Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: My kid accidentally dropped an iPad in the sewer

OPINION: You haven't lived until you've stuck your head in a sewer grate hoping Pennywise can hand you the iPad your 2-year-old just gave to the streets.

parenting child in car seat
(Photo by Artem Varnitsin/EyeEm/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

As it turns out, my kid isn’t a fan of one of my favorite podcasts, “Questlove Supreme.” I made this random, but important discovery one day as I was driving home — probably from Target — and I noticed my 2-year-old (let’s call him Young Calamity, or YC, for today’s sermon) getting verbally agitated at everything, yet nothing in particular. Usually he just sits quietly with his iPad on its maximum volume, or he loudly sings along to the dulcet tones of whoever sings the theme song to the show, “Super Wings.” This day in particular, I was listening to some episode of the podcast and YC started screaming at the top of his lungs and then crying and then laughing and then crying; he was really giving me all of the emotions — Mariah Carey would have been proud. 

I turned around to see what was going on (at a stop light, of course!) and discovered that his iPad had died. Now, I mean died in terms of the battery not actual death, but the way YC was giving up the ghost you’d have thought one of his favorite cartoon characters met a dastardly demise. I figured that perhaps I could calm him down by changing from the podcast to one of my favorite songs that always makes me feel better, “Saturday Love,” by Cherrelle and Alexander O’Neal. No dice. YC hated them, too. Nothing worked as a matter of fact, and well, as soon as we got home, I grabbed the iPad, plugged it up and handed him one of my other kid’s devices. 

The point of those prior two paragraphs was to point out that, as a parent, iPads are vital to peaceful car rides. I know, I know; screen time and all that jazz. Color me badd, yo. Sometimes, as a parent, you need something that will allow you to take a minute while keeping your kid occupied and entertained — especially in the car on longish rides. For instance, some mornings, I take my daughter to school; I live in Washington, D.C., and she goes to school in Alexandria, Va. For those not from the D.C. metropolitan area, Alexandria is super close, except in D.C., everything takes forever because of traffic. We’re not quite at Atlanta levels of rush hour traffic, but a 20-mile roundtrip drive can easily take an hour and a half. 

So you can imagine my horror when, just the other morning, as I was attempting to strap YC into his car seat, he grabbed the iPad out of my hand and accidentally dropped it into the open sewer grate right in front of my house. When I tell you that I almost had a conniption as I watched in what appeared to be slow motion — I wish! — as the iPad hit the ground and slid right on into the annals of both our personal Black history and the sewer. Whew, chile. I tried to put my foot out quickly to stop its motion but it was too late. Pennywise wanted an iPad apparently. Also, I probably could have grabbed the thing had I dropped my kid, but I mean, was that ever really an option? I’m going to say no. Though I mean, if I had, that iPad would still be part of our lives, ya know? 

I traipsed right back into the house and into my room and woke up my wife to let her know, quite indignantly, “WE HAVE A PROBLEM!” It was 6:45 a.m. 

Back in the car — I still had to get my daughter to school, ya know — I pulled the truck up and then got out and stuck my head kinda sorta into the sewer to see if it had dropped, like, all the way or if it had maybe, prayerfully, got caught on, I don’t know … a hanger? Why a hanger would be in the sewer is beyond me but my head was in a grate; I was quite obviously not thinking clearly. All that kept going through my mind was that I needed to get a new iPad ASAP. This kid does not do well, at this point, sans an iPad and the last thing I need is for colored goldfish to come flying at my head while I’m doing 35 mph in a 25 mph zone trying to get while the getting is good as YC yells, “DADDY MOMMY (which he calls me depending on his mood) BIPAD!?!?????” Naw, fam. To the AT&T store we go. 

The one silver lining was this: The iPad he gave to the streets was an iPad that we never paid for. It was old and given to my wife during a job she did years ago. It was wifi only and free. So we didn’t LOSE any money on that thing. It was just convenient for us when we realized we had an extra one lying about that could still hold a charge. Now, I have to go out and get a new one because YC doesn’t mess with “Questlove Supreme” or Alexander O’Neal, and I need my peace while driving. 

Shouts to parenting.

Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest), but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said: “Unknown” (Blackest).

Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download it here.