For a long time I’ve said that parents are the worst people to have children. That much seemed obvious. But the burning question remained. Why?
I was pondering the current state of the National Football League (NFL) when it hit me. On second thought, perhaps “hit me” isn’t the best turn of phrase in conjunction with the NFL these days.
First there was the Ray Rice video where he punched his then-fiancée in the face. That shined a stark light on the issue of domestic violence within the league. The video hasn’t changed the reality of what has always been a very serious matter but now, thanks to the virality of the video, the issue is finally being taken more seriously.
News media took the ball and ran with it. The journalists scurried to look under rocks and ask probing questions like, “Who else might be doing stuff like this?”
With the NFL under a microscope suddenly all bets were off. I’m not sure how but the next big thing in NFL umbrage was the Adrian Peterson who was arrested for child abuse after “whooping” his four-year-old son using a “switch.”
Continue reading →
Sure, you love kids, so you gleefully punched out one, two or even octo-quantities of them. (Hint: Almost as many as a nine-round ammo clip.) But then, like a baby chick a few days after Easter Sunday, they stick around and are always underfoot, demanding attention and care.
It’s not like you can make a chicken-and-egg scrambled omelet with them and viola! Problem deliciously solved! (Although an amazing number of parents do find a way to carry out filicide but that’s decidedly outside the scope of this post.)
Like the vast majority of my blog posts, it all started when I decided to set foot out of my house…
Looking for some dinner my wife and I drove into the parking lot of the divey Chinese restaurant. The lot was amazingly full. What gives? The food must be awesome here, eh?
But when we walked into the dining area, only two tables were occupied. Huh?
That’s when I slapped my head and yelled, “D’oh!” I almost forgot I live in Oregon. That’s where they have a state-run lottery and run a continuous stream of commercials urging the citizenry to go out and gamble because doing so accomplishes “good things.” (Like increasing revenue into state coffers.)
Sure, they simultaneously run anti-gambling ads but that’s only because they like a mixed-up, dazed and confused populace. Let’s blast ’em with a hot mix of pro-gambling and anti-gambling messages … at the same time, they seem to be saying whilst rubbing their hands together in glee. That’ll learn ’em a lesson!
Indeed. What’s not good for the individual is apparently good for the state.
Continue reading →
What’s a boss? Someone who does a lot of shit you hate. Repeatedly. And does it a lot.
An example is getting pounced by the boss the exact nanosecond you walk into work. As the door swings shut behind you and you begin to walk across the room, the boss patiently counts to .1 then lets it fly.
“Oh. Um. Hey. I have some prices and stock changes for the website for you I need done.”
“For you.” What a quaint way of putting it.
“They need to be entered and saved into the website.”
No shit? I was going to try sticking them in my ear. I have no data to suggest that would work, but I figured what the hell. I’m just a blubbering idiot compared to glowing brilliance that is you.
“I need it done right away.”
What? You’re not giving me five years lead time on this grand project of yours? I’m literally shocked.
You can guess what came next. Yep. I took an additional 15 seconds to walk across the room and reach my desk. I paused to savor a feeling of accomplishment. Wow, I sure accomplished a lot in my first minute at work. Team building? Check. Project management? Check. Blood leaking out of ears? Check! That’s why I keep tampons in my desk.
The boss was watching and waiting expectantly. I put on a little show consisting of setting my coffee down, sitting in my chair, adjusting my chair, turning on my computer display and lots of exciting stuff like that. I could feel the boss’ beady little eyes drilling into me. Creepy. How many minutes left in this day until quitting time? I already feel like I’m roasting in Hell while demons with tongues of flame lick the flesh from my bones.
Finally I turned to face him.
“Sure thing,” I said, being careful to speak to him as if he was a small child. Bosses respond well to that. “Let me know what you want changed and I’ll be happy to take care of it. I’ll make it my top priority.” Bosses like words like “priority.”
This response excited him. He peed himself a little.
But first there was a day full of important boss stuff to get done. This included things like buying stuff on Woot.com, taking 42 phone calls from his wife, reading news stories, playing with his Ameritrade account, “cooking” multiple meals in his disgusting microwave, playing Plants vs. Zombies on his iPad while sitting on the toilet, and, of course, a nap on the office sofa, his Hobbit-like bare feet sticking up in the air.
Several eternities later, it was quitting time. I got up out of my chair. I gathered my things. I slug my backpack over my shoulder and headed for the door.
The boss looked up and said, “What? Are you leaving?”
“Afraid so, old chap. Quittin’ time and all that. Cheerio!”
“Wait,” he cried. “I was just about to send you those changes.”
There followed a long and pregnant and awkward pause. I swallowed my bile and spoke The Question, breaking the silence.
“You don’t want that done now, do you?”
“Yes, I need it now. It has to be done today. My wife has been riding me hard on this one.”
