Monday, January 9, 2012

An Open Letter to Selfish Jackasses

Dear Young Couples of the World:

You have to start thinking. Really. 

I'm not going to hit you with my cosmic beliefs, though they are pretty firm. I'm not going to talk about religion. I'm not going to define marriage. But I am going to ask you to stop being a bunch of selfish jackasses.

You believe what you believe about marriage -- a blog post isn't going to change that. You either think marriage is sacred or you don't; and whether you believe it is meant for only certain people or whether you believe a person should be allowed to marry anyone or anything in the world, you have to start really considering one thing: commitment (especially as it relates to having babies).

You can dance around a blazing fire chanting phrases to pagan gods or you can simply make an appointment with the county clerk for a quick procedure and the signing of some papers. You can do the church thing with the priest or the rabbi or the medicine man or the shaman. You can perform a little ritual in front of a statue of Yoda. All of these are acts of commitment between two people. The worth you put on the process is up to you. But, at the very friggin' absolute least, sit down with two cups of coffee and make solemn promise to each other, in the privacy of your own home, and with goldfish as a witness, that you will stay with each other forever.

Just commit before you take the giant plunge into parenthood.

But please, I'm begging you, don't talk about how you are not ready for the commitment of marriage and then move in with each other and start squeezing out babies whose lives are based on the fact that you just thought it would be cool to have them. That is ego-centric. That kind of thinking makes you a selfish hog, in my humble (and ever delicately stated) opinion.

One thing I'm not backing down from is this: You have kids so you can give stuff to them, not so they can validate your worth and purpose as a person. Children are not a hocus-pocus, nine-month incantation to transform you into someone else's most important counterpart.

My dear parents, Dale and Sue. Okay, not really.
Let me put it into perspective for you: I loved changing my kids' diapers. No, I'm not a lover of exquisite stenches and I have never been particularly fond of fecal matter on my sleeves -- or, well, we have boys and sometimes their aim is astoundingly accurate. No, I was not a fan of the diaper-changing process. But few things in my life have matched the feeling of having watched the little dudes scuttle away all clean and comfy. Loved it.

So, yeah, I guess you can say, if you want, that I did, to some extent, have kids for me. Okay. We'll call it "the selfish rewards of altruism." Helping them made (and makes) me happy. You got me.

"But Chris, you arrogant, self-important bunghole," someone out there might say. "This and that and the other thing happened and I had children without commitment. Are you calling me selfish?"

Maybe. But maybe not. I'm always preaching on this site about how most things are more complex than we can imagine. I'm not going to lump you in with a group, even if you did call me an arrogant, self-important bunghole.You did what you did. Passion overwhelmed you or synthetic barriers let you down. Maybe you committed, but he or she didn't, and now you have a child to take care of.

Maybe you stood up, confident and proud, and decided you wanted to get pregnant and you didn't give a hoot who did the deed -- as long as you got pregnant. Not my cup of tea, but you did what you did.

Forget the rest. If you have the kid, take care of the kid. Commit to building a foundation for his or her life. That's your job now. You signed the contract when you rolled onto the dance floor for the horizontal cha-cha. So it goes.

Whatever the case, this letter is addressed to the people in the paragraph above that begins with "But please . . ." It's addressed to those who want to play house for a little but who produce little people who are quite permanent.

You who just want build the castle without lifting the blocks; who want to steal all of the pretty trappings of commitment without shelling out the cash for them . . . you're selfish jackasses and I'd like you to stop reading my blog now, because I only write for people who think about the world around them, not for those who think about how the world flows around them. Just get a pet. It'll love you unconditionally and you only have to commit to ten, maybe fifteen years.



No comments:

Post a Comment