Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Appollonia Strikes Back

Some months ago I tore some childless West Coast friends, as well as the entirety of the Bay Area, a NEW ONE in a post entitled, "Facebook is awesome for keeping up with faraway childless friends."

The thesis of that post was that San Francisco is full of overgrown, self-coddling perpetual children. Naturally, as is my style, I supported this thesis with rigorous logic and mountains of evidence. Not only was this post my most Supreme Court Majority Ruling-like to date, but, looking ahead now, at that inevitable point in cosmic time, when the universe has cooled and slowed and I have said all there is to say, I believe this yester-post will make the fat volume known as, The Best of the Unit Parental.

Yes, Unit, yes, that was a genius post. But why do we have to go back there, to this post you wrote, like, A Couple of Months Ago, B.C.? Can't you tell us about TODAY?

My dear readers, may I remind you that when you come to my blog, you are stepping into, in essence, the French bistro where I work. Hence, I am your host and can do what I like. I am, therefore, like a cantankerous French waiter who, not dependent on your paltry tips, will bring you water avec gaz when you order a Coke. In short, je suis le roi, motherfuckers.

Furthermore, I am going backwards in time for your benefit. To remind you that before THE INTERNET, there was generally speaking a connection between the past and the present. This connection was called HISTORY. This connection was palpable (that means, it could be felt), undeniable, and profound.

And so, let us turn the atomic clock counterclockwise! Let us hit warp speed and slingshot this glorified tin can around the massive gravitational pull of the sun! In short, let's dial this shit the fuck back!


"I'm sorry," says le roi de SF.

So, onto this post on San Francisco.... To expound further, my thesis was that San Franciscans are overgrown children who fritter away their lives doing arduous arts and crafts for their endless cycle of theme parties.

In this post, I also castigated my college-era friend Appollonia Reflexia, who moved to the Never Never Land of San Francisco like ten years ago and has spent the entirety of that time slurping at the Bay Area's Kool-Aid of Nothingness.

Well, lo and behold, Appollonia has since got wind of this post about her, in which I reprint word for word a heated Facebook exchange between us. And so, months later (e.g., The Other Day, B.C.), she, Appollonia Reflexia, commented thusly:

Dear NYC Mom and Mr Unit. Please stop your jealous whining. I have no sympathy for parents- you both chose a difficult path, becuase it's what you wanted. My path will bring me different challenges. I think I do understand how difficult and frustrating parenting may be,which is why I choose not to do it. You are completley nuts if you think I am interested in babysitting for your over-induldged childred in your antiseptic households. I have too much going on, and not a moment of free time. Unit, your blog is pretty effing funny, and you are a fabulous writer, but please stop prostelytizing - I am not likely to convert, With Love, Appollonia

(Thank you, Appollonia, for saying I am a fabulous writer. Now, I'm not one to bring attention to compliments paid to me or my highly-regarded prose style (specifically, when you said my writing was "fabulous" and my blog "effing funny"); only the immodest or insecure would go there. But I thought it would be uncouth not to thank you.)

Onto the meat: Yes, you are correct, Appollonia. You are right. Mrs. Unit Parental and I did choose our lot. We chose to have a child. But just because we chose to do it does not mean we have no right to complain about it. I mean, what is more American than complaining!

  • Ooooooh, I took all the equity out of my house!
  • Ooooooh, I went salmon fishing in Norway and paid for it with my Visa Card.
  • Ooooooh, [FILL IN THE BLANK]
In essence, by writing my blog, I am being patriotic.

But let me also be clear: We would not undo this thing we have done, which is to embark upon the diaper-strew seas of parenthood. We love the fucking Life Force Sucker to death! Was not that evident when you saw us recently? He, the Life Force Sucker, is the "over-indulged" king around here. Il est le roi! (It's just that Mrs. Unit Parental and I were hoping that at least ONE set of our friends would have some fucking goddamn kids already.)

