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Will You Put a Leash on That Fucking Thing?

Posted by lifestyle On April - 30 - 2007

Eighteen Years is a Long Time to Wait for Something You Hate to Go Away.

By Daniel Ian Taylor

This week the NBC phenomenon Heroes returned to television, which is something I’ve been giggling and wringing my hands and chattering about since the show went on hiatus over a month ago. I’m so pleased that there’s a show that I can follow from week to week with genuine anticipation and glee, and I feel compelled to write this week’s column about what a fantastic program it is.

But that will have to wait for another week, because for the moment my commentary is needed elsewhere. With great powers of mordant observation come great responsibility, and so I must turn my irritated gaze back to the children of the world and portion out the stern retribution of which the gods have made me a loyal steward.

But first, in the interest of bouncing a single stone of the neck of one bird and into another, I offer an anecdote relating to this week’s episode of Heroes as means of sauntering casually to my point:

I always go over to my sister’s house each Monday to watch Heroes, because it enhances the whole experience significantly. My sister and her fiancé are both young professionals, and as such they have become very respectably domestic over the last several years. They have a nice apartment with hardwood floors and comfortable furniture and big windows and a nice view of the park. They have different kitchen appliances that do different things and two coffee makers and enough dishes to host dinner parties every now and again. They have more than one bottle of wine in the house at any given time.

Central to the heightened viewing pleasure of Heroes Mondays, as I’ve come to think of them, they have a flat-screen plasma television and one of those little High Def boxes and surround sound.

So needless to say I’d rather go there to enjoy my favourite television show, because they feed me dinner and let me stretch out on their big comfortable couch and drink one of four different kinds of coffee, which is considerably better than watching the show on my 80s television with the wood panel sides whose screen changes colour if you step too heavily on the floor. There is no surround sound at my house, or high definition, or delicious home-cooked meals. I don’t even have a fucking microwave.

As young professionals with lives that are falling nicely into place, and lemon zesters and wine glass cabinets and Tivo, they also have a cat. This is a fine cat of strong pedigree, who has had a good kittenhood and loving parents to raise her and lots of little toys to play with. She, too, is doing alright for herself, and has had every opportunity to do so.

That being said, she is a complete fucking asshole. She seems to have decided that two friends is all that she needs, and anyone else who comes into the house should get the hell out or be prepared to tuck their pants into their socks and spend their visit looking over their shoulder. As I’m a frequent guest there, she hates my guts.

As I was waiting for my nice dinner to be prepared and my favourite television show to come on, Turtle, which is what they have named her, was treated to a rare opportunity. After weeks and months of waiting for the moment to arrive, much like I had been waiting for my television show, Turtle found herself delightfully close to my face, which she has no doubt been waiting for quite some time.

Needless to say, she landed at least four good shots before being subdued, drawing blood from my upper lip, nose, temple, and the back of my neck, coming quite close to blinding me in at least one of my eyes, which I’ve become almost certain was the aim of her attack. As I covered my face and pitched off my seat, something occurred to me.

Now my editors are becoming concerned as they always do when I am approaching my word limit and have not yet come anywhere near anything resembling a point. Well, fuck them. I come to my point now not because they want me to, but simply because I have arrived at it.

The point is that I have now realized that I am a cat person in the same capacity that I am a people person. I like them, they are very nice and often fun to spend time with, but some of them are just assholes.

Sometimes nature and nurture and genetics and all the rest of it just goes flying out the window, and a cat or a dog or a human being is just a douche bag, just because.

And I’d like all of you out there in the internet to take this into consideration when you think about having children. Despite all you do, regardless of the upbringing you provide for your child, you may just end up with an asshole. Just because.

Couples are often seduced by the idea of the first few years when they think about parenting. They think of that squishy little amalgam of DNA, that sparkly eyed creature that is part me, part you, and then the decision is made. We’re having a baby. Oh, we just must.

The key to responsible planned parenthood is to think beyond the first eight years. This is typically when a child gains a sense of identity and confidence, when it begins to really develop its own character. Unfortunately, they’re still novices at having a personality, and they aren’t very good at it. Ask any grade four teacher. Nine-year-olds are, with nearly no exceptions, complete dickheads. They wipe their noses on your shirt and call you things like “poop nose” and make farting noises with their armpits. It sucks. Nine-year-olds suck.

