Friday, May 11, 2007

Check the Drop Box

If all goes as scheduled, one of my partners will be the father of twin girls (I am lobbying to call them Lucy and Ethel) tomorrow. This all comes on Mother's Day weekend. News Agencies around the world are using this weekend to publish the story of the drop off box for babies that has been set up in a Japanese hospital. I thought, whan I heard the term "drop off box" that that was a euphemism for an anonymous placement service. But no. I saw a picture, it is a real drop off box. The kind that you place the baby in and give a wheel a turn and voila, the baby is now on the otherside. If it works like a library, it will be open all the time and be very stacked up with babies when everyone reports for work on Monday.

I don't mean to make light of the problem of unwanted children. I am glad that the Japanese have the option of turning the baby in if they can't handle it. There have been times when I wondered if there was a drop off box for 17 year old girls. It can be quite overwhelming.But the drop off box is a bit impersonal. If I was designing the system I would make it more like a Jack in the Box drive through, where you stopped your car and told the clown what you were dropping off, and then drove up and handed the kid off to a real person wearing a paper hat. At least in Japan they are using the window type drop off system and not just the slot and slide system which American libraires favor. This is much more like a "Blockbuster" drop off box.

Of course, for real convenience sake, we could make it like a Netflix system where the hospitals sent you prepaid and preaddressed envelopes that you could drop the baby in and never have to leave the house. The U.S. mail would do all of the work. For a country as vibrant as Japan, their drop off system strikes me as excedingly low tech.

As I alluded to above, if all of this works out, there is no reason to stop at babies. Teenagers, bosses, CPAs, steroid using ballplayers, these all strike me as crying out for a drop box system.Some targets would require bigger boxes than others, but if it meant a few less members of the Texas state legislature, I for one would be willing to pay the price. When you think about it, the last thing in the world you would ever want to drop off is a baby.Babies are innocent, precious and lovable. You usually like to keep things like that. At least that's my experience. Here's is my prayer that the baby drop off box in Japan is never used. At least until the kid hits puberty.

CODA- Japanese newspapers reported today that a three year old child was left in this drop box night before last(5/15). The Prime Minister of Japan has called the action unacceptable, and an age limit has now been put on the box.


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