Leave it to Stephen Colbert, i.e., America's Voice of Reason, to put the latest parenting panic into hilarious perspective.
Last night's episode of The Colbert Report addressed the current behavioral "epidemic" threatening to destroy our nation's youth: Getting drunk on hand sanitizer.
"It's a national crisis!" warned Colbert, adding that according to the Los Angeles Times, "6 local teenagers have gone to emergency rooms in the last few months!"
"Our kids are getting sani-tipsy!"
(Well, 6 of them are, anyway.)
The segment was more than merely funny, it made an extremely relevant point:
Why do we blow the stupid adolescent antics of a handful of kids out of proportion (on such an epic scale)? Whether it's hand sanitizer or cinnamon or cough syrup or whipped cream canisters ... whatever the household substance, at some point some bored kid is going to figure out a way to abuse it.
That doesn't mean we have to treat whatever the "trend" is as a "national crisis." Does it give make us feel safer, somehow, to identify every possible cause of harm to our children? Has having kids made paranoid conspiracy theorists of us all?
To me, Colbert hit the nail on the head when he said:
"I'm not just a newsman, I'm also a parent. So I know how important it is for moms and dads out there to be frightened at all times."
He's totally right -- it really does feel like we're supposed to be frightened at all times.
Sheesh. It's enough to make a mom reach for a bottle of Purell.
Do you think hand sanitizer abuse is really a tween/teen epidemic?