Friday, August 26, 2005

Child-free But Still Paying

The future has arrived. Finally, the number of single-person households, and multiple-person households that lack children, out number the married-with-children set.

All my life, I’ve been told and shown how the majority gets to set the rules. Well, now I’m in the majority and I want some changes made.

Let’s start with the metal tube I’m currently trapped in, hostage to someone else’s choices of yestermillennium.

Because my lovely country has utterly failed its citizens in the provision of basic health care for all, this months worker strike is being brought to you, and unfortunately me, by the mechanics’ union of Northwest Airlines.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve hated NWA management for years. My sympathies are solidly with the strikers and unions. However, sitting on the tarmac for an hour with Rosemary’s Other Baby tenderizing my kidneys every four seconds does slightly reduce my pro-union fervor.

The union members say it’s impossible to raise a family on their income. That may be the case, but perhaps we as a nation should think more seriously about whether raising children with one’s income is the best way to spend it.

In fact, I’m devoutly wishing that the father behind me, who to his credit is valiantly and unsuccessfully trying to keep his 4 year old from kicking the back of my seat for the next three hours, had more seriously considered his decision to reproduce.

There are ways around this that, due to nouveau majority status for the childless, I wish airlines would consider:

1. Designate one non-stop route per day to the X most popular destinations, as child-free.
2. Charge parents extra for children under 7 (about the age where glaring works almost as well as a dope-slap)
3. Charge a small premium for child-free flights, too. Right now, I’d pay $50/flight not to hear “When are we leaving”, “Are we there yet”, and “WAAAAAAHHHHH, I WANNA SIT BY THE WINDOW” (repeat 12 times), ever again!

A note to parents of children under seven years of age. Please invest in the biggest package of foam earplugs you can find, when buying a public transport ticket for your drape ape. Offer them to all the people within six rows of your child. It helps the rest of us stifle the need to wrap our fingers around the neck of your anklebiter and squeeze real hard, after the 15th piercing shriek of frustration brought on by another unsuccessful attempt at “I open the window, Daddy.” Think of it as your little investment in world peace.

I’ve spent considerable time and money to ensure that my life is child-free, only to be assaulted by other people’s children every time I leave the house. Do I also need to offer retroactive vasectomy discounts out of my own pocket? There seems to be a large social need for same.

If you are a parent, the rest of us are aware that to you, your evil spawn are the cutest things imaginable. Do please retain the realization that to the rest of us, if they absorb their education and potty training, just might make the cutoff demarking “decent cannon fodder” for our next dumbass war. (Don’t go thinking I’m setting the bar low, either, that’s the highest it goes, pending an advanced degree by said child.)

My self-supplied earplugs have now expanded, allowing me to hear myself bitch. Ahh, relief.

There really should be a scientific study of exactly which piping, childish tones are liable to set activate homicidal fantasizing in unrelated adults.

Haven’t these people heard of Valium? Had I not checked my supply with my baggage, I’d offer.

Speaking of drugging children, I’m advocating a return of laudanum to pharmacy shelves. That’s what happened to children in the early-to-mid 20th century; they were simply opiated into somnolescence. Why did you think those nostrums were known as “Mother’s Helpers”? Mother didn’t take them, the kids did. Again, I was born too late for any of this kind of fun. Who were the idiots who decide this was a bad idea, and where can I spit on their graves?

If you don’t want to drug the kids, fine, bring enough opiates for all the adults within a 60 foot radius of your demon seed. I’m certain your largesse will be appreciated. You may notice that people no longer glare daggers at you in-flight, and you are no longer surreptitiously tripped on your way to the bathroom.

I remember “family” television, the “family” hour, “family dinners” and all that happy crappy. You know what? I ostensibly grew up in a “family”, and got none of that, except for the year I moved out when I was 13. There is no overwhelming “American* Family” anymore.

Let’s make new room and rules for the new majority. The American* single person needs some space, now that the kids have flown the nest. I think it’s about time, too.

*For the purpose of this article, I am referring only to U.S. citizens. My apologies to Canuckians and the populations of Mexico, Central, and South America.


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