Sometimes they get better. But sometimes they don’t. Don’t even start me on teenagers. And then you’re stuck with this little thing running around your house, wrecking your things and eating your food and making noise just for the sheer hell of it. And you can’t turn it out of the house or hit it or drown it because that’s frowned upon.

So just consider it. I feel like people thinking about parenthood think about the joys of coddling a baby, of throwing the baseball around in the back yard with their son or watching their daughter’s dance recital, the pride of seeing them graduate and get married. But before you dive into all that wonderful stuff, think long and hard about the possibility of your child turning out, for no particular reason, to be an asshole. It happens every god damn day.

And just like an asshole cat, you’re stuck with an asshole child until they turn eighteen. One dies and the other moves out and only calls when they want more of your money.

Will You Put a Leash on That Fucking Thing?

Posted by lifestyle On April - 9 - 2007


And when you let it off, will you make sure it’s in a soundproof container?

By Daniel Ian Taylor

I don’t go to McDonalds much anymore. I realise why they felt that they had to add a healthy smart choice value menu or whatever the hell it is. But it’s just not McDonalds anymore.

When I want a wholesome sandwich that is low in trans fats and carbs and all the other things I have never understood or cared about, I’ll go to Quiznos or Subway or some mom and pop operation that could actually give a good goddamn about my patronage. When I want to knock a week off the end of my life, spare my future self a few thousand raspy breaths through the ol’ oxygen mask, I go to McDonalds.

Or, I went to McDonalds, at least a lot more often than I do now. After decades of delicious deferred euthanasia, suddenly they’ve decided that they want to help me, they want to make sure I’m taking care of myself. Or they at least want to give me the choice. They’ve still got all of the old standbys I’ve always loved alongside their fiesta wraps and croissandwiches and alfalfa salads, or whatever. I don’t even know what’s on there anymore. I turn away in disgust when I look at today’s McDonalds menu.

You’ve lost your way, McDonalds. You were so caught up in your profits and your billions and billions served that you strayed from the path you were forging so courageously. It could have been you. You could have held my hand as I stepped through this veil of tears. Now it’s going to be DuMaurier and Canada’s Wonderland funnel cakes and loose women.

I wanted it to be you.

Oh well. Not all is lost. Though no longer my sweet angel of mercy, some of the things I’ve always loved about McDonalds have yet to fall silently into the fog of avarice and healthy living.

They still sell chicken nuggets by the 20 pack. They still make me feel smarter than I really am as they furrow their brows and struggle with how much change they’re supposed to give me from a ten. They still put bacon on whatever the hell I want them to, so long as I’ve got the extra 80 cents.

And they still have the Play Place.

My sweet lord. I fucking love it. They could go vegan and I’d still eat at McDonalds if they kept the Play Place. It’s just so perfect. Apartheid for kids and families. Give them a bunch of tubes and slides and little bridges to run around on, some tables for their parents to sit at and eat and talk about how bloody brilliant their kids are. And then seal it off with 2 inches of soundproof glass. My heart swells just thinking about it.

This is what I’ve been talking about, people. This is how our lives should be all the time. This is Progress. A big aquarium for children, one they’ll absolutely beg to go into. When they terraform the moon and only let MENSA members up there and weapons are forbidden and disease and sadness are but a fading memory, there’s going to be a children’s section with a low-gravity ball pit.

Nowadays they’ve even got videogame consoles in there for the little hamsters. All the better. A bunch of little shoeless zombies all lined up in a row, tilting their heads and lolling their eyes, completely sedated.

But the best part (and regardless of how healthy they manage to make a double big mac with cheese and double extra bacon, this will bring me back to McDonalds time and time again), is when it is “Time To Go.”

It’s always “Please Mommy, just five more minutes. Just five more.” I remember it well. I was the king of five more minutes. But sooner or later the good times have to end and you have to go back to your home that doesn’t have a Gamecube or a plastic slide or a carousel. Some children can handle this with grace and dignity. They put their shoes back on, and they get in the van and they go away. I like that.

But some kids will whine and scream and throw their French fries against the glass. They’ll run and hide in the tube slide, kicking at their father’s face as he tries to wrangle the little buggers with arms that just aren’t quite long enough. They’ll throw their shoes into the ball pit thinking that this will save them, that maybe they can live here forever if their mother can’t find their shoes, eating fries and McFlurries for breakfast every day.

