Now I have to admit that I have strapped all sorts of non-human things into my car with the seat belts. Stuffed animals. A lamp. And yes, beer of course. Because when you are young and single beer is very important to you. But I would never choose to strap in beer instead of a child. Or at least I think I would always pick the child. I have never been in that position before. Mostly because it is generally considered creepy for a single, childless 26-year-old male to be just riding around in a tiny station wagon with a 5-year-old child. I am sure it's not illegal but it is mostly wrong. Especially with beer in the car. Those two things. I am going to go out on a limb and say that a 26-year-old single male riding around with a six-pack and a toddler in the car is as bad as a 42-year-old man riding around an elementary school with a white windowless van filled with candy. So that's why I have never had this problem. I have never had to make a conscious decision about whether or not to make a small child into Rosa Parks, asking them to give up their seat so that a 24-pack of Lion Nathan's West End can sit down.
I really should be impressed by these guys. I say these guys because aside from the man driving, there were at least two other people in the car. The beer was belted into the center seat in the back, between two other people, and the child was sitting on the floor at their feet. I mean, it is no big deal to put a seat belt on your beer. But throwing the child on the floor? That's raising the bar to a higher level. I wonder if the adults were just confused. Perhaps there was another child stuffed in a cooler in the trunk. And there was probably a jug of Bundaberg Rum belted into the front street. I wonder why they didn't just strap the child to the roof. Then at least the child would have had fun pretending they were a superhero flying along or something. Or maybe Aladdin on his carpet. But sitting on the car floor? That's boring. You can't even play Pony Express on the floor of a car. Believe me, I have tried.
So apparently the Northern Territory is the place to go if you prize beer over children. It's sort of an Australian Texas. I am sure they bought that beer at a drive-through liquor store and were on their way to a sheep shearing or tumbleweed race or tumbleweed shearing or something like that. Whatever they do out in Alice Springs. Because there can't be much else to do there. Have you ever been to Alice Springs? It's boring and there's nothing to do. I've never been there but I assume that that is what it's like. All is not lost however. After giving the man an A$750 (US$709) fine, the local authorities expressed the appropriate level of confusion. "This is the first time that the beer has taken priority over a child..." opined local Constable Wayne Burnett. Well he is wrong. The beer has taken precedence over a child tons of times. It does every time a parent drunk drives with their child in the car. It does every time someone is too drunk to go to their kids soccer game. Or when they spend their last 5 dollars on a six pack of Miller High Life instead of Children's Tylenol. This is just the most blatant and hilarious and sad example. And it's only hilarious because the child wasn't hurt. Either way that child should have been rerouted to protective services. When asked about it, the man driving just stared blankly. Burnett stated "He didn't get it." And he didn't. Where I live you buckle your kids in and put the beer on the floor. Maybe that gets flipped backwards once you go into the southern hemisphere like the direction of the toilet water. But come on. That had better been some awesome beer.