From A Childless Man: An Open Letter To Parents

Filed in Gather Writing Essential by on October 8, 2007 0 Comments

  Having no kids of my own, or at least none that require schooling, new clothes every other day, and frequent law enforcement activity, I assume that I know next to nothing about how to raise any of the critters. I do however, have flashes of brilliance and inspiration, which lead me to think profound thoughts on the subject of how to raise a child. Usually, I either share these thoughts with other childless people, write them down so I'll remember them when the tequila wears off, or keep them to myself.

 

Years ago, when I was in High School a friend of mine tried to drown a Yellow Jacket nest with diesel fuel. It did not work. His Yellow Jacket proof jacket was failing, he was trying to fight them off, run as fast as he could, and he was trying not to scream. I yelled at him, "Run towards the pond! Run towards the pond!" Instead, he ran towards me. Later, after we were treating our stings with tequila I asked him why he had done that to me. " I figured with all that noise you were making you knew how to handle them."

 

Point taken.

 

So I don't offer advice to people raising kids. I will tell people that firearms and children do not mix…no matter how strong the urge may be. I will tell them that long road trips in cars with kids just doesn't seem to be an honorable way to commit emotional suicide. I will tell people that drugs are not the answer no matter how far you've drug them they have to learn to walk one day.

 

That's just about it for me and the advice on how to raise kids. Parents have the toughest job on earth. I would rather spend time as a Jehovah's Witness in Baghdad with a stack of reading literature to hand out on the corner of Allah Street and Mohammed Drive than host a pack of five year olds at a birthday party, on purpose. Hell, I rather bob for brown trout in a cesspool than take a bunch of screaming wound up Ritalin addicts to the City Pool for half a day.

 

That's why I think those sick people who hurt kids ought to be executed. Parents will throw away their lives trying to make their kids happy. They take them softball, soccer, band, ballet, piano, baseball, football, you name it and there is some mom or dad racing around trying to make sure their kid gets to where that kid wants to be. The kid is usually sitting there playing some electronic game and not giving a damn about that effort, but that's what make parents, generally speaking, very special people. Not particularly bright, in my opinion, but that's just me.

 

I had a date one time who told me she didn't want to get dog hair on her dress. I told her there wouldn't be a problem as long as she stayed the hell out of my house. I turned around and dropped her off at her place. Dog hair comes with the package.  That blew a lot of people's mind, but the thing is that Bert and Sam live here. This is their home. They aren't temporary things to be forgotten when company comes, no matter how hot she looks in a little black dress.

 

Remember that when you go to someone's house who has kids. Gods only knows, and she's only guessing, what you'll find in the home of a child. Icky, sticky, covered with carpet fibers and smelling like the bottom of a shoe left in the rainforest is what it will be, and the kid just might hand it to you. Try to act impressed. Remember that kids have their own special way of language communication that requires, nay, demands that the subject be changed without warning and often.  You ought to be flattered that the kid is trying to have a conversation with you, such that it is. If you want to get along with a kid's parents, and especially if you're there on a date with the kid's mom, you better be someone the kid really liked when you leave.

 

Or you, like the chick in the little black dress, won't be back at all.

 

 

My neighbor's four-year-old daughter wandered down here one day and it scared the hell out of everyone. However, after everything settled down I was incredibly grateful that she likes me that much. I have to admit that I'm touched by her visit, if not more than a little freaked by the idea of her wandering away from her folks like that. I like the idea that kids like me. I think that says something about a person, if kids like them. It says you aren't mean or grumpy or evil acting so much to scare them. Dogs and kids; if they like you, you're okay.

 

You people with young'uns have my admiration and respect. A lot more people feel that way than let on. We bitch like hell when some screaming kid won't shut the hell up in a restaurant but we'll get over it. Keep up the good work, and get that kid a puppy, will you?

 

Take Care,

Mike

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