4.19.2011

I Fucking Hate Pretending I Like Your Stupid Kids

UPDATE 2:22PM: Since my inbox has been inundated with "Wait, what the FUCK?" emails, I've added an explanation to the end of this post. 

I have to tell you... One of my friends has the ugliest and stupidest kid I think I've ever seen.

I'm serious, this child is a fucking abomination before God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost. He's not retarded or afflicted, as far as I know. It's just... ugly and dumb. He's 3 years old, and speaks in this Neolithic tongue, half English and half... I dunno. Sanskrit.

He walks into things. Like... he's walking, and boom. Wall.

And that's not really what I want to write about here. Picking on children isn't what I'm about. They're kids. They're immature, they stink, they get into trouble, and they produce nothing useful. But that's what kids are. It's nothing great or even useful to pick on a kid. It's just bullying.

But I can't get to my actual point without the setup, which is the fact that this ugly bumbling child exists and is the offspring of friends of mine. And now that that's established, I can tell you that I'm actually setting up the fact that his parents' really, honestly and truly think that this child is brilliant and beautiful.

And he's so not. The kid is just this animated lump of meat. It's like what you'd get if you recorded yourself doing some faux Chinese accent in a microcassete recorder, placed it in a little erector set with a few motors attached, covered the whole thing in silly putty and taught it to walk.

"Blah You want blargh you GIVE ME soda?" *thud*

His parents are  hormonally deluded into thinking this kid is the Golden Child. Like he's going to be the one to finally liberate Tibet. I get loving your baby. I get raising them and giving them your all. But come the fuck on -- your child just stacked some blocks that might spell "CAT" and you're ready to ship them off to West Point to lead the greatest military in the world to righteous conquest?

It drives me nuts to go over there. But I have to, because they're pretty good friends. They were great before they hatched this thing they've somehow attached an insane amount of value to compared to it's actual worth. But they're good friends, and I honor them, and their choice to make this... Thing. That I am glad to see makes them proud. But every single time I do, I know that they know that I fucking hate that shit. They know me. They know that I attribute absolutely no value to people beyond what people bring to the table.

What does this kid bring to the table? Chaos. One time, the kid was walking through the garage, bumbling about like an off-center top while we were working on setting up my buddy's air hockey table, and he just collided with a table holding a few wrenches. The whole mess came down on him and I laughed - because that's funny, right?

I mean, *bumblebumblebumbleTHUD* *CRASH* -- HOW IS THAT NOT FUNNY?? You can't not laugh.

And his father got PISSED. And I had to stand there like a fucking dick apologizing for doing what came natural while watching an inferior baby human do something utterly stupid. If the shit was on America's Funniest Videos, it'd have won $10,000. If it was on YouTube, it'd be rebroadcast on CNN every day for a week instead of real news.

They have all these "Baby Einstein" videos... I keep telling them they need to maybe investigate getting "How To Use A Spoon - The Video Series" or something.  "Walking For Dummies". Anything useful.

Ugh.

Anyway, my point is that it drives me crazy we can't be real about the people around us, especially those related to us -- and doubly especially kids. And I've found it harder and harder to make the trade-off between being honest and keeping friends.

I've found myself going out of my way to do things for people I don't want to hurt or lose in my life, from as far a distance as I possibly can (mostly over email or Facebook), just so I don't have to be around them and fake like I'm not uncomfortable in the situation while keeping them in my life by helping them.

How fucked up is that?


UPDATE 2:22PM:

Okay, so. I've gotten completely hammered over this post. A few people loved it and got the humor. There's been some Facebook and Twitter pushback, but mostly people have emailed directly in lieu of commenting or responding via Facebook or Twitter, and their emails all begin the same: "Look, I love what you do, I read you every day since (insert date here), and I didn't want to call you out in public, but you crossed a line here."

I was planning on just moving on, as I do with most of the incendiary things I write. But this one just seems to require I explain myself. So, pulling liberally from an email I wrote to two friends of mine, I'll attempt to explain what's going on here.

First, thanks to all of you for reacting and responding. I'm glad you said something if it bothered you.

Second, if today's post is your first experience with what I do, I can see where it'd leave a bad taste in your mouth.

