Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't You Just Hate Children?

Okay, maybe hate is a bit too severe here.

How about massively irritated and ready to stare daggers of evil at the parents of the little monsters as they blithely let them create one awkward situation after another in public places? Is that fair?

In the next few days I will be handed a new title to go with my already lengthy list of titles (i.e. son, father, husband, brother, uncle, sugar daddy, defendant, etc.), the title of grandfather. Yes, there is a baby, little David, who is right now pointing his head down and getting ready to see the world for the first time, with plans to spit up on as much of it as he can.

I know many of you are probably shocked by this announcement. You are thinking “But Tom, how is it you are even old enough to be a grandfather? You are so young and boyish-looking in your photo. How can someone who is so unbelievably sexy and an obvious pillar of male virility and youthful exuberance be old enough to have grandkids?” Well, I understand your confusion. The truth is that my first child was born when I was still in 5th grade. You could say I matured early on. But that's a topic for another time.

As we prepare to welcome this little miracle of life into our midst, I have done a lot of reflection on the children that have come and gone throughout my adult life and it occurred to me that for the most part I didn’t like them. In fact, call it the early onset of “grumpy old man syndrome” or something, but kids, especially little kids, well…they just piss me off. Yep, I don’t like them, don’t want them around me and wish that we could dedicate a state or two where they could all go and be raised by the Amish or people like that for the first 10 years or so before being returned to live with us (and maybe build us some furniture if they find the time.)

I know this is probably a very unpopular idea, especially with you mommies out there that cherish your little (insert cute baby nickname here) and have those mad maternal instincts that turn you into a cross between a werewolf and the bionic woman whenever your baby is threatened with danger. But try to look at it from a man’s perspective (yeah, that never fails, right guys?). What may look like a sweet precious angel to you, might look like, oh I don’t know…a drooling, screaming, shit-beast to someone else. Just sayin’.

I am a guy who prides himself on being very patient with people and in fact worked many, many years in customer service. However, there are still a few things that push my buttons when it comes to children and their handlers parents and maybe you can relate and maybe not.

Children, and Especially Infants, on an Airplane

Do I need say more? Having little Jeremy alternate between raging tantrums and kicking the seatback from Chicago to San Francisco has got to be one memory I could live without. Running up and down the aisle aimlessly whacking the arms of fellow passengers while singing some song he learned watching Barney the purple dinosaur from hell? That’s another one. And as usual, the parents either just let it happen or are helpless to control the situation, often indifferent to the disturbance it is causing others. Could the airline make a special section in stowage for kids? Or administer knockout drops? Just curious.

Children in the Movie Theater

Okay, you’ve plunked down half your car payment for two tickets and refreshments to see a late screening of the latest 3-D blockbuster on an IMAX screen. And just before the movie begins you hear the faint, at first, warbling of some 9 month old baby just getting warmed up for all the exciting and visually stunning action sequences with large explosions, flashing lights and high-pitched agonizing screams. Yeah, babies just love that stuff, now don’t they?

Then you shrink down in your seat furiously cursing under your breath at the questionable intellect of people who would bring a child outside late at night to watch a movie, any movie, but especially one like this where you knew the kid was going to invariably have a full-on freak out. Then the realization takes shape in your mind that the next 90 minutes, which you had hoped would be a lot of fun entertainment, has now morphed into a new expensive and self-induced torture technique using a screaming baby instead of a waterboard. Do we, as paying customers of the theater, really care if the parents were too cheap or too broke to pop for a babysitter and would rather ruin the viewing experience of a few hundred people instead? Not so much. Do we want to key their car on the way out? Oh definitely.

Children in a Restaurant

You make reservations weeks in advance at a really posh and trendy restaurant. As the anticipation of a marvelous evening of culinary finesse looms before you and your date, the very last thing you expect to see is a couple with their out-of-control three year old son seated in the booth adjacent to yours. The whole evening has little Jeffy crying, screaming, running about the restaurant shouting and crawling under tables as waiters attempt to dodge the little hellion before they inadvertently drop a bowl of Vichyssoise on some unsuspecting patron’s head. And where are the parents while all this is going on? Engrossed in their own conversation about what color they should paint the dining room and why they don’t want to invite the Martins to go with them on their cruise to the Bahamas because they have that annoying baby. Meanwhile little Jeffy is using the foie gras as finger paint on the back of your new tan suede sport coat.

We've all been there people! We all harbor the secret desire to stick our feet out and watch little Jeffy go ass over tea kettle into a wall or something. Of course, here in California, that would lead to a lawsuit against the restaurant by the parents for not supplying adequate wall cushioning and a bean bag-type floor to cushion little Jeffy’s fall. (No doubt the restaurant would settle out of court for no less than $800,000 and the recipe for their Bolognese sauce.)

