Last Thursday was officially “Diaper Need Awareness Day” in the State of Connecticut. Were you aware of it? There are so many awareness-raising days, it’s hard to keep track. Maybe we could have an Awareness-Raising Day Awareness Day. At any rate, the first annual Diaper Need Awareness Day was proclaimed by Dan Malloy, governor of the Nutmeg State, and they had a big old awareness-raising get-together in New Haven. It’s not clear yet whether they’ve got an official ribbon. We’re running a bit low on ribbon colors these days: It’s not just pink ribbons for breast cancer, but also teal for agoraphobia, periwinkle for acid reflux, pink-and-blue ribbons for amniotic fluid embolisms, and pinstripe ribbons for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We could use a Ribbon-Hue Awareness Day to raise awareness about how we’re falling behind in the race for more ribbon colors.
If you’re wondering what sentient being isn’t aware of diapers, you’re missing the point: Connecticut representative Rosa DeLauro is raising awareness of the need for diapers in order to, as Politico reported, “push the Federal Government to provide free diapers to poor families.” Congresswoman DeLauro has introduced the DIAPER Act — that’s to say, the Diaper Investment and Aid to Promote Economic Recovery Act. So don’t worry, it’s not welfare, it’s “stimulus.” As Fox News put it, “A U.S. congresswoman in Connecticut wants to boost the economy by offering free diapers to low-income families.” And, given that sinking bazillions of dollars into green-jobs schemes to build eco-cars in Finland and a federal program to buy guns for Mexican drug cartels and all the other fascinating innovations of the Obama administration haven’t worked, who’s to say borrowing money from the Chinese politburo and sticking it in your kid’s diaper isn’t the kind of outside-the-box thinking that will do the trick?
In fact, the federal government already provides free diapers for at least one lucky American. Stanley Thornton Jr. of California receives Supplementary Security Income disability checks from the Social Security Administration in order to sit around the house all day wearing a giant diaper and a giant onesie, sucking on a giant pacifier and playing with a giant baby rattle. Stanley Jr. runs a website for fellow “adult babies” called BedWettingABDL.com. I believe I first heard of the “adult baby” phenomenon some years ago in London. If memory serves, there was a club, and the members lay around in giant cribs being read bedtime stories by a bosomy nanny. Minor celebrities and possibly backbench Tory members of Parliament may have been involved. In those days, it was what we called a “fetish” and you had to do it on your own dime. Now it’s a “disability” and the United States government picks up the tab. And, if that’s not progress, what is?
Sen. Tom Coburn happened to catch Stan with his babysitter and fellow disability-check recipient on a reality show, and wondered how a chap capable of running a popular website and doing such complicated carpentry jobs as his own giant highchair could be legitimately classified as “disabled.” But the Social Security Administration said Junior qualifies, and Senator Coburn was condemned as heartless: Why, if those mean Republicans got their way, the streets would be crawling with giant babies bawling, “I want my mommy!” Conversely, if Congresswoman DeLauro gets her way and the stampede for government Huggies gets going, Stanley Thornton Jr. will still be entitled to park his giant pedal car in the disabled space while the penniless single mom from Hartford has to leave the Toyota at the back of the lot and hike in.