Now for the kicker: I no longer believe that everyone should or must have children. Do you hear me? I'll say it again--I've become wiser than to insist that all my friends breed. And so, like a great character in a great novel, I, the Unit Parental, have evolved. I have experienced change in my human soul. Cross out the following from my mission statement:
  • Shame self-coddling friends into having kids.
This change of heart arose for the following reason: when I am on Facebook, looking out at the wise-ass profile images of my stunted, self-indulgent friends, I become very afraid. I begin to forecast a vast killing field strewn with the carcasses of ruined marriages. I do not believe the fragile bonds there can stand this ultimate test of selflessness. (Reverse psychology! Can you resist it?)

What I'm saying is, if you want to spend the rest of your life engaging in your San Francisco activities, then do it. You have my blessing. It is in the end your precious time on this earth. But please allow me to play the devil's advocate. Do these San Francisco activities really constitute a full life, Appollonia? Is this it?:

  1. Tramping into the redwoods with your man the reluctant Sperm Donor, tent and cook stove lashed to your backs, to barter for hobbit tea from that ancient and magical forest's impoverished halfling denizens.
  2. Watching your man the reluctant Sperm Donor celebrate his 41st birthday by spending the entire day in red tighty-whiteys, his ingenious and toddler-like rebellion against his "legal" age. Because in San Francisco, you are only as old as you refuse to act!
  3. Donning a floppy hat, an unnecessary monocle, and dangling an unlit pipe from your lips, all to go to a friend's backyard brunch! (Good God, it's three props too many!)
  4. Paying some artiste $350 dollars to tatt' your own genitalia on your forehead, because you are so bloody anti-corporate and different!
  5. Having your burly friend, the one with three Ph.D.'s and who is also a blacksmith, hand hammer you a replica of Princess Leia's S&M regalia from Empires Strikes Back. Because, goddamnit, this Halloween you will... not... be... outdone...
  6. And throwing those damned San Francisco themed parties.
Why have children when you have each other.
Not Appollonia. But actual Oakland wanker friends of the Unit Parental.
(Photo digitally altered)

Appollonia, do you not see what an empty life you are leading? I say, abandon San Francisco. Or rather, abandon its war-torn suburb, Oakland, where you live. Go forth from there! Free yourself! And leave behind the unnecessary monocle, leave behind the virgin pipe, the stingy-brim fedora, and the rest of that crap in your CLOSET OF MEANINGLESS PROPS. Be YOU!


Now, of course, I realize that the city in which I live, New York City, is not without its faults. If San Francisco is infested with self-coddlers looking for ever newfangled ways to prove their individuality... Then New York City is full of self-centered careerist TOOLS... you, dear reader, and me.

But in terms of lifestyle, I prefer it here, on the East Coast. I guess I will take drudgery over soul-crushing frivolity.

Now, I'm not saying that, if I moved to San Francisco, you would not, in five very short minutes, find me at some barbecue to which everyone brings their own stuffed quail and favorite Chardonnay, and I would of course be dressed like some cast member from Hair. I would also be unbathed and pretty much blotto by 10:30am and practicing free love with whatever inanimate object is interested or nearby... all the while the Life Force Sucker would be playing in the compost bin just to my right... My God, Appollonia, it sounds tempting! ...


But there, Appollonia, I've said it. Have children, or not. But please, please, as a wise man once said, consider this: the unexamined life is not worth living...

Ponder that the next time you sit at your window, in your quiet house, sipping at a steaming cup of hobbit tea...


Can we stay with you when we visit next year? Drop me an email...


  1. Way too funny! I could not stop laughing the entire time...
    I completely agree with the observations of people in San Fran. Several times I went to San fran always jealous of the lifestyle UNTIL I actaully had to hang out with a bunch of natives or want to be natives at a wedding. This Uber hipster wedding gave me the worst taste in my mouth for the insecure people who have to over due their hipster-ness in every aspect of their lives. I was so happy to go back to the less pretty, but more real world that is New YOrk... Keep the posts coming... they give me great joy!

