Hi Unit Parental!
Wow, savage! I live in Perth, Australia and a friend living in New York forwarded me your blog, and I read it all in one sitting. It was riveting reading – the same sick fascination as watching a car crash! I do have a question. Has your wife read it and is she still speaking to you? And have you thought about the fact that it will live on in cyberspace and that your son (the Life Force Sucker) will almost certainly read it some day? When’s the next installment?
It is very spot on with observations which most people would have trouble admitting to themselves let alone the world. Most people cope by rationalization. They delude themselves that having a child is great and they’re not missing out on anything and ignore any evidence to the contrary, happy in their self-delusion. It’s a great human adaptation for coping with bad situations that you can’t change. I lived in Canada for two years, for example, and I remember some Canadians who wear shorts in subzero weather. They’re actually catching hypothermia but their brain refuses to admit it. There’s also this other great evolutionary adaptation which causes your brain to preferentially remember the good things about child-rearing and discard the bad memories as you get further away from them – otherwise no one would ever have a second child.
I hope you don’t mind a little advice, but I think you have to move to the suburbs. It’s a lot easier to maintain the self-delusion when you’re surrounded by a whole bunch of similarly deluded people, than when you’re hanging out with a bunch of self-indulgent wankers in Brooklyn!
Thanks for the compliments. I am, if nothing, an honest man. Some folks say this makes me a true NEGATRON. But I think I am just calling it like it is.
Now, to answer your questions... Yes, my wife has read my blog. Thankfully, Mrs. Unit knows I am infinitely capable of being a huge ASS. She knows I am what astronomers call a Class-A supernova SHIT-TALKER. She loves me despite all this.
Regarding the Life Force Sucker one day reading my blog... Because I do love him, I might, when he gets about five and can really read, delete this whole thing. This is because children have no sense of irony. They are very literal little beings. For example, if you are wearing Carthartt and work boots and a flannel shirt, you had, in the Life Force Sucker's worldview, better be working for Bob the Fucking Builder and not just styling yourself blue-collar despite the fact you have a graduate degree. (Having worked construction one summer way back in college does not make you blue-collar. Capiche?)
Regarding your analysis of the situation, of people deluding themselves into believing having children is pleasant, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Why do you think so many people get divorced? Why do you think parents are always taking shifts with their kids, so that each can get some "me time"? Because it ain't easy.
But that's not the same as saying I don't love my kid.
Let me describe to you one of my favorite rituals with the Life Force Sucker. It is Saturday morning, the crack of dawn, or even before that, and the little guy starts screaming from his room that he is awake. Soon, I hear the patter of his little feet and the rattling of the zoo-like gate that cages him in. I get up, grab him, give him milk and let him drink this milk in our bed. Then, he and I go to the living room and play with his cars or trains or whatever. After he eats some of the oatmeal I have microwaved for him, we then lie on the sofa. I am, as he puts it, the daddy bird, and he is the baby bird, and I make a nest, a hollow, with my arm. He settles into this nook, snuggles there, and proceeds to suckle my life force from the permawounds--the daddy STIGMATA--in my side. And we watch TV. Sesame Street or Thomas the Train or that little trollop Dora.
Now, is that not love?
Regarding moving out of Brooklyn, I don't know. I don't think I could do it. As much as I go on about the wankers I am surrounded by, I also love this place. I think it is "real." I dig it. Or maybe I am just a pathetic creature of habit and there is a recession on and it's probably not the right time, if you are still employed, to uproot yourself and move off to some Never Never Land like San Francisco.
But maybe you're right. Why am I raising my kid in a Third World City? Why? Why? Why? I mean, sure, ever since we got the Fairway in Redhook, it's become more bearable, less insufferable and hard. There's something about being able to get good French salad dressing at a decent price that makes life easier. But still, sometimes, when Brooklyn or Manhattan is doing nothing but getting on my nerves, I can't help but think: L'Enfer, c'est les autres wankers...
Maria Johnson - flutist and flute teacher
6 years ago