Becoming My Father

One of the more annoying and awkward moments of my life was watching the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards with my dad.  We had two cable-ready televisions in the house, and I guess my mother was watching the other one.  So I had to endure three hours of my father’s ongoing social commentary during the show.  Here was a show that featured performances of bands I actually wanted to watch: Def Leppard, U2, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and, most importantly, Guns N’ Roses, yet my father had to interject himself every thirty seconds to express his contempt and disgust for what was happening on screen – except for Eric Clapton performing “Tears in Heaven,” because evidently Eric Clapton was the only artist who had debuted since Django Reinhardt that didn’t draw my father’s ire. Continue Reading


Hating Kids Because of the Parents

One of my favorite blogs on this web tubey thing called the Internetz is Unsuck DC Metro.  As someone who has had to deal with Metro just about every working day of my life and then some, it’s fun to have a place to vent my frustration with its life-force sucking inefficiency.  Yesterday there was a post about a woman who not only changed her child’s diaper on the bus, but also left the dirty diaper under her seat after she left.  As I said in the comments the first act is somewhat forgivable, but leaving the diaper behind is both disgusting and unsanitary.  As a parent I sympathize with moms who find themselves in, ahem, sticky situations and feel that they have to deal with the diaper situation immediately.  Diaper rashes are no fun, and having a kid stick up the bus with its filled diaper isn’t good for anyone.  The mother ought to have gotten off the bus to find a more appropriate spot to change the diaper, but sometimes we all do things without thinking.  But a dirty diaper left behind on a hot bus is truly repugnant.

About ten comments down someone named “KVM” defends the decision to change the diaper on the bus while condemning the leaving behind of the diaper.  What follows was one of those 30+ comment threads that makes you weep for humanity.  I think that KVM is wrong, but some of the comments were truly disgusting.  A sampling:

Attack of the Mombie! No one is safe except her f**k trophy!

Yes yes, you were the one who made the choice to become pregnant and now the world starts and stops for you? [In reply to KVM’s complaint about people not giving up their seat to her while pregant.]

Fine fine…you say that your kids are all professionals, but what is it that YOU’VE done? Did you mary rich and then pop out a few kids? Not impressed…

Most of the comments in reply were more respectful and I think they were right in chiding the mother, yet another posted a link to this website.  It’s a compilation of facebook threads involving parent comments that annoy the blogger.  Some of the threads do involve rather obnoxious comments, others, though, are of a much more innocent variety.  Perusing the blog a bit leaves one with the impression that the blogger just doesn’t like other people ever talking about their children.

What drew my attention to these comments was how much they bristled with hostility to children.  It’s one thing to get annoyed by parents doing stupid things, but these individuals seem genuinely contemptuous of the very idea of bringing children into this world.  The first comment cited above in particular is truly disgusting.  From comments like that it’s easy to see why we still have a long ways to go before we fully instill a culture of life in this country.  Children are seen as annoyances instead of blessings, or as a certain president once implied, punishments.

And as for the blog I just mentioned, I really don’t get it.  I only joined Facebook less than a year ago, but I don’t imagine that pre-fatherhood I would have been annoyed by my friends talking about their children.  First of all, if you don’t want to de-friend them you always have the option of simply clicking off their news feed so you don’t have to read any more of their status updates.   More importantly, don’t you kind of want to know what’s going on with your friends’ kids?

All parents run the risk of being overly obsessive about their children to the point that they sort of blot out other considerations.  I personally don’t feel the need to invoke my children* in every single discussion I have.  But my kids are pretty important to me, and they’re certainly a hell of a lot more to me than some “f#$% trophy.”  As a parent I do my best when out in public with my daughter to make sure she’s not a nuisance to anyone – which is pretty much why we don’t go to any public places.**  All I ask is that you don’t treat their mere existence as inconvenience to your perfect little world.

*-With due date approaching for child number two I feel comfortable using the plural.

** – I once observed that people generally smile when they see small children out in public, the solitary exception being airports.  There people avert their glances, presumably praying that you and your child will be on another flight.