  2. As a breeder twice over who used to live in SF, I write to say that you almost make me wish I were back there now, looking down my nose at the kids bumming change on Haight Street. Those were the days. I'll never go there again because I can't stomach the idea of taking 2 kids on a 6 hour plane flight, the cost of which would give me hives. So, thanks for the memories, and for your hilarious rantings. Rant on, Mr. Unit!

  3. San Franciscans can suck it, life force suckers or not!

  4. Wow, another great posts. It almost makes me want to give back my own kiddies and move to San Francisco. I think you should go back to to the original plan and force your friends to procreate and drag them down to our level.

    Screw those people who get to sleep past 7am on weekends and don't know the words to the dora the explorer theme song!

    Ditmas Daddy
    Brooklyn, NY

  5. Dear Unit,
    As one who has lived on both coasts, you forget the one reason to live in Northern Cali: burritos. When everyone is done being trendy, they can stuff their face with delicious burritoness. You can't do that in Billyburg.

  6. In essence, by writing this comment, I'm being patriotic.

  7. Wow.
    Having a child on this over-populated planet, teeming with already-born, adoptable children, has to be one of the most self-indulgent things a person can do. Really now...kudos to anyone, whether it be a san francisco hipster suffering from peter-pan syndrome, a new yorker inching his/her way up a career-driven ladder, or even a hard-working earnest midwesterner,who decides for whatever reason, not to have children.

  8. mr. unit

    is your house truly 'antiseptic'? this seems like it would be very difficult, and also could leave the life force sucker susceptible to supergerms in the post-apocalyptic future. just looking out for you and yours.

  9. "unexamined life"? please! We are precisely wankers because we're still on the self-discovery train. So you and your fellow careerist tools have decided to bludgeon your existential angst by cramming your one free hour changing diapers... but it's not working is it?... "Fabulous" writing? perhaps. Eloquent religious zealousness says I. Trying to convince others that child-rearing is the one true religion? - or yourself?

    Self-righteous sermons must be pure red white and blue as well...

    Blow Me Wanker

  10. To Anonymous who said, "Wow." I agree with you wholeheartedly! What is the matter with us humans! We breed, or not, when there are so many children to adopt.

    I would adopt, but Mrs. Unit Parental is, at best, on the fence about this. She fears she would not "love it as much." I do think she said, "it." No shit!

    But at least she is honest. To the commenter, I will keep working on her, though I do not see much hope.

  11. Oooooh, I spent the kids college fund on crack and now we are pennliless

    Ooooooh, I knew I didn’t need that fourth diamond, but I just couldn’t resist

    Oooooh, the advertisement did say come nude, I maybe should have looked into this job a little better.

    Being on the Westcoast of this widely made "fun of" country, Canada, I will tell you that Vancouver wants to be San Franscico when it grows up, or even better, LA. We have a hate on for ANYTHING East Coast, except you my guy!

  12. Dear Unit,

    Why do parents always show pictures of their children on Facebook profiles, instead of themselves?

    Also, why do many parents think that when I plan a date with the individual parent, I mean the whole family? The fact of the matter is, I like spending time with my friends, not their children.

    My parents are still individuals. What is happening with this generation of parents? Have your heard of these "helicopter" parents who do their kid's home work and yes, after this child had graduated from collge, they even go to their child's job interview!!!

    What's up with so called modern child-rearing practices? You guys are raising a nation of needy a-holes.

  13. To this morning's anonymous (10:35AM),

    I understand your frustration. And I won't be one of those bloggers who professes to know the answer to everything. I am no expert.

    But I'll share with you what I honestly think...

    Re: Facebook, guilty as charged. I do this. The Life Force Sucker is on my Facebook profile. Why do I do this? I don't really know for sure. Maybe there's some pride at work there. But maybe, too, it's a symbolic surrendering of my individual identity; acknowledgment that parts of the old me are dead or dying, and that it's all the Life Force Sucker's handiwork.

