A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
Parents lie. I’m not talking about those little Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, go-to-sleep-or-Dora-will-get-cancer-like-grandma-and-die lies that they tell their kids. I’m talking about those supersize whopper lies they tell the rest of us.
Let’s click pause for a moment — just for the disclaimer. I like kids. I’m of an age where pretty much anything under three feet tall is basket-full-of-puppies cute with a double shot of “Isn’t that precious?” on the side. I think kids are wonderful little creatures, mainly because I don’t own any. Remember this — ‘cause it’s gonna get ugly.
Talk to any parent and, before you can get to politics, religion or celebrities, they will wheel into this sunny story about how having children and raising them is the most wonderful experience since Mary Magdalene looked into the face of Jesus. What a load of crap! Anybody who’s ever been around children knows that kids — all kids — are self-absorbed little savages. Turning them into adults is a full-time gauntlet of soul-eating persistence that would make Job himself learn the words to “Losing My Religion.” And that’s just until they’re old enough to go to kindergarten. After that, it gets even harder. So why do parents lie about it? They have to. Who in their right mind would admit that their offspring are whelps of Satan? After all, it’s mom and dad’s DNA that produced these little demons.
The problem is people (before they are parents) think that those cute little critters in the Huggies™ commercials are children. They’re not. I don’t know what they are — munchkins? mutants? cleaned-up leprechauns? I’m not sure, but they’re not kids. Kids are nasty little sticky things who leak from every orifice, make the most ungodly noises at the most inappropriate times, and have no respect for time or space or private property. However, once the consenting adults have made this first mistake, there is no turning back.
It starts with “We’re pregnant.” That’s the first lie. We are not pregnant; she is. Dad’s just along for the ride. Eight months from now, he’s going to be lying on the sofa, drinking a beer and watching the ballgame while mommy dearest is spending her afternoon getting the hell kicked out of her bladder by Mr. Restless who’s getting tired of solitary confinement. The only shared experience parents are having at this point is the growing apprehension that that anonymous ultrasound image has just stamped “Cancelled” on casual sex, forever.
Once babies are born, they become Mother Nature’s most efficient food processer. These are not the cuddly-wuddly little Churchills you see swaddled-up on Facebook. These are ravenous, cavernous creatures who never sleep for more than ten minutes at a time and can turn any amount of liquid into the most godawful semi-solids known to exist in the solar system – and that includes the sulphurous lava pits on Venus. You might see their sleeping little cherub faces, but the parents know they didn’t go quietly. They passed out after a half hour screaming session and a round of gluttony that would do Henry VIII proud. But parents never mention that — and this is the second lie. Want to prove it? Just threaten to wake the little angel up. You’ll never see such headlong panic short of announcing they’ve just released Charles Manson and he’s moving in next door.
Once parents get past the second lie, it just gets easier and easier. Pretty soon, every time they open their mouths about their kids, they’re putting Pinocchio to shame. Personally, I don’t believe anything a parent says about their children, at all – ever — even if the kid is 57 and signing the papers to put the old man away. But if you want some serious grins, check out the affirmations moms and dads are plastering all over the Internet. “A child is God’s perfect gift to the world” “Nothing is as precious as a baby’s smile.” Puh-leeze! Why not just “Honk if you love your kids?” and get it over with. Methinks the parents doth protest too much.
Quite frankly I don’t really blame them, though. If I were handed a sentence of penal servitude to a ungrateful monster who had the manners of a warthog and the morals of a goat, I’d lie too.