Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children!?

From The Simpsons. You should be ashamed if you didn't know that already.

This week’s DPchallenge is about children. Specifically, they asked how I feel about children all up in adult-oriented places.

From The Simpsons. You should be ashamed (or not American) if you didn’t know that already.

I don’t have children. I don’t want children. I don’t even particularly like children. They’re loud, messy and they can’t even tie their shoes. For some reason, they always stare at me; I always lose staring contests with children. They seem to like me. I’m not sure why since the feeling isn’t really mutual.

I especially don’t like babies. Babies are jerks. They’re fat, ugly fleshblobs that don’t do anything besides cry and poop. They add nothing to the economy and they are totally helpless without us. They would die if we didn’t shove boobs in their mouths. It seems a very inefficient way of creating the next generation to me. We should probably grow them in crèches and hand them out to deserving parents once they’re old enough to use the bathroom by themselves. If you handed me a baby, I would hold it at arm’s length as if you just handed me a stinking bag of turd bombs and vomit, which is basically what they are. I wouldn’t recommend handing me a baby.

To make doubly sure that the answers to this week’s challenge are especially contentious, The Daily Post attached an argumentative poll:

As much as I just described how I think human offspring under the age of however-old-they-are-when-they-use-the-toilet-on-their-own should be sequestered away from proper society, I’m not answering that poll because I don’t agree with either answer.

First, let’s take the second. “Kids are people too.” No, they are not. They are not people; they are kids. There’s a very valid reason that minors can’t vote, hold a job, own a firearm, drink, drive or drink and drive: they can’t handle it because they are children. There’s no way that you can trust a baby to behave in an expensive restaurant when its entire job is screaming, napping, pooping, crying, eating 1/74th of the food that it’s given while vomiting, throwing or smearing the rest of it all over themselves and everything close at hand. It’s just not going to happen. Kids are jerks. Without adults telling them what to do, they’d run feral in the streets crapping on lawns and chewing on everything, because that’s what they do without adult intervention. They’re like puppies; everything goes in the mouth.

“Yo, Mom, I’m dyin’ over here.”

When I was a baby, they nicknamed me paint palette because I cried all the time and my mouth formed the shape of a, you guessed it, paint palette. My parents were so very clever. Tee hee. Anyway, I was an asshole and could not be taken out in public. It turns out that I had pneumococcal meningitis and my brain and spinal cord were being attacked by an infection. I was literally dying, which is why I would not shut the fuck up, like, ever.  After however many months in intensive care, I was sprung from the hospital and able to rejoin polite society. My point is, I was a noisy jerk and my parents didn’t take me out to dinner.

Pffft. Her look isn’t as good as mom’s.
Medusa, Gianlorenzo Bernini, c. 1640.

Once I recovered from death, they could take me out in public. If I acted up and was still too young to appreciate the consequences, my mom would take me outside until I got over whatever little bitchfest I was having. When I got a little older, I knew what was expected of me before we set foot inside a restaurant. There would be no screaming, arguing, punching my sister, throwing food, terrorizing the customers or generally doing anything mom didn’t like. If we did any of these things, mom would shoot us a Medusa look that would turn us to stone and we knew we were in for it when we got home. My sister and I always behaved in restaurants. My mom understood that she was ultimately responsible for our behavior. We understood that if mom was unhappy with our behavior, we would be unhappy, because unhappiness rolls downhill. There were consequences.

“They should be welcome where an adult is welcome.” No, they shouldn’t. It’s not a restaurant, movie theater or strip club’s job to decide what and where is appropriate for children. As a parent, it’s your job to decide what is appropriate for your child. If your child is well-behaved like my sister, then by all means, take them to a restaurant. I might even smile at it and comment on how well-behaved your child is. If your child is suffering from a not-yet-diagnosed semi-fatal disease like me, or is a little psychopath that insists on crawling around under tables and grabbing people’s hair (that has actually happened to me in a restaurant and a movie theater before), I might suggest you get take-out food until such time as you can develop a look like my mom’s and the child understands the doom that it portends.

Moving on to the second poll answer: “Part of why I go to a nice restaurant is for the ambiance and to spend time with other adults.” No. Adults are assholes, too. When children act up in restaurants, I don’t blame them; I blame the parents. Children don’t know any better. Their entire purpose is to push boundaries. That’s how they learn. So, when a child is crawling around on the floor of a restaurant and the mom acts as if she didn’t spew forth that child from her lady parts, it makes me angry. You decided to have the child, it is your job to teach it the way of the world. The way of the world involves consequences and not being an asshole.

However, that applies to a lot of adults, too. I’ve gone out to eat and have been disturbed by fully grown adult humans who talk loudly on cell phones, act rudely to waitstaff or pretend no one else is around them. Excuse me, Mr. Entitled Jerkwad, how about you learn not to be an insensitive twat and shut the hell up for once? Obviously, Mr. Entitled Jerkwad’s mother didn’t have “the look.”

I don’t go to nice restaurants for ambiance or to spend time with adults. I go to restaurants to eat, because I’m hungry and too lazy to cook. I am basically a reclusive misanthrope, so all of you are ruining my experience. All of you. The only difference between Mr. Entitled Jerkwad and a misbehaving child is that Mr. Entitled Jerkwad is slightly less likely to crawl around on the floor and pull my hair, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

“Get a baby-sitter.” No. That’s not right either. Babysitters are expensive and sometimes unreliable. I was a babysitter as a teenager. After reading this, would you trust me with your child? Exactly. It’s not fair to parents to expect them to get a babysitter every time they want to eat and not have to cook. If they want an hour to themselves to eat without peas being flicked into their hair, a babysitter is great, but you cannot expect all parents to hire babysitters all the time. That is exactly why family restaurants exist. If I see a restaurant named “Mama Mamie’s Family Restaurant,” I know that place isn’t for me unless I’m alright with children present while I eat. If I see a restaurant called “Monsieur Swank’s Restaurant de Fancé Pants,” I’m going to assume that there aren’t any children in there. If there are, and they are well-behaved, I don’t have a problem with that. I will, however, try to get a table as far as possible from yours just on the off chance that you haven’t perfected “the look.”

Neither answer to that poll is correct. The fact is, parents should know their children better than anyone. You know how well-behaved they are and how long they can reasonably be expected to stay that way. It all boils down to judgment and using the best of yours. Good luck!