelist could possibly think up.


  • Gavin Foster

    Durban photojournalist Gavin Foster writes mainly for magazines. His articles and photographs have appeared in hundreds of South African, American and British publications, and he's also instigated and researched stories for Carte Blanche. Winner of the Magazine Publishers Association of South Africa PICA Profile Writer of the Year Award in 2008. South African Guild of Motoring Journalists Motorcycle Journalist of the Year (Magazines) 2015/16/17. South African Guild of Motoring Journalists Motorcycle Journalist of the Year (Overall) 2015/16. South African Guild of Motoring Journalists Motorsport Journalist of the Year (Magazines) 2017 - Runner-Up 2015/16.