Kicking and Screaming: Losing the battle with Fatherhood.
What I’m about to tell you involves hormones and women and life goals and parents and sex and money and assholes, and if you keep reading you’re probably going to be offended.
If you’re one of those people who relentlessly carpet bombs Facebook with pictures of your kid or grabs the wheel of every conversation and jerks it onto a road that leads to what your child is doing, you will be offended.
And, if you’re just a regular old parent, happy with the title, you’ll probably think I’m being silly, or stupid, or think I’m an ass.
Lets go with ass.
Most of my friends think I’m an ass. Most (probably all) of my family thinks I’m an ass. Most random people think I’m an ass. They think this because I have a horrible tendency to actually tell people what I think when they ask me. Bluntly.
Thanks to the explosion of social media and its ability to connect all of our thoughts and opinions to one another in a way the world has never before known, I can be an ass to more people in more locations than ever before. Thank you, Al Gore.
I don’t mean to be an ass, it just kind of happens. Like when I give out scathing financial advice to my regretful relatives, or when my eyes glaze over at long winded prayers inviting Jesus into our Frisbee golf game, or how I’d rather get lashed with telephone cord than listen to my in-laws talk about the Republican party’s plan to save humanity. Patience is not my strong suite, and when everyone else is just going with the flow, I’m the one who wants to know where the flow is coming from, and if we can shut it off.
I’m not some super villain in a cape and cowl, thrashing everyone’s beloved hopes and dreams. It’s more like what most folks believe to be the center point of the universe is just more empty space to me, and, if I’ve learned anything in all my years of being an ass, it’s that not jumping on the bandwagon is just as good as running it over with a monster truck while waving your middle finger out the window.
Honestly, I’ve seen no reason to change my approach. I’m happy, successful, and the people I care about are loved and taken care of. I don’t have a lot of friends, but I don’t really want a lot of friends. The fear of me telling my family something they don’t want to hear shields me from most of their more melodramatic bull crap. And, maybe best of all, my wife, the absolute most important person in my universe, enjoys my logical yet acerbic sense of wit and direction. That is, until she told me she wanted to have kids.
And here is where my story really begins, with kids.
I understand why people want kids. I understand why my wife wants kids. I understand that I was once a kid myself and that I still, quite frequently, act like a kid. But I also know that having a kid is like having a social life ending, pooping, screaming, sleep eradicating, nuclear device that, after ticking down to detonation for nine months, destroys reality as you know it. That’s nine months of being a slave to your hormone volcano of a wife, schlepping pickles and ice cream to her pregnancy doughnut throne, only to be screamed at for getting the wrong thing, followed be weeping over the screaming, followed by accusations of “you did this to me!” followed by 18 years of frustration, anxiety, and financial bondage just so the little bastard can grow up to tell a psychiatrist that you were a terrible parent. Yeah, no shit I was a terrible parent, I didn’t want you!
Oh boy… See, I told you I was an ass.
But I’m an ass that likes his reality just the way it is! Why play with a potentially volatile human chemistry set when things are already great? Why take on the unnecessary risk? Why can’t we just continue being happily, blissfully selfish, taking trips and buying things we want with no fear of PTA meetings or braces or “daddy, I’m pregnant”?
When I express these concerns to my wife, Bonnie, she laughs them away as nonsense. As if my fears are a unicorn or something. Mind you, while I may be an ass, I’m not a sexist, yet I have noticed certain applicable gender generalizations when it comes to the baby creation topic. For example, I’ll say I’m scared of not knowing what to do when it cries. My wife’s response, “Oh, you’ll just know.” I’m sorry, how is that an answer? And how can she expect me to believe said answer when, every time we’re out at a restaurant and babies are crying, those parents don’t know what to do to shut them up. Unless, of course, letting them cry it all out of there system is what you do to make babies stop crying, which is an absolutely unfair solution.
I’ve also tried explaining that I’m horrible with babies. Horrible. I would rather hold a lit stick of dynamite than a baby. Put a crying baby in my hands and I freeze up, mortified that anything I might do will result in the baby’s permanent scarring and brain damage. It doesn’t help that, whenever a man holds a baby and it starts crying, any woman in a 20 mile radius will swoop down on them, eyes a flame, talons extended, demanding, “What did you do to that baby?!” What about my permanent scarring and brain damage? A baby is a loaded weapon of excrement that could go off at any time. Knowing this, I’m still expect to cart it around like a World Series trophy that everyone wants to touch, and hold, and get their picture taken with?
Okay, alright, deep breaths, relaxing thoughts…. maybe that last example is just me being a little, uh, overly melodramatic (it runs in my family). I mean, crack-heads and teenagers and mass murders have kids, so surely I have the means and resources to handle having one. But, ironically, it’s those resources that are the reason I don’t want to handle having one in the first place. What about when I say to my darling, wonderful Bonnie that I don’t want to give up our life of financial freedom and social flexibility, the luxury of being able to come and go as we please and enjoy the fruits of our labor? That’s a legitimate, logical question that requires a legitimate logical answer.
Instead, the response I get is, “But when you see their glowing little face smile at you for the first time, it makes it all worth it.” And, from my few guy friends who have kids, it’s “Yeah, man, you just don’t understand it until you see it, until it’s yours. It just changes you.”
I can’t understand it until I see my own? It just changes me? Their glowing little face makes it all worth it? So, I guess babies are magical creatures that fix things and lobotomize you? I can aim their little face at the checkbook and watch it get balanced? I can stare at it and forget everything I’ve come to believe in over the last 30 years? Its mystical giggle power puts money into the 401k, and its messy diapers can be utilized as an alternative fuel source? Wow, Babies really are the mostest, bestest thing everz!
Give me a @#%#! break.
“Well,” says Bonnie, acting very serious, “Of course there are going to be sacrifices, but, just think of their little roly-poly leg fat and red cheeks and…”
And here is where I reprise the role of family ass. Where my eyes roll into the back of my head and the urge to drive a car over my skull takes control. Roly-poly leg fat is not a reason to have a child, not to me. I’ve told Bonnie that I do not find babies to be cute. If I had a choice between a baby human and a baby tiger (assuming it did not grow up to eat me, Bonnie, or our dog) the house would be full of tigers. I would be writing this with a tiger stretched across my lap. Besides, baby humans are ugly. They look like your thumb after you’ve spent too much time in the bath, and sport over sized, alien shaped heads. If they’re born outside of West Virginia, they don’t have stripes, tails, or the ability to purr. I see them all the time on Facebook, like everyone who has ever had one of the things is the first set of humans to reproduce and must preserve anything and everything it does for the good of posterity, and I find precisely zero of them attractive.
Sensing I was going to take more convincing on the matter then she originally planed, Bonnie tried to rent a baby. I say rent because, she thought that if I could test drive a baby—a good one from a reputable dealership— for an extended period of time, I would become more comfortable with the idea of having one of my own, and thus stop protesting. I’d not had a lot of hands on time with babies, and what time I did have, did not go well. Bonnie meant to change this, so, one perfectly fine Thursday was completely and utterly destroyed by us baby-sitting one of her friend’s freshly minted, roly-poly leg fat smothered munchkins….
To be continued…
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