How often have you been at a fancy dinner party, or a rocking kegger, and overheard someone lamenting the fact that their friends with children have suddenly been rendered incapable of discussing anything except the contents of the baby's diapers or the adorable thing little Cullen did to the dog? There are Facebook groups for venting frustration with parents who constantly yammer about their offspring and the business of raising them. I understand where these people are coming from. But it is hard for me to understand why they are so annoyed — after all, those people are free.
The common misconception of childless, alcohol-imbibing party guests and cyber-ether baby-haters alike is that parents blabber constantly out of some arrogance or indulgent desire to show off their great kids and their perfect parenthood. Nothing could be further from the truth. We parents have so little now; the children have taken so much. We just have nothing left to say. We sometimes hear ourselves and know how we must sound to others, and we feel great shame. Our children have broken us and turned us into single-subject simpletons. They've accomplished this feat in what is supposed to be the prime of our intellectual life.
[. . .]
So next time you find yourself tearing into a friend or acquaintance who can't shut up about their kids, the next time you find yourself ready to fire off an angry missive about the unrelenting surging tide of mommy blogs, remember that you're hammering a dead cat. We know it's sort of sad, but it's all we have until the kids become a little older. Allow me and my kin to engage in our one conversation, even if it's just to stay in practice for when we emerge from the bunker. Maybe you can even find it in yourselves to muster a little understanding for us next time you're out past 10 p.m. at one of your fancy childless keg parties where you discuss the new Philip Roth and the Phillies' amazing World Series defense. Because, who knows? You may find yourself dumb like me someday. (Aaron Traister, “Is my kids making me not smart,” Salon, 4 December 2009)
re: "We know it's sort of sad, but it's all we have until the kids become a little older. Allow me and my kin to engage in our one conversation, even if it's just to stay in practice for when we emerge from the bunker. Maybe you can even find it in yourselves to muster a little understanding for us next time you're out past 10 p.m. at one of your fancy childless keg parties where you discuss the new Philip Roth and the Phillies' amazing World Series defense. Because, who knows? You may find yourself dumb like me someday."
We're hearing now of how some of the rich are beginning to spend again -- Hermes, Jaguars. Maybe they (rightly) sense that America actually gets kind of a weird kick of knowing some people are still enjoying wall-street heaven, while everything else crumbles. But this group of fortunates actually serve as cover for a more evolved sort -- those who not only know the right strategy to best enjoy the next twenty, but how to properly exult in it, revel in their own superiority/fitness, without anyone being on to them -- without themselves really being on to what they're doing. They're THIS crowd -- the ones who are full of "excuse me this," "mightn't you allow me that": those who, if you let them, will try and convince you they are nearly ridiculous, completely compromised, left out. But don't be fooled -- somewhere inside of them they know that all those divorced couples, all those bachelors with time for Roth, are strangely coming to seem genetically / culturally unfit in the new America -- 20s flappers/swingers, that had come to seem just WRONG when America had returned back to the conservative hearth. Aaron will forever persuade himself that the world believes YOU are the ones who have it made, and will use this belief to enable his "but I get to have my little bit, and it's actually kinda fun too!," but if you look up close at him and his ilk, you'll know what I say is true.
Don't be fooled into letting him have his "one conversation," without a strong measure of (inevitably unreasonable) complaint: he makes it seem so innocent and small-scale, but it's really about the new revival, set to leave your flapper ass out in the cold.