Thursday, March 08, 2007


Ahab had the whale. Javert had Valjean. I have the Bugaboo.

Let me explain. I have not really blogged much about the upcoming arrival in our house, for the mere reason I want to keep my family out of this, kind of like Dick Cheney keeps his lesbian daughter out of the news unless it suits him politically.

But the welling up of frustration and mounting bills has forced me to expound angrily on what I suspected but did not fully admit to myself: even before my child breathes his first gulps of air, I have spent tons of money, energy, and emotional capital on him.

I am fully convinced that weddings and babies are the biggest corporate rip off ever foisted upon the middle class. A wedding preys upon ones fears that a one-day event will not be perfect in the eyes of the guests; an impending birth preys upon the fears that a rest-of-your-life event cannot be considered successful unless you have the Biggest, Most Expensive Crap for Your Child. Otherwise, one will be the worst of all possible things, worst than being a serial philanderer or heroin addict or someone who hates Uma Thurman: you will be a BAD PARENT.

If you have ever endured this nesting-buying marathon before, you will know that most of the baby crap is, well, overpriced, low-quality crap. And when you want to spend some money to really get something nice for your kid, it turns out to be a joke.

To wit, Wife and I spent a humiliating afternoon trying to find PC, environmentally OK diapers that cost less than first quarter revenues at Google. Fuggetaboutit. You can get Huggies and save some dough, or get bleach-free, gel-free, biodegradable diapers that will seriously impede your ability to pay for food and shelter.

We’ve chosen a crib, bassinet, rug, diaper changing station, bottles, and car seat with the utmost care. The kid has a billion hand-me-downs, enough to clothe him for his first year. Most of the stuff we’ve bought, we’ve done the research and gotten off (relatively) cheap.

Then comes the matter of strollers.

I have warned our great nation about the plague known as Thomas the Tank Engine, and have watched my spleen explode as I rail against adults appropriating children’s holidays. Now, I come to something just as nefarious. Something called The Bugaboo. And if you bought one, I don’t despise you, but I wonder just what the hell were you thinking.

A Bugaboo is a nifty, lightweight stroller that is truly an impressive feat of engineering. It has a nice, smooth ride, and adjust to many different stroller positions. It looks swell and was featured on “Sex and the City.” It's the stroller pictured above, courtesy of a company out of Amsterdam.

And it only costs $800.

Conspicuous consumption is bad enough, but when you use a baby for it, I start to question your fitness as a parent. I’m sure that someone reading this has a Bugaboo, I’m sure a friend of family member has a Bugaboo, and I’m sure you're thinking, don’t be a pompous ass.

(But being a pompous ass is one of the benefits of blogging).

In that spirit, I am trying to figure out a way to halt sales of the Bugaboo. I will claim it’s a safety hazard (not true), that it retards childhood development (not true), that Bugaboo owners are more likely to forget their children’s birthdays, vaccinations, and deadlines for getting their brat into their first-grade SAT cramming class (perhaps true).

If you want to spend some bux on a nice stroller, fine. Make it a $350 stroller, put the rest in your child’s college fund (and believe me, every Bugaboo owner has a college fund) or give it to charity. Stop making your child a fashion accessory. Set a good example. Be a good parent.

Whew. Glad that’s out of my system. Next time: Bookfraud rails against someone at work.