In the recent furor over which kind of parent is cooler,
or better able to sling vicious
I’ve heard one phrase repeated over and over. This phrase might be heard within an article,
found in a comment, or just heard in casual conversation but it is always said
with sneering disdain, clearly setting it on its own small island amidst the
sea of turbulent debate. This
phrase? “Elmo and minivans.” I’m
confused by this phrase as well as its vilification. Does it indicate a less than ethical
cross-sell marketing campaign? Is it a
cautionary term, perhaps to warn people about minivans built by underage
puppets in third world countries? Can
you dislike minivans and still like Elmo or are they always inexorably
entwined?  And what does this have to do
with parenting?  To get to the bottom of
this and other burning questions I went right to the source. Here is a transcript of my intriguing
interview with Elmo.

Me: Elmo, thanks for
meeting with me.       Elmo

Elmo: My
pleasure! Lattes yummy!
Me: So Elmo, there has
been some indication that you have an ongoing relationship with certain minivan
manufacturers. Can you tell us a little
about that?
Elmo: What you mean?
Me: To be blunt, do
you have a partnership deal with Dodge?
Elmo: That
silly! Hee hee hee! Elmo no drive. Elmo too little. 
Me: So you don’t have
any deals with any minivan companies? No
endorsements, commercials, kickbacks? 
Elmo: What’s a
kickback? Is that on bike?
Me: No, Elmo, that’s
a kickstand.
Elmo: Oooohhh! Hey, hey, guess what?
Me: What Elmo? 
Elmo: Guess where
Elmo going tonight?
Me: Um, I don’t know…
Elmo: Killers concert with Telly!  Elmo so
Me: Wow Elmo! That’s pretty cool! I like The Killers, too!
Elmo: Yeah yeah! Dave
Keuning rocks! Yay!
Me: Cool! Where are they playing… um, never mind.  Back
to the question at hand… can you tell me why you are repeatedly lumped in with
minivans? And how does that make you
Elmo: Who say that?
Me: Well, hipsters
for one and…
Elmo: What are
Me: Oh, you know, people who like certain cars, music,
Elmo: Clothes? Like Elmo’s vintage Vans with flaming skulls?
 Elmo got them on eBay! 
Me: You bought those
on eBay?
Elmo: Yeah yeah! On computer, with allowance.  Elmo got allowance for doing chores! Hee hee
hee! Ooh ooh, look! Flames match Elmo’s fur!
Me: Yes, they do,
Elmo. Yes, they do.
Elmo: YAY!!!

There you have it. Sometimes
uttered along with “Elmo and minivans” is also a mention of Costco. Next stop, an interview with their CEO to
ask… why are they no longer carrying those tasty bumbleberry tarts? Darn it, those were good.

 – the