And this is why when I go to McDonalds, I sit facing the glass at the closest table I can get, hauling on a litre-and-a-half of fountain coke, jawing mouthfuls of the biggest, greasiest hamburger that my health-conscious friends behind the counter will allow me to purchase, pounding my fist on the table and crushing the two apple pies I’ve ordered for dessert, laughing harder and louder than you’d think a man of my size is capable of.

Will You Put a Leash on That Fucking Thing?

Posted by lifestyle On March - 25 - 2007

On Dressing the Child.

By Daniel Ian Taylor

I’ve gotten to the age now where I can ask my father the questions that I was once afraid to ask. I was once too young, not yet ready to hear the answers, afraid to know such things. But now I am ready.

Did you love mom? Was I planned? Is Susan really your favourite or is it secretly me?

Even now, with a hardened heart of accrued disappointment and collected tobacco residue, I am sometimes unprepared for what he says. One Christmas Eve, when I was sentimental for years gone by and just a little drunk, I asked him what one memory, what single moment he would take with him from this life when the time came. Rest assured that it was so romantic, so idyllic, so positively filthy that my fingers shy away from the keys that might spell it out.

Other answers are less troubling, but no less difficult to hear. Perhaps because the answers are just what I expected them to be, and hearing them aloud finalizes it in my mind, makes it so much harder to swath myself in velvety lies and ignorance.

Dad? Why did you let mom dress me like that?

Oh, Son. Why do you think? Because I didn’t care!

That is a hard thing to know: That someone can love you enough to die for you, love you enough to set aside their own plans to raise you and guide you through life, yet not quite enough to make sure you don’t look like a complete fool as you trundle off into the world in a sailor suit your mother bought at Sears. I guess all of our fathers fail us sooner or later.

I often lay blame on mothers in this column, haranguing them for letting their children run amok at the hair salon, for hauling strollers into places they ought not to go, for screaming and crying and wringing their hands when the child inevitably wanders off and disappears into the crowded mall. You should have been watching him, you negligent twit.

But I call on you fathers now, for the sake of the children, for the sake of me having to look at them: Help dress the poor little buggers. Help pick out their clothes. Your wife or common-law partner or regrettably-fertile girlfriend is only going to mess it all up; it’s built into her.

Now I’m no Woman Biologist — and never once have I claimed that I might be — so I won’t offer any kind of theory as to why this happens. Is it instinctual? Is it hormonal? Ovarian? I can’t say for sure. I don’t even want to look it up for fear of there being diagrams.

All I know is that once the miracle of child-birthing has occurred, a perfectly normal woman, one with an otherwise keen sense of fashion and the ability to discern smart decisions for complete idiocy, loses a part of her mind.

Somewhere a gear slips off its axle, a circuit breaker flips, a spring buckles and goes sailing out her ear and into the wastebasket. A tiny man with a tiny clipboard and a tiny crowbar saunters into her head and starts pulling wires out of the walls.

So I’m going over your heads this time, ladies. If you’ve yet to have children, anything I tell you now will cease to make any sense at all once your first child is born. And if you’ve already had kids, it’s too late. You’re probably reading this as you bounce a toddler wearing a “Mommy’s Little Man” sweater on your knee. Your brain is probably systematically filtering my words right now in such a way that you don’t even realize that I’m talking about you. You probably think you’re reading the latest gossip from tinsel town. Enjoy that. I’ve got work to do.

So, Fathers of the World! Hear me! I know that you probably don’t care. I wouldn’t either. But you have to. You just have to. You have to put your foot down about the overalls with the little button-flap bum. You have to make a stand against the iron-on t-shirt transfer of grandma and grandpa. This is your legacy we’re talking about. Do you want a Barney and Friends advertisement slapped across the chest of your legacy? Do you?

And for those of you who leave the house dressed exactly the same as your son in those little matching outfits, right down to the identical ball caps and sunglasses:

I forgive you.

I know that wasn’t your idea. I know you were just sitting in the kitchen, minding your own business, reading the newspaper on a Saturday morning or a Sunday afternoon when you heard the car door slam and your wife appeared in the doorway with Winners bags hanging from each arm. I know how you felt as she crowed brainlessly “Look what I found for you and Joshua!” I know how much you hated her in that moment.

