Thursday, May 10, 2012

I’m So Glad I Had Normal Parents

All kids need parents or guardians or people to raise and guide them.  Statistically speaking, kids who grow up in stable households tend to be better off than kids who don’t.  And if you ask how I know this, well, I know this because I know everything and you should listen to every word I say.  =P  Seriously though, it’s pretty much common knowledge that kids with a father and mother or a mother and mother or father and father (don’t discriminate, people) tend to do better in life.  And while not ideal, even single parents are better than nothing.

Except for the people mentioned here.  Their kids would probably be better off without their parents.  I’ve heard and seen and smelled bad parenting—not my own, of course, who were probably the best a kid could ask for given the state of society today—but these folks are by far some of the worst.

First we have these grandparents from last week who decided to connect their granddaughter’s Power Wheels to the back of their SUV and go for a ride.

We’re all probably still wondering why this girl’s father left her under their watch, as he even told police that he believes his parents have chronic alcohol problems.  But does it surprise you that these grandparents were drunk?  It doesn’t surprise me.  In fact, in the winter after it snows, I watch idiots in my neighborhood fly down the road on sleds hitched to the back of vehicles.  Perhaps those guys are drunk as well.  Who knows?  But drunk or not, this takes a serious lapse in judgment to think that this girl is somehow going to be safe doing this.

So next we come to this lovely couple:

Police say they were spotted pulling out of a liquor store parking lot, and that the dad was, you guessed it, drunk.  OK, maybe alcohol does play a factor.  I still don’t buy it, though.  Alcohol makes you say and do stupid things, but these people seem to be crossing over the line—no, scratch that—stepping into the black hole of stupidity.  I mean, I’ve watched friends urinate in public, fall down, run down the street naked, black out, etc., but I’ve never heard any of my inebriated friends make the suggestion of strapping children to a car and driving down the road.  Seriously?

And finally we have this lady:

I still don’t get the tanning craze.  Tanning is HARMFUL TO YOUR BODY.  Why don’t these people understand this?  Aside from that glaringly obvious factoid, what on earth would possess this mother to just leave her kids in the car while she runs in to go leatherfy herself?  Heck, I won’t even leave my son in the car when I’m pushing the grocery cart back to the cart caddy thing at supermarkets.  I push him in it, then we both walk back to the car.  And he’s almost 3!  Leaving a 6-year-old and a 10-month-old baby?  I’m just stunned.

Maybe this is so shocking to me because, when I was young, I was sitting in my dad’s truck with some neighborhood friends, and I yanked down on the gear shift and started driving it down our rather steep side yard.  My brother and another neighbor were in the back shoveling out top soil, and luckily my brother jumped out and ran down the truck quick enough to get inside and slam on the brakes.  By the way, if I’ve never thanked you for saving my life that day, thanks Jim!

One of my favorite shows on Showtime is Shameless (the American version—haven’t seen the British version).  I can say, though, that when I first starting watching it, I found some of their antics hard to believe.  Now I wasn’t a privileged kid growing up.  My parents struggled to make ends meet, and I ate my fair share of hot dogs and boxed macaroni and cheese, especially when I was around nine or ten and my dad lost his job.  But we were never like the Gallaghers on Shameless, stealing, struggling, doing anything we could to survive.

As I got older though, I began to realize that it was MY family that was abnormal.  Just about every kid I knew in high school and then in my college days had some strange history or odd relative or whatever.  The girls that I dated were probably the biggest eye-openers for me, with families so dysfunctional that nearly all of them had a sibling that had spent at least a month or more in jail, others with severe mental and emotional problems, etc.  Now that I look back though, I think that perhaps those other families really weren’t all that strange.  Maybe it isn’t that uncommon for people to fake illnesses to collect social security checks or run scams or whatever.  Maybe my family was the odd one out, and as I grew up and was raised “right” by my parents, I ended up being the strange one, following all of the rules like a good and honest American citizen.

I guess I’m still that way today, although maybe not quite as naïve as I was a decade or two ago.  It still drives me nuts when people fail to use turn signals and litter and all that stupid irrelevant stuff that I really shouldn’t care about.  Seriously, I just got my first speeding ticket LAST YEAR, and you wouldn't believe how upset I was with myself.  In my opinion, though, if you are going to have a country with laws and rules and regulations, let’s abide by them.  Otherwise, let’s give anarchy a test-drive and see how many of these former law-breakers survive.  I’d like to think that Darwinism would take over, and that the smartest and strongest would persevere while the lazy and weak would slowly disappear.  Hopefully I’d be one of the persevering ones!  Then again, the way our country works right now, the ones that are thriving are the ones with the most money, and all of those people that do skirt around the laws are really just trying to make ends meet, much like the Gallaghers on Showtime.  By the way, doesn’t that dad who strapped his kids to the car in the picture above look like Ian Gallagher?  Maybe just a little?

But in effect, it seems to me that capitalism begets crime.  People want money to buy things, or get by, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it.  Then again, just about everything else begets crime.  Anarchy, socialism, communism, love, power, greed, and about a million other things.  It’s human nature, it seems.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could just put little computers or nanorobots in our heads that would weed out all of the bad thoughts that cause us to want to break the rules?  If you like that idea, or are horrified by it, check out my book, Project Utopia.

I digress.  I’m not even really sure I have a point to this post, other than to say that if you are drinking and you are stupid, don’t decide to go spend quality time with your children.  And if you have children, please take care of them.  Don’t leave them in cars while you run errands.  Don’t be a selfish jerk like so many others in the world.  There’s enough of those people already.

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