Each Thursday, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.
Helping With Bike Safety
Author/Illustrator: Betsey Douglas MacDonald
Date: None given, presumably the ’90s
Publisher: American Academy of Pediatrics
The Cover Promises: Bicycle fun with Baby Ebert! Or is it Lil’ Cynthia Ozick?
There are some topics pediatricians can be relied upon to know, like the best way to prick a kid with a needle or how to find a good deal on fluffy-cloud wallpaper. But one thing they must never again be trusted with is the production of coloring books about bike safety.
Take a look at that cover: young Michael Moore toodling along on his Huffy, decked out in some suspenders, loafers and khaki skort combo, looking for all the world like he’s headed to an Oktoberfest party for employees of Blockbuster Video! And his helmet — is that a rolled-up tube-sock?
That’s not even mentioning the mystery of where his seat went.
Clearly, that kid has failed to learn bike safety. I’m guessing the American Academy of Pediatrics bears the blame. After all, their idea of teaching the basics of helmets and hand-signals is to force kids to stare into the laser-eyes of this asexual terror-cyborg from the future.
That eye-demon is named Sam Sprocket. He/she recommends you wear a helmet so that you don’t jeopardize your ability to sort.
If ever a paint-by-number page were needed, this is it. How many Helping With Bike Safety readers have hollered out, “Mommy? What color are brains?”
Here’s a familiar hazard: crashing into the universal symbol for prohibited activities.
When I was a kid, I jacked myself up trying to bunny-hop my Schwinn over a yin-yang.
Anyway, here’s another coloring book.
Blue & You: Wild and Wooly Health Tips For Kids
Author: BlueAnn Ewe
Date: None given; presumably within the last ten years
Publisher: Arkansas Blue Cross/Blue Shield
The Cover Promises: Stay in shape, because you’re not covered!
Insurance companies want us to believe that they have taught sheep to create coloring books about safety.
They probably say this to make us think their overhead is high. I mean, I’ve been to at least four petting zoos, and I have come to the conclusion that teaching sheep to do this would cost a lot of time and money. They would probably start with coloring books about something closer to a sheep’s experience, like handfuls of tasty pellets, and then work up to safety from there.
The fact that this particular sheep is also into crosstraining just complicates things further.
Anyway, BlueAnn Ewe’s ghostwriter warns kids to stay away from strangers.
Here’s a closer look at at an Arkansas insurance company sheep’s idea of a pervert. Note the feedbag and that he is one step in to doing the moonwalk.
Another danger: your parents’ medication!
Wait! Could this here Arkansas Breakfast be the stash that bike safety kid was booking toward when he wiped out? Also, note that BlueAnn has fortune cookies for paws. Crack one open, and the message reads “Safety!”
Here, BlueAnn explains that you must wait for your parents’ permission before you can join the fight against big-government fascism.
Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield maintains a lively web-site devoted to BlueAnn’s safety-related attempts at fun. One page is titled “Comm-ewe-nication.”
In a video, she raps about exercise with someone’s vague idea of a black person. In another, she and Bill Clinton dressed as Elvis encourage pot-smoking kids to develop a backbone and stand up to peer pressure, which is weird because telling someone to get a backbone is itself peer pressure.
Because kids aren’t stupid, none of the pages in any of these books have been colored. Still, somewhere along the line little hands did get to the inside of the back cover of Blue & You:
It’s Hamburger Helper, but instead of a creepy mouth it’s got five penises and that eye from the back of the dollar.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 7, 2010