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On Children

July 25, 2016

Subtitle: If I had remembered my earplugs, I wouldn’t be thinking about properly cooked children.

In “A Modest Proposal,” Jonathan Swift had lots of keen ideas about lessening the burden of poor children on society:

“I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers, and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children sound and useful members of the common-wealth, would deserve so well of the publick, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the nation.”

Seriously, if you didn’t have to  this short, satirical treatise, go click on the link.

Click on it.

Go.

You know you want to. Seriously. My subtitle will make more sense.

And if you’re reading this sentence but haven’t read the work, shame on you.

Sub-sub-title: I don’t actually advocate eating children. Or any humans, really. Or living animal flesh in general. But that’s just me…

The original subtitle is a result of a concert I went to with FastCar*: apparently Melanie Martinez’s fan base is a screaming throng of 12-year-old girls. If any aspiring despots out there are reading this, listen to me: Build an army of tween girls, and send them screaming like fangirls up to the enemy’s front line.

*Note: Of course I’ve been sleeping with FastCar, despite my intention a couple weeks back to never speak to him again…but that is a different post entirely, not for today..

When you do. two things will happen: shock and awe, baby, all the way.

  1.  The high pitched shrieking will drop an army to its knees, much like an LRAD, but way more terrifying because
  2. Adolescents are, more or less, hormones with legs. There is no rational part of a 12-year-old, so when a thousand screaming fangirls are coming at you, shrieking to the point of tears with unalloyed joy, you will know true terror.

True terror.

Oh, and if you aren’t familiar with LRADs (Long Range Acoustic Devices), here’s a clip (if you have pets with sensitive ears, I recommend headphones):

x

An LRAD will shock and scatter a crowd, but as the clip shows (way to be the first use of the LRAD in the US by a military/police force, Pittsburgh, by the way…), an army would likely be prepared, as was the case with the police force in the clip (they’re also standing behind the device, which actually makes a difference, from what I understand. That’s where the visual becomes massively important.

I watched two episodes of The Walking Dead on tv several years ago. At the end of two episodes, I had to turn it off because my pulse was 180. That’s the kind of terror a front line of idol-worshipping teens will inspire.

Short story long, I went to see Melanie Martinez and really wished I had remembered my earplugs. Because I am a dorky adult who gives a good goddamn about my hearing, I wear earplugs at concerts. Hell, I wear them in all IMAX theatres (because apparently high video quality requires a re-fucking-diculously  loud soundtrack).

I don’t know that I will ever be selfless enough to raise a child.

Boom. There it is. The point of my post.

I can raise a herd of animals, sure, but I feel like I’d be a shitty parent. Like, if I smoke a bowl, I don’t have to worry about my cats or dogs cracking their heads open. With a kid… eh… that’s sort of something you have to look out for.

And I won’t get into the cold hard facts vis-a-vis what it costs to raise a child (not including college tuition, something like $245,000).

I’ve heard, however, that priorities change when you become a parent. But when does that change happen, exactly?  Does it happen before you bring a new child (birthed or adopted) into your home? The day of arrival? Two weeks after? I expect it’s different for different parents, but a very real fear that I won’t experience the Great Priority Shift leaves me feeling like I shouldn’t pursue adoption any time soon.

On the other hand, a glimpse caught tonight of a gay couple in their mid-teens stands out to me and I wonder whether  I have a certain responsibility to raise a tolerant, educated, and socially responsible human being? I feel like I have an obligation to raise the kind of child that helps a couple of guys to feel safe kissing one another happily in public without fear of verbal or physical repercussions.

Seeing that couple made my heart happy. With each generation, it’s getting better for the LGBTQ+ community. The progress hasn’t been without hurdles and setbacks, of course, but it’s getting better.When I was the age of those boys, I was busy destroying relationship after relationship over a not-so-irrational fear of being seen holding hands and, consequently, getting bashed to a bloody fag stump.Hell, I still worry about that. Even just a couple years ago, I nearly lost my mind when I realized my boss (and good enough friend) was very obviously watching me make out with someone at a bar one night (my boss and I frequented the same neighborhood bar; we weren’t there together). I’m still afraid to live without fear or apology as an adult.

What the hell kind of parent would I be to raise a child when I fear the world?

But here’s the thing: when it comes to protecting a child’s intellectual, social, and emotional development, fear be damned.  Unfailingly, my instinct is to protect. In some cases, it’s meant stepping  into physical altercations. In others, it’s meant speaking to a large group of workers during professional development seminars about how heteronormative bias affects at-risk LGBTQ+ youth.

Incidentally, the latter is much more terrifying because you have all the time in the world to…

  • Prepare? 
  • Write your presentation speech?
  • Dwell on how your coworkers are going to be judging you and/or exercising their apparently constitutional right to heteronormative bias by imagining you getting it on with another dude and by asking ridiculously personal hypersexualized questions they would never ask of anyone in the straight community?

Bingo!

Because, yup, that’s what I do. When I’m not pretending I’m an artist of some form, I’m out defending America’s LGBTQ+ youth, one corporate fucking speaking event at a time. I’m so very, very brave.

Yeah, I think I’ll go ahead hold off on that parenting thing a while longer.

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