Ah, fear. That’s why it was so damn important you fucked around on it for an incredible eight and half hours. Top priority, indeed.
Like a boss.
It’s not that I minded that much getting a little OT. But seriously. Is there any possible way this grown person with firing power over me could act any dumber? I think not. He’s perfected the art.
Mom had loaded a plate on his behalf, thoughtfully passing on spicier fare. His nachos consisted of nothing more exciting than chips, cheese and some beans. The plate was rather overloaded for a youngster slightly older than three. Mom’s eyes must have been bigger than his stomach.
On the floor, under the boy’s chair, it looked like a chip-bomb had exploded. That would be the floor I had vacuumed just hours before.
Mom glanced over at the kid and with an annoyed look on her face and said, “Don’t eat just the chip. Eat some beans and cheese, too.”
The kid watched mom divert back to her adult conversation. He half-heartedly nibbled at the same damn chip but only long enough to sell the ruse. No rice. No beans.
He pushed his plate away and asked to be excused. Mom said fine.
Later he enjoyed all the dessert he ever wanted. The boy was being taught well. And he was intelligent enough to glean the lesson.
At least at the beach you knew where the undertow might be lurking. It was generally isolated to that narrow strip of the sea where waves expended themselves on the sand. If you didn’t go in the water the undertow couldn’t get you.
My undertow was more ingrained than that. It wasn’t limited to any geographical location. No, the undertow I dreaded was the one inside my head. I could feel it flirting on the frayed outer edges of my consciousness. It was there, an omnipresent black cloud, probing for ways to get inside and drag me under.
The waves and the primal roar of the ocean gave me no solace, so I stumbled back to the parking lot and drove away. The cloud temporarily pulled back. Continue reading →
A strange and disturbing thought crossed my mind the other day.
We’ve got two gerbils on our hands, each with their own peculiarities.
One, who I write about the most, only recently left home. His exact whereabouts are unknown, but last we heard, he lives in a commune. Yep, a bloody commune. As in a place where a bunch of people freeload off open-minded free-loving adults where no one has a job and everyone likes to get high.
We have two gerbils. This is the one that dropped out of high school, never worked on his GED, is unemployed, has basically never worked, got his nose pierced, his ears gauged, daydreamed about a lip ring, grew his hair long and his face fuzzy, and took up habits like drinking, smoking and doing pot. He also applied for and receives food stamps.
Our other gerbil is a few years older and on a remarkably similar track. He’s the one that dropped out of high school, never worked on his GED, and decided (along with his girlfriend) that birth control was a bad idea, thus leading to the creation of The Unwanted Child.
The situation with this gerbil and his unwanted child is what got me to thinking…
We, as grandparents, just might be looking at the possibility of adopting the little squirt. It’s a long shot, but if it happens, it’ll be a tough row to hoe. The kid hasn’t exactly been dealt the best hand.
So what happens when a generation becomes so lazy and irresponsible that people have to raise their own grandchildren?
Of course I’ve heard about people raising their own grandchildren before. It’s not exactly a new phenomenon. But something tells me that this sort of thing is on the rise. You might even say it’s “trending.”
A brief search of the internet for the phrase “grandparents raising children” turned up a disturbing number of results. I guess that means my hunch might be right. One web page, Grandparents: As Parents has a fact sheet, tips and statistics about this. And the government web site USA.gov has a Grandparents Raising Grandchildren page, too.
The Big Question
When grandparents step in and raise their children, there is one other important aspect to this situation. Namely, that the actual parents are completely missing out on the parenting experience. They are not learning any parenting skills.
So, when their children go on to have children, on what resource will those children be able to draw???
Those children will have grandparents who never acted as parents themselves!
Sure, they’ll know how to avoid jobs. They’ll know how to do a wide variety of drugs. They’ll even know a lot about body modification and giving up all sense of self and individuality in the name of being cool and fitting in. But they won’t know jack shit about parenting, so they’ll be ill-equipped to step in when their own children reproduce. In other words, who will be there to parent the gerbils of gerbils?
We are now one generation away from total family oblivion. Of course, that might not be the end of the world. Maybe by then iPhones and televisions will be able to do even more than they do now. Perhaps they’ll take over raising the young ones and it will be smooth sailing from there, I’m sure.
I’m not sure the traditional definition of family can successfully be “defended” by the responsibility apocalypse that will soon be upon us.
I’m going to try to briefly recap some recent gerbil high jinx…
Long on boarding, short on brains – These days the gerbil likes to hang out at our house, or what he refers to as his Base of Operations and/or The Nest. He has taken up the habit of lounging in the driveway around the time I arrive home each evening. Yes, after a hard day at work, there is nothing better than finding a gerbil camping in your drive.
