I’ll tell you something my family does on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries: I get the kids all dressed up and we go to the grocery store or mall and I find a stranger, a man, anywhere from middle-aged to elderly, and I force my kids to sit on his lap and chit-chat and I commemorate it with a photo. Sure, there are times, especially with the little ones, that they freak the fuck out. I mean, they are screaming and crying and pleading with me but I plop them on that strangers lap and just tell the man to hold on tight while I get my camera ready. Sure, as they struggle to free themselves from this perfect stranger’s grips, they are hysterical and obviously completely traumatized but, oh my gawd, how fucking cute is it to watch? I’m already picturing where I’m going to display it once I blow it up to an 8×10 and get a frame.
That would be weird; bordering on batshit crazy. It could all be remedied with one simple detail: a costume. The rules of “stranger danger” no longer apply, as long as the stranger is wearing red PJs and a beard (real or fake) or a bunny costume, depending on the season. No one thinks twice about the strange man inviting children to sit on his lap and whisper their secrets. When our babies scream, bloody freaking murder, we think nothing about this total and complete stranger restraining them on his lap. You’ll see parents in line pointing, cocking their heads adoringly, because nothing is cuter than witnessing a small child that is in fear for his very safety and life. You have got to immortalize that moment.
Before you take your children and leave, Safe Stranger, gives them a candy cane and a coloring book. You sternly tell your child to say “thank you” for the gifts and go on your merry way. The next day, Little Johnny asks the man in line at the checkout if he has any candy and you promptly jump his ass and stress the dangers of talking to and taking candy from strangers all the way home.