Tuesday, August 02, 2005
Too Much Information
I give and I give and I give and I give and still it's not enough for you people. I tap away at my keyboard until my little fingertips get little tiny cramps in them all in the course of providing you with literally minutes of quasi-entertainment (or at least non-work-related attention-occupation) six days a week and how do you repay me? "That's all well and good Pops, but we think you should write about this or that or something interesting for a change."

All my work for such ingratitude. You know, when I was a kid there were no "blogs" for people to enjoy at all. No, we had to make due with Usenet groups, crude local BBSs and the semi-annual fanzine mailer from the Donny Osmond International Appreciation Society (if you were in to that sort of thing) to keep us occupied. Through ten feet of snow! Uphill! Both ways!

Nah, I'm kidding. I don't mind a little group participation, especially when it comes to the selection of blogpost topics. It saves me from having to cobble together a bunch of nonsense about a randomly selected topic, which we know is just going to end up a pile of crude vulgarities and lazy pop culture references anyway. So I figure if I'm doing crude vulgarities and lazy pop culture references anyway, I might as force them under the umbrella of a topic chosen by readers. That way I can be sure to offend and disappoint (at least!) one of you on an individual basis.

From yesterday's comments:

someday i think you should write a post about why you have kids. they seem like a huge inconvenience but you've made the most of it. i'm curious about this. i am afraid of kids, myself (my own future kids, that is). it would be nice to know how One Man Met the Challenge of child-rearing.

A sincere and personal appeal from kbryna. Sure, there's an undertone to the question that says "Can you find a way to make your blog more about me?", but that's fine. We're all bloggers here. We know from narcissism. Some of us even have a scale.

A second, similar request:

How's it hangin'? Can I put in a request for a post in which you mock your children?

This one is from Rita. She also occasionally wonders why some people find her brusque and off-putting, but really, we don't have the space today.

Taking both these requests into consideration, I have decided, magnanimous soul that I am, to share with these young people a small part of my (relatively) elder's wisdom. It's that or three single-spaced pages on the geopolitical ramifications of the death of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia.

What's that? You want the 'request' thing? Yeah, I thought you might.*

WHY I HAVE KIDS (and where I also mock them in some fashion)

by Pops

Let's all travel back to the late summer/early fall of 1998, shall we? It was a simpler time, a quieter time. America was at her grand international apex, before the Iraq war, before 9/11. The Grand United States (bestrode? bestrided?) the world like an ever-vigilant Collossus, securing global peace and harmony as the last remaining super power. Or at least it would have if all America's residents weren't totally preoccupied with questions like "Clinton stuck his cigar where again?"

Tech stocks were infallible. Food had carbs in it. Religious fundamentalists were fringe figures you made fun of. The good ole days.

And in the sleepy little villa of Mission Viejo, California, nestled in the hills of southeastern Orange County, safely sequestered from the sad community of meth fiends and trailer trash over the mountain in Riverside County, lived a dude and his wife in a grossly overpriced apartment too far from the freeway.

WIFE: When do you think we should have kids?

DUDE: I don't know. Let's just hang out for a while so that I might achieve everything I want to achieve, realize all my dreams and be a fulfilled, rested, complete person.

WIFE: I'm pregnant.

DUDE: Holy fuck.

And then we had a kid.


Ha ha, no, I'm kidding. Actually, I never know what to say when people ask me why we decided to start our family when we did. I was in grad school still, we lived in a 2-bedroom place that we'd already filled to capacity, we were living on one income from my wife's still relatively new and low-level position.

But we still wanted to have kids, so we did. Why? Because we were stupid. I'd always wanted to have kids. I'm pretty sure that if my relationship with my wife were to be turned into a romantic comedy, I would have to be the girl.

Another motivation was purely out of spite and revenge. My parents got divorced, so I made the very sensible decision to have kids as soon as was feasible so that I could then not get divorced and raise my kids in conjunction with a spouse to whom I was married. That would show them, wouldn't it?

Although I was only 24 when we decided to try to have our first kid, I went down the checklist of stuff I wanted to have done before I had kids and it was looking close enough to finished.

Finish puberty [check!]

Graduate high school [check!]

Graduate college [check!]

Finish graduate school [um... well, they gave me an MA as a door-prize on the way out of the PhD program, so that's a half-check]

Go to Europe [check!]

Get married [check!]

Get a job [no]

Buy a house [no]

Get a tattoo [no]

Star in a Broadway show [no]

Rule the world as an iron-fisted, merciless tyrant [no... but I did get into the Golden Key International Honour Society]

So as you can see, it was time.

Plus I was in a hurry. I kept reading magazine articles about how people in my generation were waiting longer and longer to have kids. This terrified me. I can tell I have lots of innate parenting skills because before my kids were even born, I was in a huge, huge hurry to get them grown and the fuck outta my house. Plus at the time people like Tony Randall and Larry King were having kids in their 70s and I kept doing the math, figuring out how old they would be when their kids graduated high school.

I started to apply the same math to myself and my wife and I told her "We really have to get crackin' on this... do you realize if we have a kid now, when he's 18 we'll be forty-two! For God's sake, get your clothes off, let's go!"

She figured it was a cheap ploy to guilt her into having sex. I'm not saying it was or it wasn't, but in May of '99 our first kid was born. And then the first one needs a sibling, so you get a second in April of '01. And then since you have two boys you want to try for that girl, so you have a third (boy) in May of '03. And then you run to the urologist to schedule your vasectomy, even though the Pope says it's a no-no. But he's going to die soon anyway, so you figure "maybe the next Pope will ease up off my back about this a little bit" and you take the chance.

In the end, I think having kids when we did was the right call. After all, Tony Randall is dead.

[Note: this should be an easy 10.0 on the Narcissus Scale, but the yucky self-obsession of it is tempered by the 'request' nature of the post, which means I am tending to the needs of my readership. So don't bitch at me about the numbers, OK? OK.]

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 5.0


*= Full disclosure: I don't know anything about the geopolitical ramifications of the death of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. The post would have degenerated into scatological puns, cheap shots at Scientology and probably ended with a(nother) desperate reference to Brad Pitt's dick. I probably would have ended up with a fatwa declared against me had I published it, so really it was a narrow escape when you think about it.


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