And I know how your heart sank as you turned away in disgust and caught your own reflection in the coffee tin on the counter, saw the thinning hair and the deepening grooves that time was carving across your forehead. I know you realized that you couldn’t go back to the bar scene like that, you couldn’t start doing your own laundry again, you couldn’t keep track of all the expiration dates in even the most modest of bar fridges. As much as you wanted to, I know you couldn’t turn on her like the rabid dog that you might once have been in such a moment, you couldn’t list all the hellish tortures you would prefer to putting that on and taking Josh to the park.

But it’s not too late. You can fix it. You can leave something behind that you aren’t ashamed of, something that isn’t ashamed of itself. Go get the clothes. You know what you have to do.

Will You Put a Leash on That Fucking Thing?

Posted by lifestyle On February - 4 - 2007


The monkey from Outbreak is running around the grocery store in a baby blue snowsuit and nobody seems to care but me.

By Daniel Ian Taylor

The woman who sits in the cubicle next to mine at work has two children, and she is annoyed… No…

No, that’s not the word.

She is genuinely incensed, livid, horrified that I have taken it upon myself to write a parenting column, having never been a parent myself. She thinks it’s disrespectful to parents, children, and the time-honoured social mechanism of The Family. She thinks I’m shooting off my mouth in directions I have never been. She thinks I am an irresponsible smartass with no right to be saying the things that I am saying. And she is probably right, but I am never going to let on that way.

“So we’re just supposed to carry the children everywhere we go?!” she exclaims, indignant and bewildered by my opinions on strollers.

“Yes!” I shout, accidentally knocking my stapler onto the floor as I throw my hands in the air, drawing frightened looks from around the office. “There should be some kind of obstacle course or something, and if you can’t make it through with a 60-pound bag of flour in your arms, then you don’t get a parenting licence and you’re not allowed to have kids! And it should be long, like it should take at least six hours to go through.”

She did not like this one bit, but there are a lot of things that we don’t agree on. She likes the terrifyingly warm weather we’ve been having lately, because it is easier to start her car and she doesn’t have to shovel her driveway or walk her dog in the snow.

I tell her that of course she likes it, because she isn’t going to have to live through the next 50 years, with the peak oil crisis and the melted icecaps and the nomadic bands of warring tribes and the extinction of polar bears and pandas and oh, what the hell, probably all the bears.

And she of course gets angry that I presume her old enough to not have another 50 years left in her, forgetting all about the bears and the world her children will have to grow old in, and making it about her and how she still looks good for her age and will live forever. I think that this is a predominantly female characteristic, this getting mad about being seen as old, but I would never say this aloud to her, because it is an opinion-based, gender-driven claim. And that is wrong.

She does not show me the same courtesy, however, and goes on and on about the things that I do and say and about how they are all caused by the fact that I am a man. And that is why I feel no compunction about lampooning her on the internet like this.

You shouldn’t have made those sexist comments about me in the workplace, Sandra.

For example, this week I have been quite sick with a very bad cold that I caught from — you guessed it — children. And I have been, I will admit, sniffling and sneezing and carrying on about how badly I feel. And this is, apparently, for no other reason than that I am a typical male. Evidently only men complain about their cold and flu symptoms. It’s a proven scientific fact. It’s in any medical text book worth a good god damn. Look it up!

And so. This week I’ve been sitting there, snuffling quietly and mourning the dearly departed good health of my poor little self, asking why oh why oh why, but every once in a while my sore throat and aching muscles stir a great anger in me, and I lash out violently at the thought of the grubby bastard that gave me this godless ailment. Sometimes you can pinpoint the exact moment that you contract a cold, and you think to yourself, “There it is, I’m going to be sick for a week now.”

Long story short, a child looked me straight in the face and sneezed.

So, every now and then, my coughs and groans give way to the grinding of gritted teeth and I spit angry words at the computer screen in front of me and Sandra is scarcely sure that she heard the words “filthy little fuckin’ asshole” float over the cubicle wall.

