Saturday, November 14, 2009

#52 Nursery Pager Systems

Back in the olden days of Psalter Hymnals, Sunday evening services, and wearing nice clothes to church, white Christian parents looked forward to church as an hour-long break from their pain in the neck kids. Once admitted to the nursery, a kid could be screaming at the top of his lungs while bludgeoning other children with a horse head on a stick, and his parents would be blissfully unaware, as the nursery workers would have no way of contacting them.

Nursery workers are no different from other white Christians, they love babies, but only when they are cooing and smiling in a Christ-like manner. Once a baby's sinful nature surfaces in the form of crying and general unpleasantness, these volunteers become desperate to bring in the child's parents for backup. It was only a matter of time before electronic systems for locating parents were invented and marketed to church nursery directors.

The first such invention involved an electronic board mounted in the sanctuary that would flash a number corresponding to a misbehaving child. While effective, this caused every parent to go into a full panic as they searched their pockets for the slip of paper with their child's number. Upon finding a matching number, hundreds of judging eyes would follow the unfit parent as she endured the walk of shame out of the sanctuary.

The electronic board has largely been replaced by a restaurant style system with individual pagers, so parents can slip out unnoticed when their pager vibrates. However, nursery workers have taken full advantage of the new technologies - they have even been known to page the parents of a perfectly well behaved child in order to get out of changing a particularly stinky diaper: "She was bawling just a second ago. Hmmm. Well, while you're here..."

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Paul Wilkinson said...

Yesterday the message board at the front of the church flashed number 23, and a woman immediately got up and walked out. But then she returned and number 23 was still on the board.

After a few minutes, a man walked out and the board was turned off as he returned.

My guess was that the first #23 was just taking advantage of the situation for another, rather obvious reason.

Vibrating pagers take all the fun -- and conjecture -- out of that.

Anonymous said...

The vibrating pagers are expensive. And sort of silly, now that everyone carries around cell phones. will hopefully change the face of nursery paging systems by using those cell phones!