Last week, a close friend of mine posted a short video on his Facebook page that caught my attention. It was about the destructive nature of air bags and what they can do if you’re seated improperly in the passenger seat. It seems that his wife and daughter are all about the relaxing, feet on the dashboard position and he’s been losing the battle when it comes to inspiring them to adopt a more traditional, crash test dummy posture.

The video illustrated what happens to crash test dummies that are positioned in the feet on the dashboard arrangement when air bags deploy. It was officially horrifying… just absolutely horrifying.

A mutual friend commented on the post that something similar to what was shown in the video happened to a young woman that she personally knew and the results were life-changing: badly broken legs, a broken back, and paralysis. Again, horrifying.

For the record, I’m a responsible, cautious, non-aggressive driver (except when I’m not). My focus is always on the car in front of me and what’s going on around me (except when I’m doing other things). I’m courteous and forgiving; I play it safe and do everything that I can to “Arrive Alive” as the Florida driving slogan from yesteryear encouraged… except when the car in front of me is doing 38 in a 45, in the left-hand lane.

Let the record also show that I am officially terrified of air bags. That’s Aerosakaphobia, for those of you in need of the technical term. It doesn’t appear that a ton of research has been done on the topic, but it does have an official webpage (which could use a little more data, if you’re willing to contribute).

All of this sounds like it has the potential for humor, but I’m going to pump the breaks gently (no visual pun intended). Part of me wants to ramble for several paragraphs about the desire to have one of those inflated stickman attention getters jump out of the backseat on impact and wrap its arms around me, while its head bobs back and forth over my shoulder, sporting that classic surprised expression made famous by inflatable love dolls of the 60’s and 70’s. Part of me wants to post pictures of my friend’s inflatable Philadelphia Eagles football player that he and his wife displayed proudly on their front lawn before this year’s Super Bowl. Philly…Philly… you two are true friends of the crown; true friends, with standing. The more I think about it though, the less humor I see. As I said, I’m an Aerosakaphobiac.

We live in an age of incredible technology. Cars can steer themselves gently back into their own lane, if you get sleepy and are struggling to keep it between the mayonnaise and the mustard. They can parallel park themselves. They can pump their own breaks if you’re about to back over a LEGO. Why can’t we do better with passenger protection? Why are we still using nylon straps and exploding boxing gloves? Seriously, why???

I bought my current sled in 2003. It was a clean, accident free Chevy Trailblazer with just under 14 thousand miles on it. A rental car service was taking it out of their rotation and, at just under $20K, I felt like I got a pretty good deal on it. It’s served me well for 15 years and still proves to be reliable. I’m not in the market for a new sled, but I know that I couldn’t touch a quality replacement SUV for less than $35K.

The new vehicle would come with a host of amenities that my current car doesn’t offer. I’m sure it would have some kind of BlueTooth set up that would sync with my iPhone. It would probably have onboard navigation to help me find my way around Yuleeville, which is going to be a lovely city, by the way, if they ever finish building the main road. It might even have a seat warmer for my toosh, which would come in handy 5, perhaps 6 times each year. But, and this is a big but, it’s still going to have nylon straps that go across my lap and shoulder and it’s still going to have air bags that punch me in the face if I hit anything while travelling faster than 12 miles an hour.

That’s just wrong! It is. Say it with me and say it loud, “That’s just wrong!”

For $35K and up, we deserve better folks. Forget the onboard navigation system. I can get that on my iPhone and it updates all the time; I’m good there. Forget the butt warmer. I can probably get a 12×15 inch heating pad on Amazon that plugs into the cigarette lighter, for those mornings when I really need something to warm the seat. Ha! A quick search just revealed that I can get a 17×31 inch USB heated blanket for $27 on Amazon. It’s got 240, mostly positive reviews and it’s available in black or blue.

Cigarette lighters; talk about antiquated tech. Why do cars still have those connections, forcing users to buy a convert-to-USB plug-in device? Sorry… I digress.

Give me a better safety system. If Aeon Flux… I mean, Elon Musk (I always get those two confused) can orbit the earth in a Tesla, we’ve got to have the technology to make driving safer. Why don’t the newest cars on the road have an electromagnetic energy system that gently slows them down as they approach other metal objects? Why put all the responsibility on the brake pads and human reflex reaction time?

Why are we still burning gasoline? Seriously, why? Once the engine has ignited and is generating revolutions inside the engine block, shouldn’t there be a way that the motion can be converted to the generation of perpetual energy? That’s the uncrossible bridge? Really?

And, for those of us who suffer from, what I’ve just this morning discovered is an official phobia, can’t we develop something better than air bags? Studies show they do nearly as much harm as good. Why are they still in automobiles?

I want a hug. I want something that gently deploys throughout the vehicle and cushions my move in any direction. Maybe it’s an electronic field of some sort; maybe it’s plasma based, or made of swamp gas. I don’t care; I don’t want to be hit in the face with a 36 inch boxing glove that delivers the force of three George Foreman’s on Meth.

I want gentle. I want comfort. I want something that says protection, not infuriated beyond measure assault. Somebody out there can do this and I’m committed to fixing the AC unit before June and driving my 2003 Trailblazer until they do.

Quick Links to Mark’s Books on Amazon:

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