Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Existing Vicariously

Existing Vicariously
©2012 Ross Williams

A disturbing trend continues to grow all around us. It involves the internet and it involves children, but it has nothing to do with porn.

It is manifest in people who name themselves, for internet purposes, mommyof3... for example.

Worse, such vapid self-identity has reached those of my generation of new grandparents, who willingly choose to be called haleysnana. First, ... nana? I would hope we’re kidding, but alas, I know we’re not. The term is grandmother, grandma, granny, or possibly gram. Nana and other such toddler-speak terms are not appropriate for adults to encourage among children – who will one day have to grow up and deal with the real world on its own terms. When you can work nana into the conversation at the staff meeting without eliciting giggles and rolled eyes, then we’ll discuss its validity. But not before.

An exception can be made for first-generation immigrants whose language has specific terms for grandmother and grandfather, and as long as the grandchildren using the terms are talking to them.

Second, what self-respecting woman of any age – in this day and age – is going to voluntarily identify herself to the public as someone else’s proxy? This isn’t 1953 when women were their husband’s inferior second: Mrs David Smith. Today they are Susan Smith with or without a “Ms” in front, and the existence of a husband is open for conjecture.

Closer to home, they are not Susan Smith but Susan Jones, and the husband isn’t even conventionally acknowledged, making him even more conjectural.

Society has relapsed. Adult women who would no more concede subordination to their husbands or fathers than to wear a burqa in public are handing their public identity over to their children or grandchildren, as if their only worth, their only purpose, their only reason for existence, comes from being mom2bret.

That may, in fact, be the case, but ... why advertise it?

And why select what is possibly the least promising of all proximal identities to be known by: one’s children? Children haven’t accomplished anything, except being born and [hopefully] outgrowing the habit of pooping their own pants. I can understand why someone would want to be known as Mrs George Clooney, or Mrs Barack H Obama, but mommyofcrispin? I know what George and Barack have done for us or, in the case of Barry Hussein, to us, but what has Crispin done that merits a public identity being married to his? Is he even out of diapers yet?

And face it, your darling little Kayla is more likely to grow up a prostitute, drug-addict, or life-long Walmart checkout clerk than she will a CEO, uber-famous Hollywood star, or game-changing politician. Did you ever think of that, kaylasmum?

It’s about this time that I’m told I’m a grouchy, cynical old fart without a sentimental bone in my body. “Children are wo-o-o-onderful” I’m scolded. No ... they aren’t. And if you had any, you’d know that. They are particularly not wonderful beyond the rather confined enclosure of the nuclear family they were born into.

There is nothing special about a child. Nearly everyone can make them, and most who can do. ...which explains why there’s 7 billion people on the planet, each and every one of whom has spent at least a decade being a child, and [sadly] some are into their third or fourth.

Children are messy, self-absorbed, ignorant, unsanitary, temperamental, selfish, ungainly and inarticulate. They have no patience, no attention span, no vocabulary, no self-control and no shame. There is no good reason for deifying children as we’ve done.

It’s not just parents doing this, either. Our laws deify children. Even [and especially] those laws which have nothing specifically to do with children.

We have started demanding that children be strapped into car seats until they’re 5’2” [which technically means that my first wife needs a booster seat]. “Think of the children!!”

We have federal budgets that are spending more in one year [six years in a row] than the entire nation can make in any three years. And if we don’t spend it...? “Think of the children!!” But if we do...? “Think of the children!!”

Children have nothing to do with any of it. Our budgets are built for special interest cavorting because the adults in charge, like children, lack self-control; and our child seat laws are made for picking the public’s pockets. But to a generation which has voluntarily stripped itself of its own self-respect and handed it to their progeny, such vacuous claims resonate like the Barney theme song.

A parent’s job is not to fill their children’s heads with unfounded notions of superness. It is to do nearly the opposite: you are not super until you do something that is super. Art projects from school are nice, but that’s it. Get your education, get more education, learn how to do all the other things that grownups need to know how to do, and then go do it.

That is super. Until that happens though, ladies, stop existing through your children. Be a real person.


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