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The value of the school run

I WOULDN'T dream of letting my two under-12s walk or cycle to school. It's a big comfy car for them, Gameboys flashing in their hot little hands as the rain lashes against the windows. Let losers allow their kids to walk. I'm happy delivering them safely in my big, warm, blue, petrol-guzzling tank.

I'd like to say the simple reason is this: that, left to their own devices, these days there's a better chance of one of them getting maimed or killed by some idiot driving a dull hatchback with dirty windows and a piece of toast in one hand than there is of me -- or anyone in my family -- ever, EVER winning the lottery.

I'd like to say that --and I don't buy lottery tickets either -- people who buy lottery tickets with the hope of winning big are throwing money away and people who let young kids navigate busy roads first thing every morning are playing poker dice with the Grim Reaper, a far more entertaining prospect than buying a lottery ticket any day, but still not the reason why my kids are delivered door to door.

No, although it is mostly true that I'd rather let little Sammy and Jessica play with a loaded gun than cross or cycle Ireland's racetrack of death each day with its half-blind clown drivers, the real reason they are delivered like breakable packages to the door of their school -- as they shall be until they're of an age when they can bounce on concrete a little better, or walk to the local secondary school without crossing a single kerb -- is because 1) I'm lazy and 2) please refer to number 1.

I remember what a drag it was to trudge all the way to school through Ireland's nine-month winter with a couple of kilos of books. It wasn't cool or character forming, it just sucked.

So I want a better life for my children. Sue me. Walking to school? Just like those biscuits that you wouldn't give a budgie to sharpen its beak on nowadays. Banned.

If God had not meant us to drive our kids to school, he would not have given us big, comfortable cars with handy little retractable plastic holders for steaming travel mugs of java.

And, since I'm being pressed, I'll put my hands up. You got me. Yes, the effort of ensuring they're ready in time to walk, hop, skip or cycle all the way to school without being late is disproportionately higher than whisking them off at the last minute, half dressed and still dragging a hairbrush through their bird nest barnets as they're dumped safely over the wall into the playground, one shoe on and one off.

I'm only human after all, not superdad. And I've found you can actually steer pretty well with a piece of toast in one hand.

See you after school, kids. Kids? KIDS!


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