The other day, though, I had to make an extra stop at the store on the way home. So I was delayed and came home from the other direction. As I rounded the corner on the back way to our house, there was my gerbil in the middle of the street, on a longboard (skateboard) and heading directly at me. He was headed right at my car while looking behind him in the other direction and completely unaware of the fact that a vehicle was about to run his ass over.
Someone tell me how he’s managed to live this long? (Answer: The reflexes of others, so far, have compensated for his poor decision making skills and lack of attention.)
Why Don’t You Spend The Night – Twice in the last two weeks the gerbil has showed up – unannounced – to make use of our home as his lodging for the evening. He apparently enjoys forcing the role of Innkeeper and his Wife upon us. The other day it was 8:45 at night when we heard his tapping at our door!
I’m Counting to Three – When a gerbil spends the night, there is one thing that is guaranteed. In the morning you will hear his cell phone (his most prized possession) being used as his alarm clock. It will create the most annoying sound in the world every nine minutes. The only other guarantee is that it will have absolutely no effect on the gerbil’s slumber. Eventually my wife will be forced to go mother him and force his ass out of bed since we’re about to leave and he has no key. The gerbil has gots to go. I have no idea how he makes it to work – ever – or how he has managed to hold onto his job thus far.
Gerbil Nap Time – The other time the gerbil recently spent the night he crawled into my wife’s office and shut the door behind him. And then he didn’t wake up until 6pm!
Sleeping all day is another common gerbil activity. My wife finally went to wake him up and found that he had not only taken over her room, he had also locked the door. Gerbils are highly private creatures.
Loan Applications – The gerbil has held down a part time job for a while now but never has money. Odd. By my calculations his net take home pay is $300 to $400 a month. (He only works part-time.) Yet he comes to our home and tells us how he has 43 cents to his name and his bank account is overdrawn and checks are bouncing and by the way, also I need a loan. What the fuck? The gerbil has no bills!
You should hear the gerbil whine about his weariness and his job. Lawl! Come see me when you’re working 40 hours a week like me, you twit.
The Gatekeeper and The Keymaster – We previously documented how we finally got the gerbil to return our house key. First he returned the key we knew about after we hassled him about it for months on end. Then we discovered he was still sneaking into our home. We finally realized he still had a key! We suspected he had made a copy but that wasn’t the case. He simply had our missing spare key and didn’t bother to return it with the other one.
So my wife went into the gerbil’s car and got the spare key back, which made the gerbil very, very angry! He said, and I quote, “If you wanted the key back you should have just asked!” Umm, we did, dip shit. For months. When we said we wanted you to return the key to our house that didn’t mean, “But be sure to hang on to the spare for yourself.”
Then we discovered he was still sneaking in. His modus operendi? He’d find some reason to visit while we were home, then, when we weren’t looking, he’d surreptitiously unlock the side door to our house. Sure, this leaves the house open to criminals, risking the lives of myself, my wife and our cats, but the gerbil has gots his needs, yo. He needs access to his Fortress of Solitude whilst we area away. So twice in the last week I’ve found the side door to the garage completely unlocked. My wife say something to him about it last night (during his latest sleepover) and he again became very angry. Gerbils don’t like to be questioned about their rude and irresponsible behavior.
Free Parking – Almost two years ago my wife and I had achieved one of our dreams. We sold the single-wide trailer and moved into a brand new home complete with two car garage and an office for each of us. Unfortunately my wife’s dream of having an office was put on hold as the gerbil made the move with us and took over her room. (I worked from home at the time.) She had to wait a year and a half to just partially get her room back. (The gerbil still takes it over on a routine basis.) Meanwhile the gerbil left his useless car in our driveway since the day we moved in. Every time I pulled out of the garage I had to maneuver around his car.
All in all the gerbil has rather tainted our enjoyment of our new home.
One weekend we asked the gerbil to move his car because our friend had stuff in our RV parking and the gerbil’s car was blocking the gate. Our friend needed his stuff. By Sunday night there was no sign of gerbil. He couldn’t be bothered to do such a small favor for us.
Finally my wife and I pushed his car out onto the street and parked it on the curb. We notified the gerbil so he’d know he now had a legal responsibility to move the car or face a possible ticket. It took about three weeks but his car was finally tagged by the police. He was given five days to move the car or else.
We watched the days go by with nervous anticipation. What would the gerbil do? Would he show up in time? Or would his car be towed away? A towing would represent an almost certain death sentence to the vehicle since the outrageous charges for towing and storage at the lot would quickly dwarf the value of the car.
On the last day and at the last possible minute, oh miracle of miracles! The gerbil showed up and moved his car. And, thank God, it was not back in our driveway. He found one of his friends who lived in an apartment and moved it to their apartment parking lot. Now it was the apartment’s problem. Yeah!
One more small baby step to having the gerbil out of the nest!