    Re: your parental "dates," perhaps your use of the word "date" itself is the issue? Maybe there is insecurity on the part of the uninvited. Perhaps you are perceived as a threat, because, well, you are a hottie. Could that be the case? If you're a female (I'm assuming here), email me a photo why don't you? (Joking!) (No, really!) (Joking!)

    Another thought on the matter: it could be simple codependence on one or both of the parents' parts. Or fatigue: one parent doesn't want to be left with the kids while the other socializes. Do not underestimate the way fatigue rules over parental lives.

    But here's some advice: maybe you should just be frank with your friends. "I need time with you, leave the Life Force Sucker and the Ball and Chain behind." Try frank brutality. Sometimes, the sleep-deprived parental brain can't read subtly whatsoever.

    Re: "helicoptering," I don't know if this is just a local city paper making muchos out of nothing. But if it's happening, I don't know it. Most of my Ditmas Park parent friends don't have the spare time or maybe just aren't type A enough. And not to knock my former 'hood, but maybe you'll find that kind of thing in Park Slope, where there seems to be more angst about getting your kid into an Ivy League school; the angst and planning start, I believe, when the first ovulation testing kit is bought.

    Regarding needy a-holes, I don't think any generation is perfect. The post-war, post-Depression parents were frugal savers and managed to usher in a huge boom in the American economy as well by saving and buying Cadillacs and houses. But to hear my Babyboomer father and Ms. Unit Parental's father tell it, this generation was also taciturn and ruled their families with an iron fist.

    Hence, we got the Babyboomers. They agitated for a lot of social reforms in terms of gender and racial equality; they brought about a flourishing of the arts. And yet, they also introduced into American society an appalling divorce rate and untold levels of self-indulgence and materialism.

    What the Life Force Sucker's generation hallmark will be, well, it's too early to tell.

    I'll do my best to raise a well-adjusted citizen of Planet Earth.

    Thank you for your questions. And I hope my advice about being very frank with your unit parental friends, about the socializing YOU want to do, helps.


  14. Blow Me Wanker,

    Does your friend realize that the posted photo of you was taken at my house, and that I have children? I kicked one kid out that night and I think the other one slept through a very loud evening while her mother was dressed up as Amy Winehouse in the other room.

    You can have kids and also have dumb costume or themed parties, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Notice how I call my kids "kids" and not "Life Force Suckers." Call me self-indulgent, but I would like some of my childless friends to remain childless...they have more flexibility that way.

  15. Hooray for parents that are NOT forcing their world view on others. We like you best and think your kids will probably turn out better, too.

  16. Oh, San Franciscans! It is Friday and nearing your witching hour, and already, you must be bedecked in your bejeweled capes, in your eye patch and unlit pipes, and perhaps you are already wielding your rubber fish, with which you will cheekily spank friends when you are blotto later this evening.

    So I thank you, I thank you for taking the time to drop me a friendly comment, to let me know that I am not piloting my small, fragile vessel of words alone, out here, in the dark blogosphere.

    But I say, did you not read the post carefully! I said, I am no longer castigating my friends for dragging their early twenties into their late thirties and beyond. TO EACH THEIR OWN, I say. CARRY ON.

    So from my coast to yours, PEACE!

  17. Dear Mr. Unit, our cantankerous french host: Bring a little of SF to NY so we can see you dress up like a cast member from Hair. Would that include full-length wig and leather wear? Keep on with your proselytizing! Yours, a fellow NYC "power" tool

  18. Shiny white page - Why why why keep proselytizing?

    Complain about parenting all you want, use a funny writing style and a free blogging platform to do it - just don't make other people feel like shit because they don't have kids. That's all we ask.

  19. I guess some readers skip words or entire sentences,- UNIT is not telling other people not to have kids, Christ, do not bother commenting on something you obviously have trouble reading. Grade 4 was a very tough year for all of us! Now for you Unit, let me say this, I am expecting the BEST from you on your next Blog, considering it is Father's Day on Sunday. I want you to really work on this one, make me proud.