Sunday, April 08, 2007

If an eye offend thee, pluck it out in a low speed collision

The Visor Angel is one of those really bad ideas that people find harmless until it is too late. On the surface the Visor Angel is a comfort symbol. They can be found in dollar stores, Christian book shops and swap meets across America. There are a lot of things that can make being in a car dangerous like alcohol, drugs and cowardice. I don't see the need to add another element of risk through stupidity or ignorance. The generic angel, clearly not the visage of the patron Saint of Travelers, Saint Christopher, nonetheless conveys the traditional message of safe journey via the magic spell inscribed on the plaque. Personally, the Visor Angel is as mystically effective in ensuring safe travel as exorcising gremlins and bad luck from the car by blessing it with tobacco smoke while holding crystals under a pyramid, but gullibility knows no bounds. If Satan existed, I'd almost think he signed off on the design as part of one demonic plot among many to blind Christians at random.
In reality the Visor Angel is a harbinger not of safe passage, but instead carries the very real potential for horrible injuries to the face. I can't think of anything more careless and foolhardy than putting a piece of metal with two sharp pointy edges poised inches from your face in a moving car. The tips of the angel wings are about two and a half inches apart, coincidentally the perfect span required to pierce the center of each eye. Merely tapping a light pole while backing out of a parking spot in a mall parking lot is enough to ram your head into the thing. It would be less of a Darwinian act to duct tape a couple of steak knives to the visor and go for a spin.

This particular Visor Angel actually belongs to a friend of mine and has been in his car for several years. The first time I saw it was while in the car with him driving around San Diego. I noticed it when he adjusted the car visor for shade against the afternoon sun, thereby aiming the wing tips of the angel directly in line with his eyes. The ensuing conversation went something like this.
"Dude, look at what you are doing. You'll put your eye out, kid."
"What? Holy crap, yeah. Well, it was a gift from my mom."
"Your mom must hate you."
So my friend took it off the visor for the remainder of the trip. The next time I saw the deadly Visor Angel it was perched on the on the passenger side of the car and he says he removes it whenever he has anyone in the adjacent seat. I hope so. I'd hate to have to say "I told you so". I'll say it, but I would hate to. Visor Angels come in several styles and someone somewhere must have noticed the potential hazard, because I've noticed that in a few of the next generation versions the wings are folded in repose instead of being in pointy attack mode.

I don't know how many of these older angelic icons of serious eye trauma are out there in the world, but I really hope that every day there are less of them because they get lost, someone gains an IQ point or the cheap clip fails to hold it to the visor and not because a First Responder is using a pair of pliers to remove it from the eye socket of a car crash victim.


I am the light in the dark. My work here is done.

1 comment:

  1. Happily, I've only ever been vaguely aware that these things exist. I've seen plenty of the dashboard statuary, but not these visor angels.

    I wonder if these are bought by people who are trying to instill their belief in angels on family members and friends, or if it's a sign of their own lack of belief in the power of simple prayer to evoke them? Perhaps they think the angels need a sign -- an invitation to come and protect?

    No, well... it's most likely all just good intention without any real thought. The only thinking that went into it was on the production and sale side of this, as someone saw another way to make a buck off the superstitions and good intentions of others.


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