The point of this post was to get to the very last bit, about the line I have to walk with increasing frustration between being honest with how I feel and keeping friends, readers, and respect. It stings more and more the older I get. When I tell the truth, people rail against me for not having common courtesy to just hold my tongue. When I hide how I feel, I feel like a disgusting disingenuous liar. If I ever have to confess to someone that I was holding back the truth from them, it gets dirty and nasty -- especially given my reputation (wanted or not) for being "The one guy in [their] life that will tell them the honest truth, no matter what."

This post is 100% just a slam on my buddy. He knew I was going to write it. He dared me to. He didn't think I had the balls to go out and full-on call a baby ugly and stupid. He was wrong, and he probably knew he was wrong, because I've known him for YEARS. It's a running semi-joke between us that I think his kid is one crayon short of a pack, and his response is that his kid is going to be the top rated quarterback on the wrestling team at West Point with a 5.0 grade average.

Basically, I tell him how I feel about his kid, and his response is about 300 types of "Go fuck yourself."  We're like that.

Also, in earlier posts, I talk about the innocence of children and how any person who would ever rob them of that innocence should be demolished. I have an incredibly special place in my heart for kids. That said, As corny as this might sound, sometimes I forget a) people read my stuff, and b) people don't read ALL of my stuff. This is a brain dump, and day by day, it shows little peaks and valleys in my life. Last week and the week before, I very publically delved into some deeper emotional stuff and wrote about it, most notably the behind-the-scenes with a girl I once knew, whom I've written about in two books. It was like finally revealing to all of you who have been with me for the past few years the identity of the wizard behind the curtain.

Most folks liked it, and some hated it. I was told I was "in some rut" or "in a pattern" of getting emo. Today was a bit of blasting out of that, I guess.

Now, most people deal with the posts I make by just saying "Screw you, Joe, you're wrong on this one." Others post long reactions / responses to aspects of an entry and give their side of things. Still others will ride along, agreeing heartily with every post they get laughs from UNTIL I touch on a subject they are sensitive to. Not that I am trying to be this, but the analogy would basically be what South Park does to people. Nothing I write is false or faked. The things I say come from a real and honest place. I just choose the most expressive, brash, emotional, what-have-you language to say them. And it's all to get a reaction. And if I offend in the process, so be it.

Do I hate my friend's kid? Not even slightly. It's a child. It's innocent. It deserves to be protected and sheltered from harm until it's old enough to try to fend for itself in the world. Do I honestly believe the kid to be unattractive? Yes. Do I think the kid is behind every single one of my other friends' kids in development? Yes. Has the kid spilled a drink or four on me? Yes.

But I love the kid just the same, because I love his parents. And I tolerate it because, good or bad, it's family (not my blood family, they're a special kind of horrible -- my friends are my family). And he'll likely grow out of it. Not being a parent, I don't have much understanding for the younger years of a child's development. I am largely uncomfortable around young kids, because I think I'll break them. If you're not familiar with what I look like, I'm a gigantic gorilla of a person. And I started life as an ugly, slow child myself. I grew out of at least one part of that. This kid will be the same.

Look: At the end of the day, the point of my writing, my books and my work is to go kick over anthills. Sometimes, the anthills are political (you should see the hatemail I get when I bring up the Tea Party, Conservatives, Left-Wing hippy retards, religious zealots, right-to-lifers, and such). Sometimes, it's my own anthills -- I go digging deep into myself, show people this emotional thing, and then move on. And sometimes, it's venting about how frustrating my buddy and his wife are with how glowing they are about their child. They do it for effect.

So, this was me kicking over their anthill. He read it three days ago. He showed his wife. They both cracked up. I was holding onto it for a night I couldn't get anything else out, and as at least one person on IM knows, I was having trouble writing anything last night. So this is what you guys got.

I know this long explanation is a part of what I write and how I write it that you don't get when you read it, at least initially. You (the audience) aren't SUPPOSED to. This is my journal, it's in my head. You read it, you visit my head. It's a strange place. Get comfortable, and if you need to leave, go ahead, no one's guarding the door.

I'm not sorry I wrote this, and I'm not sorry I posted it. I'm not sorry if you took offense. I'm not sorry if you never want to read a thing I write again. It's your right. But with all of that said, I do control the context with which I present things, and in this case, I AM sorry I didn't provide more. And you, my reader, should understand where I am coming from on things like this.