And she can’t help but ask “What is it now?” and that is all the invitation that I require to let loose on her, drawing the frightened looks from around the office that I am getting more and more frequently these days:

“It’s those wretched little fucks that gave me this awful disease!” I growl. “I hate them! I hate them all so much! Running all over the god damn place with their outstretched arms and slobbering mouths and their lolling, unseeing eyes! Like a bunch of little fucking Frankenstein monsters! Like a bunch of little Voltrons!”

“Who?”

“The big robot from Power Rangers!” I paraphrase this lazily, not wanting to explain the historical ins and outs of television shows involving robots that form together to make bigger robots to a 40-year-old woman. “And the germs are the people inside, working the levers and buttons and steering the kids wherever they want them to go! They’re like all-terrain assault vehicles for viruses to ride around in! That’s all children are!”

“They’re little people!”

“That need to be quarantined! For god’s sakes, you’re a mother! DO something about this!”

“Oh, so we’re supposed to keep the kids from leaving the house from October to April just so you don’t get sick?”

“Ideally, yes! Or at least contain them when they go out in public, so they won’t sneeze in my face at point blank range and wipe their gummy little hands all over the food in the produce aisle!”

“Like a bubble?”

“Or a hamster ball! Or just cover their hands and faces with plastic bags or something!”

“You want to tape a plastic bag over childrens’ heads?”

“If you’re not going to teach them to contain their interminable oozing? Yes! Yes I do!”

And that is pretty much that, and I am more or less left with my sniffling and muttering and occasional flurry of angry words, and Sandra says nothing more to me that day, except that I have a lot of deep-seated issues, which I’m sure she thinks is a typically male characteristic.

Will You Put a Leash on That Fucking Thing?

Posted by lifestyle On January - 21 - 2007

Chariots of Wire, Pt2

By Daniel Ian Taylor

Plucking out the final keystrokes of last week’s edition of WYPALOTFT, I leaned back into my office chair with a self-satisfied smirk as I hit “send” and it was whisked away into the vastness of the internet.

“Now,” I muttered aloud, swirling the ice in my whisky tumbler, “to wait for the accolades to come pouring in.”

While the deluge of letters over the last week has been nothing short of overwhelming, I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed and genuinely bewildered by the sparseness of the accolades. As my overflowing inbox will attest to, last week’s discussion of strollers and their place (or obvious lack thereof) on the public transit system has left readers with as many questions as it has answers.

Indeed, many a worried parent wrote in imploringly, asking “But what can I do?”

Though I work very hard to make this column a ray of warming guidance in the inky shitstorm that is parenthood, it seems my suggestion of “either carry the damn thing or put it in a backpack” was a tad simplistic for most sensibilities. Hindsight being 20/20, I admit that I should have offered a little more when it came time to give advice.

Few of you disagreed that strollers have no place on our subways and buses, and many of you went on to say that they should be made altogether illegal. This is a fine suggestion, and I really do like it.

But I don’t think it’s realistic in its practical implications. Although a beautiful thought, a world without strollers is one we’ll have to set aside for the time being. As long as there’s a middle-aged woman who’s rapidly gained 30 pounds from birthing a child, she’s going to look for something with wheels in which she can set it down and push it around. The stroller, despite the horrific growth and evolution it has undergone in recent years, is as much a part of our society as the toothbrush and the shoelace.

Let’s not fool ourselves, hmm? There are going to be strollers as long as there are babies for them to carry, sidewalks for them to crowd, feet for them to run over. And as long as this is so, there’s going to be some damn-fool twit who thinks that hauling them onto a bus or down two flights of stairs onto a subway platform is not at all inconvenient to other people. There’s going to be a lot of them. There always has been. There are right now.

So. If you absolutely insist on wresting a stroller onto the TTC, and clearly you do, I only ask two things of you:

One. Don’t run the fucking thing into my shins. I know you’re trying to get onto the bus or off the bus or from the front of the subway car to the back, and I’m trying my damnedest to get out of the way but it’s crowded and there’s not much room to manoeuvre because some douche bag (and I’m not naming names or pointing fingers) brought a god damned stroller along for the ride. Fuck off already.

Two. And this is even more important, because this is what really burns my toast. Don’t look at me like I’m supposed to feel sorry for you. I’ll move out of the way and I’ll give up my seat and I’ll even help you lift it up the stairs or off the bus.

