Have you ever been curious about what I was like before I had kids? Or what I thought about kids when I was single and carefree? Well today is your lucky day!
Like most of you, I had a bit of a different take on kids and parents and parenting before I became a parent – I was not yet a part of the collective – and perhaps nothing I wrote encapsulates that different take better than this piece.
Hasta La Vista, Babies!
It may not come as a surprise to many of you that I hate babies. To clarify, I mostly hate Other People’s Babies, but since I have no babies of my own, all babies are Other People’s Babies. Lately, they are everywhere. And I hate them.
I happen to be at the stage of my life where kids start becoming a priority. First comes kissing, then comes marriage, then comes thousands of unsolicited pictures of fat naked babies flooding your email. It’s just the way it goes.
There was I time when I was a recipient of those emails. But not anymore. Utilizing my legendary flair for comic vulgarity and amusing rudeness, I unleashed explosions of expletives, insults and threats at anyone who sent me their baby pictures, rinse and repeat, until they finally stopped. It’s true that I’ve lost some friends over this reaction, and, tragically, but far less importantly, lost some friends’ wives. But that’s a small price to pay to hold off the deluge of emails featuring the indistinguishable blobs of flesh so many of my friends have deluded themselves into thinking I want to see.
Look, I understand having a baby is a big deal. And I’m more than happy to respond to an email or two and offer my congratulations at the news of a new kid or two. But, barring some exceptional characteristic, like an unforeseen ugliness or the ability to say “I Love You” like that dog I saw on TV once or maybe a prodigious member, I really don’t need to know much else about your kid until he can tell me himself.
In other words, until he gets a personality and a speaking voice, i.e., when he’s five, I don’t care. (Is that right? The age of five? To be honest, I don’t know much about babies. That stuff’s on a Need To Know Basis, and until I have one, I Don’t Need To Know.) No offense.
I’m glad the little parasite is healthy, and it’s a shame I won’t be seeing you much for the next 10 to 20 years, but I really don’t need to get weekly updates on your kid or a postcard with his stats (length? really? Again, if the thing is still so horizontal we’re measuring in length, wake me in five years), unless the stats are IQ-related (abnormally high OR low), Wilt Chamberlain-esque, or have something to do with your baby making me money. Barring those circumstances, the best I’ll tolerate is a yearly Xmas card featuring your baby in some embarrassing get up and/or riding a family pet. Actually, I’ll take any shots of any baby straddling a dog or cat all year long. You’ve got my email address.
Bottom line, your baby has got to impress me or he’s not worth my time.
Often, after I’ve let my incendiary feelings on Other People’s Babies be known, People With Babies or just People Who Are Morally Superior To Me react with smug annoyance and tell me that I’ll be just as bad as them when I finally have a baby of my own. I humbly submit that I will not.
For one, I barely stay in touch with my friends as it is, especially now that I’ve moved away from most of them, and if having a baby is as life-consuming as it seems, I’ll be even less interested in correspondence once I’ve spawned. Also, attaching pictures to emails is a pain in the ass, let alone getting them off a digital camera, especially when every single picture looks identical. I’ve seen pictures of roughly 200 babies over the course of my life and every one might as well be the same kid. I highly doubt I’ll even be able to tell the difference with my own kid. And finally, babies are boring. And when they’re not boring, they’re annoying. And despite the conventional wisdom, I kind of expect to hate my own babies, at least for a while.
They’ll be dumb, and loud and whiny and demanding and fragile and you can’t hold them when your drunk. Hell, you can’t even be drunk with a baby in the vicinity! You can barely do anything. It’s hellish! Honestly, leave Britney alone! She deserves a break. (Editor’s Note: I assume that was a then-timely reference to her meltdown? Who knows!)
So stop pretending you love your baby so much. All of us without them, and the honest among us with them, can see through it, so come clean. There’s no shame in admitting that, until they hit two or three or 10 years old, they’re little more than inconvenient pets without the furry upside and with really soft skulls all ready to be bashed just so you can be blamed for dropping one. Please, like it’s such a big deal. One of the greatest stars of the 80s had a bashed-in skull. But it didn’t affect his heart.
Sloth’s head may have been misshapen, but he was a hell of a good guy, a true friend with big muscles, a gentle soul, and a great personality. God bless him.
Background: This prenatal message was previously published on Intrepid Media, a now-defunct online magazine. It had a small but dedicated following, and my style was much the same as it is now: bitter, sarcastic, and something of a put-on, just less-developed and almost completely non-child related. I was a man, not yet a parent, so the topics were more varied, if you think ranting irrationally about things other than parenting qualifies as variety.