It’s that time of the year again. With pumpkins everywhere, some of them on spice, walking right up to your door to extort candy. They dressed up – dutifully avoiding offensive costumes – most of them with little creativity or effort, and they ring your bell or knock on your door and you are expected to give them sugary treats or you are the asshole.
I never signed up for it. Never asked for it. Never agreed to it.
But it’s ‘for the kids’ so – like everything else using that excuse – everything must go without any question or complaint.
This year I was ready though – I found the antidote. You can keep the little sugar-crazed sweet-faced sociopaths away from your door on Samhain eve by going door to door in your block earlier in the year, knocking on it and saying: “Hi, I live in unit 7. By law I have to inform you that I’m a registered sex offender.” Miraculously, none of the little shitkickers showed up this year.
That’s the thing with families. They demand that all of society accommodate them. All good if it’s part of a social contract, if they raise the next generation of fine adults. But they don’t. They raise purple haired Just Stop Oil protestors and Non-binary Asexual Furries with Dissociative on the spectrum attention deficit manic depression who study Gender theory and identify with Hamas. So I don’t know if the blessed and exalted family structures are living up to their end of the bargain – frankly.
I mean I hear about the centrality of family to stable societies, how it is a utility and a public good. But the proof is in the pie and the pie needs some more time in the oven if you ask me.
You see it in the workplace too. And the bosses fall for it. “I have to go pick up my children,” no one bats an eyelid. The net effect of that action is the exact same as me having a joint in the parking lot – but the one is exalted while the other is lazy and wrong. But why? We both leave our desks for the same amount of time and come back self-involved and distracted.
Or they say – I can’t work late tonight, I have twins doing debate club or spelling bee tonight. So off they fuck and we all have smile about it. I ask: So what? I have twins waiting for me in the jacuzzi, why do I gotta stay?
I saw a meme the other day contrasting a happy ass old school family eating around the dinner table, juxtaposed with a bunch of people watching TV instead.
Beautiful in theory, of course. Except that exact scenario was part of my – what do they call it – lived experience. Someone in my dirty bomb nuclear family domestic setup had the brainwave that we deserved to spend quality time together, you know, as a family.
So instead of having the TV there to distract us, I remember staying deathly quiet as I chewed on leathery dry chicken, terrified that either he or she is going to say something that will ignite the fuse and lead to all out war. Invariably, he or she DID say something. And the fight would break out. Then that leathery chicken would crawl down my throat as unwanted and unwarranted emotions exploded around me. I don’t think I had a single pleasant meal during my childhood, all because some pristine motive do-gooder decided it would be good for us to bond. I could have been watching the A-Team, instead I got to bask in the bowels of backwardness and bigotry.
And why? Because there is this fantasy that family is necessarily and automatically good. That kids are innocent by nature, that parents have maternal and paternal instincts and have their shit together, that the Almighty Himself automatically values relationships in which genitalia are correctly matched and therefore we all better fall in line, and that the head of the household is not a tyrant or a psychopath.
That is a lot to casually assume, I’ll tell you.
A friend of mine recently shrugged, saying that “Kids will teach you not to value nice things.” I replied instantly: “Yeah, and nice things will teach you not to value kids.”
It’s fine. Really. I know you love them and think they are cute. It’s just that I don’t necessarily share the sentiment, and unlike handing out Halloween candy, you can’t demand it from me. Fine. Love yourselves. But do it over there, behind closed doors, where I don’t have to see it. I’m happy that it matters to you. Really. I just don’t want to have to see it.
I encourage you to do a good job. Please – do a better one than the one that’s currently being done. Maybe then I can root for you. Until then, you can take the unfair systemic bias that supports your lifestyle choices and go do all of that drooling and cooing somewhere private so it doesn’t spoil my appetite.