But don’t give me that broken look, that “poor me, I have to deal with this bloody big stroller and it’s so hard” face. You’re the one who decided to drag a go-kart onto a packed bus. You can feel as bad as you want to about it, and you probably should because it was a really stupid idea, but don’t try to get any looks of commiseration out of me. It’s just not going to happen. I hate you so much.

Hmph. I guess there’s nowhere to go from there but away; my piece is said for another week. I’ve already told you why you shouldn’t drag your babywagons onto the TTC, and I already know that you’re going to do it anyways. I can’t stop you, and our discomfort and inconvenience is going to continue to pave the way for your laziness. So let’s maintain a quiet truce: Just don’t be a complete arse about it and I’ll probably be able to keep myself from wrenching the damn thing out of your hands and shoving it out the bus door as hard as I can. Probably.

Will You Put a Leash on That Fucking Thing?

Posted by lifestyle On January - 14 - 2007

Practical Advice for the Commuting Parent on the Go.

By Daniel Ian Taylor

I take the subway and bus when I commute to work. I don’t really like it, but that’s just the way she goes. It gets me where I’m trying to go and I get to be particularly self-righteous about this whole global warming thing that we’re going through right now.

“Hey man, I take the subway. My hands are clean.” But that’s not the point.Nor is it the point that if bird flu ever gets its act together, we proles on the subway are going to be the first ones to hit the dust, long before those who whip around in their little individual motorized bubbles up on the surface. It’s one of the compromises we make for getting anywhere we want to go in this vast city for only $2.75 a trip. We’re cramped, we’re a little claustrophobic, and we’re one good mutation away from being this century’s plague rat. Such is the quiet burden of The Mole People, I suppose. If we’d really wanted something more, we would have worked a little harder in high school.

But as I said, not the point. Nor is it the point that no one — no matter how filthy, crazy, drunk or violent they happen to be — is refused entry (provided that they have correct change). I can deal with them. They’re colourful. They’re dinner theatre without the safety net.

I can deal with the pushing and the shoving and the gangster teenagers from Etobicoke, with their bandannas and their gold rings and their fuzzy little moustaches. I can deal with being herded into a big metal container alongside 50 other people who hate their jobs as much as I hate mine. I can take the static mosh pit of dead eyes and apathy, the knowledge that I must look just as crushed to them. I can handle being a broken little heart in a sea of broken little hearts.

It’s the strollers. I just can’t take the fucking strollers anymore.

I know that I must come across as a real piece of work, accepting degenerates, jerks and hooligans into my heart and then turning to point a middle finger at single mothers and happy families. But this column isn’t about winning friends and warming hearts, it’s about saving the world. So go ahead and crucify me, because I’m doing this for your own damned good.

Maybe it’s not even the strollers themselves. Maybe it’s the laziness and the lack of priorities and scale that they embody, the incongruity of using a 35 pound carriage to transport a 14 pound child.

I don’t know if strollers have always been this big, but I don’t think they have. They seemed enormous when I was young enough to ride one, but so did most dogs. Things change. Strollers used to be collapsible aluminum frames with enough nylon strung between the pipes to support oh, say, a baby.

But no more. Today’s stroller has more in common with a hang glider than it does with its modest and functional predecessors. Three feet or more athwart, with enough supports, straps, buckles and snaps to serve an ambitious mountain climber, the modern stroller has been designed to withstand a direct collision with a mid-class sedan without waking its passenger. But the sedan will probably be totally written-off.

Let it not be said that I am taking issue with strollers because they protect children too well; I’m only criticizing the disproportionate danger that they pose to the rest of us. Should the brakes suddenly be thrown on a bus, subway train or streetcar, strollers of today’s size become baby-guided missiles, battle chariots for two-foot-tall gods of war. Few, if any, are spared.

I think that child safety is of the highest priority, yet we must be ever mindful of ourselves as well. Wise are those who know that children are our future, but fools are they who neglect the present. I’ll be the first to admit that children are our most precious commodities, let’s just remember that they are also a renewable resource.

Why should we give our lives to protect these indolent little layabouts, who contribute nothing to society, forever shitting themselves and boring into our precious reserves of apple sauce?

Enough about problems. Let us speak now of solutions.

