I have never wanted children. When my older sister was playing with baby dolls, I was practicing my hook shot. When she was cooing over some slobbering infant, I was hanging upside down from the monkey bars. When she got married and started giving birth to her own little sacks of phlegm, well, I really liked them of course. Just not enough to have one in my life 24/7/365/no-end-in-sight.
It's not merely my complete lack of mother-nuturiness. Kids are assholes. They cry. They shit their pants. They cost a fortune. They're like old people! Then they spend their every waking moment devising ways to incite their parents into situations where they have to explain bruises to the sheriff. Who needs that?
They don't even leave home anymore. They can't afford it. It's like they're single Italian men. Even if you're lucky enough to get one of the ones that will put down the Wii and get a job, they will never make enough money to move out. Of course, they have other bills. Beer, pot, poker, hookers. That shit doesn't grow on trees, you know. Well, the pot does. But these kids today - just too lazy to grow it themselves. They expect their parents to do everything for them!
Many of my friends and relatives have made the dubious decision to procreate and I have listened with great amusement to their tales of everything from peanut butter sandwiches in the VCR (remember those?) to failed Jackass audition practices. From visits with the police to teen pregnancies. Good times.
Most of them encouraged Aaron & me to have kids. "You'd be such great parents!" To which the obvious answer is, "Um - have you seen the act?" Clearly these so-called friends wanted us to be as miserable as they were. Now that we are past our child-having years, they all say, "You were so smart not to have kids!" DUH!
All through these many years, I have been smug and content, thanking the Vasectomy Gods for their good work here on Earth. And, like most child-free people, I am only too happy to tell parents what they're doing wrong with their kids. Many of my friends have become grandparents and others continue to churn out little miracles into their 50's if you can imagine such a thing.
Aaron and I have lived relatively care-free lives, responsible only for ourselves and our furry friends. When an animal dies, the authorities are not at your door and your neighbors don't look at you funny. Unless it's a kangaroo or a sloth--those are hilarious. And no, pets are not substitutes for the children I secretly crave. Although in a pinch, they could be substitutes for dinner.
So, nobody has been more surprised than I at a recent turn of events in which we (and when I say 'we' I mean 'I') are occasionally responsible for a 9 year-old girl named Uhaul. She is the daughter of a friend who has to make trips abroad for business. Three broads actually. Hah! He wishes...(Thank you, the old jokes are the best.) Obviously not much of a parent himself, he has been desperate/dumb enough to leave her in our care for days at a time. It's no problem for her since she speaks three languages and is smart, adorable, and sincere. Not being any of those things ourselves, however, it can be a little intimidating. She knows she's better than us.
I am learning a lot, however. For example, I didn't know kids were so uppity. They appear to have no idea how small they are in comparison to adults. Why don't they fear for their very lives? I could totally kick their asses anytime. Yet they continue to provoke and badger, like they have the phone number of Child Protective Services on speed dial.
They are also tireless negotiators. Wheeling and dealing everything from homework to playtime and ice cream to broccoli, they do not give up.
"OK, if you eat one thing on your plate that is green in color you can have some ice cream." Uhaul blithely pulls a booger out of her nose, flicks it onto her plate, then picks it up and eats it. Checkmate. After I was done with my bout of spontaneous bulimia she got a scoop of strawberry ice cream, which naturally she counted as a serving of fruit.
She grew up in Korea until she was seven, so she has lots of interesting food touchstones. Her dad whipped up a huge batch of homemade kimchi, but even the industrial sized airtight container it's rotting in cannot keep his entire refrigerator from smelling like ass. I opened the door and immediately lost my appetite. When I mentioned this to Uhaul, she took a deep whiff and swooned with delight. Some people smell ass, some people smell dinner. She also snacks on little dried fish complete with heads and eyeballs, chewy dried squid and a wide variety of rubbery gelatinous rice "cakes" which seem to be flavored with sawdust from a butcher's floor but which she insists make angels sing in her mouth. However, she is a carnivore first and foremost and thankfully has not tried to eat any of our dogs yet. I did catch her licking one of the cats but she swears she was just giving it a bath.
(Did I just make a racist joke about a nine year old? Hell to the yeah I did--she's not allowed to read this filth.)
The cultural exchange definitely goes both ways. As we got ready for the hot tub, (away from the prying eyes of "mens",) she was shocked that I had no panties on. "Liiiiiz, where is your underwear?" I told her that I rarely wore them and didn't feel it was necessary with pants. I explained that most American women do wear underwear in case their mothers were right about getting in an accident and having the doctor laugh at them. I threw in the fact that the queen of all that is womanhood in America, Martha Stewart, also did not wear them. When I saw her a week or two later she whispered to me that she decided panties were not for her either. I asked how she liked going "commando" and she said with a huge grin, "It's AWESOME! I'm out there, Jerry, and I'm lovin' it!" OK, I made up the part where she quotes Kramer. But she is pretty excited about the whole thing.
So yes. I did tell her it was OK not to wear underwear, but I forgot to tell her not to mention it to everyone she meets. Like her teacher, for example. "Liiiiz and I don't wear panties. Right, Liiiiz?"
"That's right, Mrs. Markey. Because if I had some on right now, I'd have to change them."
I knew there was a reason I did not have kids.
Posted on 5/1/10
To hear why Aaron Standish got a vasectomy before puberty, read his latest Unhireble column hereCommentReturn To ArchivesReturn To Merry Standish Standard Main Page