Earlier this month my uncle participated in the 16th annual Alcatraz Swim. While sitting in Aquatic Park, I witnessed an occurence which made me lose a portion of my hope for humanity.
A woman was standing five feet from where I was sitting, with a leashed child at her heel. The duo made their way to the sand. While the young boy sifted through the cigarette butts and bottle caps he perceived as treasures of the sand, his “leash master,” tugged him away from the pile of debris he had constructed.
After watching this event occur more than twice I was astounded at the woman’s inability to explain to her kid that cigarette butts and bottle caps found in the sand were both neither sanitary, nor healthy to play with.
Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, another woman approached the duo and asked, “Excuse me miss, where did you get your leash? I’ve been looking everywhere.”
The immorality of the Harness Buddy, otherwise known as the “baby leash,” greatly surpasses its ability to be cute. Coming in all colors and sizes, baby leashes are making more and more frequent appearances in parks, playgrounds, and on sidewalks. Attaching a stuffed pig to your toddler’s back looks cute, until the protruding mesh leash winds up in the hand of an unfit parent.
Dogs are leashed so they don’t sniff the hindquarters of other dogs, or begin to consume the feces of their fellow canines. The idea of a baby leash is essentially the same. You can make your kid heel, pull them away from unknown substances on the ground, and coddle them when they obey. Coming equipped with a waist and chest harness, the harness buddy is both demoralizing and idiotic.
Here are the facts on the harness buddy. A mesh leash, color coordinated to the crudely constructed stuffed animal attached to your child’s back, is to be held in the hand of the guardian. The waist and chest straps should be adjusted to fit your child snugly. This in itself adds to the cruelty of the baby leash. If your child is heavy set, not only do you get to passively project on your child that you are insecure enough to leash them to your side like a domesticated animal, but later on, while thumbing through childhood memories of barbeque block parties, and playing at the park, you get to explain to your child, “Yes, we leashed you, and yes, you were fat.”
It is baffling how adults can justify the use of the baby leash. Is it an effective way to keep a closer eye on your kid, of course.
Is it a way to make your child feel subordinate? Absolutely. The real dilemma arrives when you walk to your local Starbucks. Do you bring your kid in with you, or leash them to the nearest parking meter along with a variety of dogs?
San Francisco has always been a place of innovation and creativity. Not too long ago, while walking down the street I saw the only two adults who appeared to be utilizing the same leashing technique as the harness buddy. The only real difference was that one of the two men was an older, mid 50s, who was holding a similar style of leash as the harness buddy, which attached to his male companion, who was wearing an entirely leather outfit, walking down the street like it was the norm. Are you setting your child up for a sex life filled with sadomasochism? The answer, quite possibly, is yes.
To recap, other things people leash in order to keep them in line include; dogs, ferrets, iguanas, and apparently, their life partners. If the idea of leashing your child is still appealing, you may want to reconsider your ability to take your child out in public.