When it comes to technology, the North American natives were pretty much caught with their pants down when Europeans arrived in the 15th Century. One thing they absolutely nailed, however, was the papoose. With this compact and sensible child-in-a-backpack, there was no need to invent the stroller. Just strap the kid to your back or chest and off you go. I see the occasional parent with a nylon version of this classic innovation on the subway and I smile a golden smile at them. Finally, I think to myself, a little perspective.

If there’s one thing I can say about parenting, it’s that it is fraught with solemn responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. You accept the endless responsibility of protecting a helpless creature, of sculpting a tiny mind, of nurturing something pure and innocent and completely dependent upon you for its very survival. And if you are truly willing to shoulder such an incredible onus for such a tiny life, you should also be ready to carry the Goddamned thing.

Will You Put a Leash on That Fucking Thing?

Posted by lifestyle On January - 7 - 2007

Practical Parenting Tips That Will Make the World a Better Place for Your Children to Grow Up In

By Daniel Taylor

Many times I’ve heard people say that they just want to make the world a better place to raise their children. They say it with an air of wistful nobility, as though they are setting off on a beautiful, courageous, endless journey. Like they’re taking up a lance and shield and slaying every awful thing that would ever dream of setting a scaly, clawed foot in the path of their yet-unborn child’s wondrous existence.

With all the pomp and staunchness of King Arthur pledging his life to Camelot, soon-to-be or some-day parents swear the rest of their selfless lives to tidying and redeeming and polishing up this bad old world of ours as though it were a treasured family keepsake passed down through generations:

“My great grandfather gave this to my grandfather, who gave it to my father, and when I was old enough he passed it down to me, and I’ve been keeping it safe and repairing it every so often and even making some improvements, and now I’m giving it to you. It’s The World, Son. I hope you like it.”

They talk about the planet like it’s a broken down old Studebaker that they’re fixing up to give to their child on his 16th birthday. And by God it’s going to run like a dream when he pulls it out of the driveway for that first butter-smooth spin around the block. If they have their way this dark world will purr like a kitten for their kids when they’re finally through tinkering with it.

As the author of an ongoing parenting column, I hope that each week I’ll be able to offer advice to all you parents and expecting couples out there that will be of some help with this most righteous goal, this most gracious of quests.

But before we begin, I feel the need to set a few things out on the table from the very beginning, just so we’re all on the same page, and so that I’m not repeating myself each week. More than anything else, I feel I should make this confession before we get too far into things:

I don’t have any children, nor have I ever had any in the past that died or were given away. I’m not a seasoned parent, and I have only the most cursory of experience in dealing with children. As a teenager I was a sub-par babysitter and as a child I was a terrible older brother.

I have three nieces and one nephew and they all adore me, but that’s only because I get drunk at family gatherings and yell and sing and chase them around and feed them ice cream with no regard for spoiling their dinner or ruining their health because they really aren’t my problem.

I also don’t plan on having any children, ever. I would consider adopting a child from Africa or China, a child that could really use a hand, but I would never bring a new life into this world because I think it’s one of the most morally unconscionable things a person could possibly do, because this world is seriously fucked up and it’s no place for kids.

Furthermore, I think that many of the world’s greatest problems, like war and overpopulation and famine and environmental strain are caused or at least seriously exacerbated by people who keep having children with no consideration for anyone but themselves. People just like you.

You want a little version of yourself, a minor legacy. A toddling, slobbering, screaming DNA capsule to leave behind when you die. And I understand that. It’s an instinct that’s rooted deep inside you; it’s a need for some sense of permanence, some small indicator that you were here. I can appreciate what you’re trying to do. Why, just the other day I wrote my name in wet cement, and it’s just as rewarding as you say it is.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t like you, and before I start doling out advice on how to raise your children I thought you should know that. I think that you’re what’s wrong with the world that you so nobly want to fix and protect. I feel it’s only appropriate and respectful to be completely honest from day one and to tell you that I can’t fucking stand you or those little bastards that you drag around with you.

With that said, I hope that this column is a great source of guidance for those of you with children, those of you expecting a little bundle of joy, or those of you considering them in the future. If you insist on dragging another life kicking and screaming into this shitstorm of a world, which you are only making worse by adding another greedy mouth to feed, I hope this column will, if nothing else, make sure you do it with a little tact and consideration for the rest of us.

Tune in next week for my segment on Strollers and Why You Should Keep Them the Hell off the Subway for Christ’s Sake.

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