father-runner and his strong baby compete in a stroller race

#151 "A Watershed In Stroller Racing"

I was never "stroller-raced" as a baby. In fact, I think the most time I spent in a stroller was when my Mom walked me solemnly and reverently from the car to mass. If I could go back in time to 1963 and say to my parents: "you should try running long distances while pushing me in a stroller", they'd throw their cigarettes at me and have me detained for not only intrusive time travel, but also for what might be called "psychotic ideation."

When I was a kid, I had no clue about how stressed out my parents were. They had three insane boys, a mortgage, both worked, and my Dad was working toward a college degree. Now that I'm older—way older—in fact almost dead now—I'm simply amazed that they both didn't crack under the pressure. I'm sure they almost did—which probably explains some of the weirder, on-the-edge moments—but overall they kept it together. Introducing the concept of exercise into their lives would have been met with an emphatic "what the hell are you talking about?" or the 1960's version of the catch-phrase "as if." Then they'd light a cigarette and return to watching The Beverly Hillbillies or Gunsmoke.

The times have changed. Instead of using nicotine and high balls to relax (like on Mad Men), some parents throw their baby into a stroller and wheel it for ten kilometers. The kid gets to imagine they're in a race car or just enjoy the sensation motion, and mom and dad get to blow off some steam, push some physical limits, and even express their competitive natures. If I could beam my 1963 parents into the present day and show them a stroller race they'd probably say something like "did we die? Is this hell? Where can I get some Lucky Strikes? Kents?"

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Crusted Salt comics by Jimmy Brunelle