Honestly it doesn't matter where we are, in the grocery checkout, at the mall, at the post office or posting bond at the courthouse, children are just annoying sometimes. Screams of "I want that" at Walmart or "MINE!" at the drug store (along with the accompanied ear-splitting melt-downs) are a common occurrence. Who hasn't nodded in sympathy for the poor mom who's 2-year old daughter decided to pick a crowded doctor's office to roll around the floor screaming and kicking her feet until her face was a rosy red palette of drool, tears and snot?

We are all rankled on some level by the behaviors of young children and babies, whether they are ours or not. But do we do anything about it? Of course not. Children are like a pea-brained untrained squirrel that acts instinctively of its environment and can’t be blamed for their actions. But what about the parents? Well, some of them could probably use a good flogging, it’s true. Yet we are typically silent in this area as well.

Complaining about other people’s unruly kids is just avoided because it’s just not politically correct. There, I said it. It’s like a parent cussing out their own child in front of everyone else because he lost the 50 meter dash in the Special Olympics. Yeah, no one wants to see that. That doesn’t mean that we have to sit idly by as someone else’s kid pours bleach on our antique dining table or feeds liverwurst into our computer’s CD drive does it? It does? Damn! I better stock up on Scotch, then.

I guess if I survived fatherhood then grand fatherhood should be a snap, right? Just the same I am going to keep my eye out for you little Jeffy. You can't stay little forever. (demonic laugh)

"Hey! Stay the hell off my lawn! (mutters to self) Damn whipper-snappers."


  1. Brilliant! You so nailed it! :)
    Have you seen this:

  2. Oh my heavens. I so hate to say this but I tend to agree with you. I may be headed for hell...or at least purgatory.

  3. oh yeah ..... and congratulations Gramps!!!!

  4. Congrats, Grandpa! I am so with you on this post. I only took my kids to places like McDonalds until they were old enough to understand how to behave in a nice restaurant. I hate paying top dollar for a lovely meal only to have it ruined by the screaming kid at the next table! You can't blame the kids. It's the parents who don't control them who are at fault.

  5. Thank you all for sharing your comments with me!

    @ RA - What an awesome video! Everyone contemplating having kids should see this! Thank you so much for sharing, it is so appropriate!

    @ Marla - So nice to see you! I guess we're all headed for purgatory with you so at least we'll have good company! LOL! And thanks for the Gramps thing....I can't hear that enough ;0)

    @ Eva - I'm glad I'm not alone in resenting the presence of tiny ones at fine restaurants and such. I see you are considerate enough to know when it's a good idea and when it's not. I applaud you and thank you for sharing.

  6. Tom, I can handle a baying hound for a long time, but an irritable child grates on me after a few seconds.

    Warmest wishes to you and your family, and congratulations on earning your Grandfather title!

    Thanks, too, for staying in touch.

  7. Dude, I'm surprised you're out of high school, much less a grandfather.

    Children only do what they are allowed to do.

  8. A fellow grandparent...yeah. My daughter loves to remind me what a geezer I am. Congratulations on the grandson! I totally get the little kid thing. My friend has neighbor kids who such little snots that I affectionately call them "Little F***s". LFs for short. Kids in the theater are the worst. All that money spent and it was to be miserable. How funny though...I just posted on what I want my grandson to call me. I just don't feel like a grandma.

  9. Your irreverance is utterly hilarious. Yes, I am confused by your youthful, boyishly handsome photo. Your post and the pics almost make me hate kids. Since I'm not a parent, though, I'm not quite there. Congratulations, and grandparents should never be on diaper duty.

  10. Some parents are just a walking advertisment for compulsary sterilisation! I am SO in agreement with you here, there are some places that are a screaming no-go area as far as the little darlings are concerned, I mean, there are tons of more appropriate venues to air them out in, why inflict the misery on us? We've already served our time, we don't need to re-live it with theirs!

    Ps., Congrats on the imminent arrival, hope he gives you hell.

  11. Congrats on your new addition. You know we just inherited my grand baby. We are raising her. Other than the no sleep thing, she's awesome.

    We went out last night, just to a local burger joint. But there was a table with a SCREAMER right behind us. You could hear collective sighs. See people cringe and shift in their seats. I know I saw half the place cut eyes and dirty looks toward the table. Yet, those parents did nothing.

    No, it's not children I HATE. It's the fucking bad parents. Get up off your fat ass and remove that BRAT! Take them to the bathroom, take them outside, I don't give a shit. Just don't condone the behavior!

    Whew! I feel better now.

  12. Yeah, I'm a 4-time grandma, I can really relate!!!

  13. LOL. Thank you for reminding me once again why I don't want children.

  14. I'm with ya' brotha. Kids get on my nerves...and so do some of the parents.

  15. Well that's unusual. Most people who hate children wait at least until the sixth grade to start families.


  16. hahaha this whole post had me laughing. i work in a restaurant(one that is kid friendly)during the summer months, and its pretty safe to say that by the end of august, i want to vomit when i see even a pregnant woman, let alone a child.


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