"Americans used to say where there's a will, there's a way. Nowadays, it's where there's a pill, there's a way out." - - Burnt Toast

Once Upon a Prophylactic

I have a theory which I have shared before that states the inverse proportionality of population and intelligence.

It is being proved right now in my front office.

A third party listener who knew no better would assume that the progeny of these people were wild apes due to the daily discussions of school troubles, day care fiascoes, temper tantrums, gimme-gimmes, and general bad attitudes at home.  Apparently these replicants are disciplined by the rod (or belt) regularly, but this, incredibly, has had no effect on the feral creatures that are often referred to as "little baby" or "honey cutie" or some other such false advertising.

The last fifteen minutes have been a discussion of the poor behavioral incarnations of these mongrels which include incessant screaming and wailing when two of the poor, mistreated sots were recently asked to put away the video game, turn off the television, and proceed to sleep through the night like normal human children around 11:30 at night.  Incidentally, this confrontation turned into "an all-out-whooping" that evidently had no effect other than to ramp up the obnoxious caterwauling, hissing, lashing out, threats, and screeching.

I reflect back to a time when my sister was a new single mother with a child of about three -- my now grown and college attending nephew.  I had just arrived home to my apartment on a Friday afternoon after enduring one of the worst days that could potentially be perpetrated on a good human soul when my sister called.  As a side note, there are no short conversations with my sister so I steeled myself as I lifted the receiver.

Cringingly I uttered, "Hello?"

I heard a very deep and exaggerated inhaled breath then endured four and a half minutes of non-stop, stream-of-consciousness, angry psycho-babble which could have been summed up in nine words:  "I have an errand, will you watch my son?"  In the midst of filtering out the majority of the useless and uneeded hectoring I was able to divine that my sister wished to go pay a bill somewhere and her son wouldn't leave because he, the child, informed her, the adult, that he was busy watching cartoons and had no intention to leave home.

This of course didn't sit too well with me, after my day, after working 12 hours in the hot sun, after being yelled at by some very belligerent concrete finishers who were upset that they are, in fact,  concrete finishers.

My personality is that of logic and is a mart of efficiency and I quickly saw what I thought was a clear solution to my sister's dilemma.  Additionally, I was a tad irritated that my Friday evening at home quietly sipping Heineken was going to be interrupted by the intransigence of a 3 year old.  Not that I don't love my nephew because I do, but I was yearning for a quiet, existential evening of beer partaking alone.

I steadied myself and shared with my sister what I thought was the easiest way for everything to work out for everyone.  I quietly and without judgement said, "Well, maybe you need to make him leave."

In retrospect, I might as well have told her that she was a stupid cunt because it virtually had the same effect.  The screaming was volcanic and the noise of the slamming phone nearly shattered my evening for good and she didn't talk to me for a month because I had no business telling her "how to raise her son."  But in the end I knew I was right.  Sis would get her errand run and little nephew would learn a lesson about discipline and obeying his mother.

And thus we return to these office people.  I guess no manner of beating or controlling or yelling or getting in the faces of today's children does any good.  Has something been damaged in the DNA of the modern child?  I recall being terrified of my father so much so that the last time he ever laid a hand on my was when I was five years old and he caught us playing in the street which was a huge no-no in our house.  I guess that kind of child domination doesn't work any longer.  Or has something fundamentally changed?

I ask because I think I might have a child one day.  I am considering fatherhood.  I have a wonderful, compassionate, beautiful woman in the prime of her child-bearing years and hell, I'm not getting any younger.  But I pause and I think of this constant struggle between parent and child and I think, well goddamn what's the fucking use if it's going to be 18 - 20 years of battling wills?

Ask any parent whose child is not in prison and they'll tell you that it was the greatest experience of their lives raising children.  But I look at the strained grimaces of the people in the front office, these young, vibrant, but aging rapidly parents who are 5 - 8 years into this grand odyssey and I see a different story.  I see a 20 year prison sentence taking its toll.

I guess I'll just watch some cartoons and think about it some more.

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