Brief remarks on human frailty

This is something you never want to read

Mr. YukA Florida man is accused of child abuse for allegedly putting bleach in his baby’s bottle.

But he says he simply made a stupid but innocent decision based on some bad parenting advice ….

…. From the county jail, the first time father, said he thought he was helping his sick daughter – who’s suffered from breathing problems since birth.

“I was told by another friend of mine that giving baby a top of bleach, just the top of it would help her breathe a little better,” Carron said.

Instead, she threw up and her panicked parents called 911.

Carron and his family insist it wasn’t intentional.

“It wasn’t a smart thing to do but Carron doesn’t know, this is his first baby,” said Chianti Washington, Carron’s sister.

“It was a dumb decision on me. I heard someone else did it so I wanted to try to help her,” Carron said.

—but I did, so now I’m passing it along, because the only way to get rid of a mindworm is to communicate the parasite to someone else. Dilution is the only known cure. (And no, it isn’t tremendously effective.)

Allow me, please, the luxury of a rant:

Dear Mr. Washington:

Let me get this straight: You were told by a “friend” that a capful of bleach keeps the doctor away? Who is this friend? Go ahead, name names. Hang your “friend” out in the cold, arid wind.

And allow me, please, to remind you of a new-fangled device called the internet, which I hear is some kind of series of tubes. You can use the internet to find all sorts of information, from health advice regarding infant respiratory problems to the safety of giving a two month-old baby a capful of bleach. It’s a wonderful thingamabob that can be accessed from all sorts of whatchamahoozits, including telephones. And I hear there is a watch coming soon, though I don’t know where the tubes will fit.

It does occur to me, however, that not everyone can find the internet, and many who do cannot understand how it works, and thus are incapable of using it to any useful effect. In that case, there are these primitive devices called books, which are usually made out of paper and most often contain words, and sometimes pictures, that communicate very helpful information.

For various reasons, though, some people find books ineffective. For one thing, you have to buy them. Well, not exactly; there are place called libraries where you can borrow books until you’re done reading them. But I also hear that as many as fifteen percent of American adults are illiterate, which means they can’t read. If you are among these, then I suppose this little rant is wasted.

Still, though, just in case you’re not one of the illiterate adults in our society, I would like to remind you of one more convenient tool at your disposal: If you have no internet access or cannot use it, and if books are simply unavailable to you or your community, there is a wonderful thing called other people, though I’m aware you’re already familiar with the concept. But here’s the thing about other people—they are no more reliable, generally speaking, than the internet or a badly-written book. So one thing that works really well, whether you’re asking the internet, a book, or another person, is called a second opinion.

After all, my parents used to tell me that they would stomp on my toe, and then the finger I just pinched in the door wouldn’t hurt. It was a joke, though. Let me make that clear. Because my point is that if your “friend” told you that bludgeoning your baby with a bowling trophy would stop her from showing distress about her respiratory troubles, would you believe him? Or would you stop to check in with someone else? Your wife or other family? Maybe the neighbor? I don’t know, maybe the homeless guy begging for change behind the 7-Eleven?

Because, well …. What the hell were you thinking?! And no, don’t give us that bit about what your “friend” said. Did it not occur to you that there was something suspect about the advice? There are warning labels on bleach containers. Did you not … oh, right … illiteracy. Fifteen percent. Okay, but still ….

What were you thinking, man? I … I … I recognize this is your first child, and it’s true, none of us know what we’re doing when we dive into the parenthood gig, but come on.



It never occurred to you that maybe, just maybe, you should double-check the advice you got from your “friend”?

My best wishes to you and your family; until demonstrated otherwise, the rest of us in society are left to accept that you really are that stupid. So, please, when all of this is over, and your daughter is recovered and your legal woes resolved, please, please, please stop and think twice—even thrice—and then ask someone else when you get that kind of advice. Boiling water kills germs, too, but would you really think, “Okay,” and try to pour it down her throat? Come on, man. People’s ignorance often boggles the minds of others, but the degree of stupidity you’re claiming is very nearly as scary as the suggestion that you’re just lying in order to cover some psychotic malice.

You didn’t know? For now, we must accept that as the truth. But holy ineffability, man, what were you thinking? How did it not occur to you that feeding a baby bleach might just be a bad idea?

You know how sometimes you see those letters, “WTF”, written somewhere? Yeah, there’s a reason people use the expression. And it’s true, the phrase is overused, but, well, What the fuck were you thinking?


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