Apologies for the delay in the story started earlier this week. I promise I’ll get around to it again over the weekend. I’m too bloody knackered and pressed for time to pick it up right now, however. Sorry, and thanks.
Initially I thought of entitling this entry “Why I”ve Decided Not to Have Children,” but then opted for the more direct, punchier alternative.
First of all, before I say anything else, as a disclaimer, let me point out that children are absolutely wonderful, and delicious when sauteed in butter and garlic. Even yummier than the spicy rabbits’ heads now all the rage in China (no joke–just ask the New York Times).
My wife wants to have children. Whenever I let her have her way, it’s game over for Mr. Stew. No can do. She wants to have kids? More power to her. Maybe she can persuade Simon Cowell to knock her up. I should warn her that his man boobs aren’t as advanced as mine, and I know deep down they’re the main–if not the only–reason she married me. Can’t say as I blame her.
Having children matures you? So does death. People who decide to have kids always say they wouldn’t trade their decision for the world. Come to think of it, neither would I: the world’s a piece of shit. I’ve already sacrificed enough freedom by getting married. For all I know, Kurt Cobain’s last words to his wife Courtney Love might have been “Thanks in advance for pulling the trigger.” (Not that I think he wanted to die; the poor guy was probably murdered–not that I was there, or that you should take my word for anything.)
Children demand love and attention. You know what? So does just about everyone else you meet. Luckily, there’s no law of either civilization or nature that says you have to engage in conversation with every stranger you meet, and most people in public these days move around like self-sufficient robots. But sill, we human beings are emotionally needy creatures who hunger for companionship. At least I know I am and do, inveterate curmudgeonliness notwithstanding.
The human race is doomed. I’ll speak for myself in saying this. But if you’ll allow the solipsism of one guy mistaking himself for seven billion people, as far as I’m concerned, when I go, everyone else goes to. I don’t mean to suggest that I’m planning to blow up the world with a secret one-trillion megaton bomb built into the ballpoint pen in my shirt pocket, but I do mean that since I was born, enough things have been getting worse enough to almost convince me that our kind has no future to speak of beyond an increase in hardship, suffering, struggle, and all that hoopla. The idea of compounding the problem by bringing more of us into the world seems futile at best, a naive, optimistic fool’s errand.
I teach children for a living. Too much of something you like is never a good thing, and in my role as a teacher of Korean elementary students, I’ve learned that some kids will do everything in their power to drain you of your last drop of energy. I’m not sure they even do it on purpose; maybe it’s that demand for love and attention referred to above, only expressing itself in perverse and hyperbolic ways.
It costs too much money. The only reason most of us work is to make enough money to survive, and I’m no exception (even though at those times I’m unemployed, I feel like that much more of a loser. So it’s slavery or isolation–take your pick). When it comes to finances, my wife is a bungling Nazi worthy of the Hogan’s Heroes cast, and I know that if we had a kid, she would “have to” give that much more to the church in order to ensure our progeny’s continued well-being from now to eternity.
I’m too old, and would probably make a lousy father anyway. I’m pushing fifty and my wife is over forty. The likelihood of giving birth to a child with Down’s Syndrome or autism is that much greater, and if we did I don’t know if I would have the stamina needed to both empathize with the child and pursue what’s left of my dream to write. May I please borrow Mr. Kurt Cobain’s shotgun?
None of this is to imply that those who would like to have children shouldn’t–do whatever the hell you want. It’s your life, for Christ’s sake, and I’m not going to live it for you. Or that people who’ve already opted to have kids are for any reason the poorer for it. I’m grateful to my parents for my accidental creation, and I hope I wasn’t too much of a nuisance to prod into adulthood.
As for my wife, she could still talk me into it, as shocking and horrible as that sounds. But I think she’d be better off adopting with some other Christian yahoo instead of wasting the rest of her life with me.
Amen to the max, brothers and sisters.