The kids are not all right

by Caitlin Johnson

As someone who has a low tolerance for children—particularly the loud, obnoxious and snot-covered ones—I avoid playgrounds like the plague. I suspect such locations are breeding grounds for disease.

Why do I prefer to avoid children? Simply put, they are a liability; another mouth to feed. And at times, they can be downright annoying. What will happen when the economy collapses or a zombie outbreak occurs? I’ll be stuck with their whiny little selves tagging along like the friends no one really wants to be around. If I had a dog, I could at least send it into battle while I run away to safety. Using a child for bait is sure to promote some sort of sociological backlash, even in an apocalypse of the undead.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little selfish. But I see nothing wrong with that when it comes to my personal happiness—something that’s very important to me. When I go to Disneyland, I want to be in charge. If I let the kids pick, we would be stuck in Fantasyland all day. That goes for any sort of travel, really. Kids simply aren’t cultured enough. If I want to have a drink or six before heading out for the night to embarrass myself, that should be my childless-given right.

There are plenty of other reasons why I should probably never have children. I am lazy and irresponsible. I stay up way too late and sleep in too long. I can’t stand sharing (my Pokémon cards are for collecting, not playtime). I have a hard enough time managing my own life; there’s no way I’d be able to handle the responsibility of another.

Besides, there are countless others in the world who happily take on parenthood. Where would TV entertainment be without the hilarious antics of Honey Boo Boo and her dear mother? Between that and “19 Kids and Counting,” I’d say TLC has all of the necessary bases covered. And now that MTV has jumped on the life-with-children bandwagon, I see no need to contribute further.

These images of perfect families and healthy bonding between parent and child don’t fool me—I know the dark side of raising children. Do you think (spoiler) Darth Vader knew his own son would turn on him? Sure, they shared a sappy moment at the end of “Return of the Jedi,” but the most memorable “Star Wars” moment will always be Luke’s reaction to discovering the truth about his father as the Dark Lord of the Sith. I wouldn’t want to pass a similar emotional burden onto my children when they find out I’m simply no good.

I like to think of myself as somewhat responsible in this way. Instead of burdening this world with yet another bane of society, I’m able to contribute in other ways. For example, a life without children ensures more time for volunteering. I would also be able to continue entertaining the populace with amazing written works, such as the one you are currently reading.

Before you label me as a narcissistic young adult who hates kids, let me be the first to say I’m not ruling out the possibility entirely. In fact, it could be argued that having children is an asset. I would love to have a little mini-me available to bring me a beer when I’m on the couch. I’m always losing the TV remote, but who needs it when I can just get the kid to change the channel for me?

When they’re old enough to comprehend what we like to call “responsibility,” I can bribe them into doing my most menial and tedious chores, while telling them they build character. They won’t know the difference—it’s the perfect ploy.

Once they reach their teenage years and start asking to borrow the car, I can guilt-trip them into doing my errands. Any whines of protest will result in a sob-story retaliation about labor pains and the “good old days” before they were born. I can’t express enough how much I appreciated my own mother after realizing I had destroyed her social life just by being born.

To be fair and not leave them crushed in their heartaches for my sacrifices, I will assure my children they’re 100 percent worth the long, sleepless nights and boring life I endure. I will remind them that although they weren’t the cutest babies in the world, they will always have faces their mother loves.

Perhaps children aren’t the demon spawn I fear them to be. I suppose successfully raising well-behaved kids is dependent on the efforts of the parents. I already know that I’m all that, so with any luck it’ll rub off on them. I’ve heard everything changes the moment your firstborn smiles at you. So as long as he or she doesn’t have fangs and is easily bribed—I mean, eager to learn—maybe I will change my mind one day.