Suffer Little ChildrenIt's not that I want them to die in a gutter aged 25, surrounded by debt, failure and hypodermics. But I refuse to believe that's the only alternative. And anyway, there are many deaths. Some of them living. I know of what I speak. I was an accountant for a while and although I managed to stop it before it reached any of the vital organs, I watched a (once) good friend of mine completely embalmed by this profession. Right down to the sudden discovery of a passion for football and German cars. Cheery eh? But I do want them to be badly behaved. Much more badly behaved than I was (although I don't think they could be much more idle).
What am I talking about? Well, erm, there comes a time in a man's life (I didn't think there did, but here it is) when his thoughts turn to how delinquent he would want his children to be, even if he has no firm (give over) plans to have any in the near future. Or maybe I haven't gone broody. Maybe it was just that nasty little advert that set me thinking. Open with a shot of a bunch of six year olds queuing in gowns and mortar boards. Some snide voiceover saying "If you want them to get this far, they're going to have to start early". Cut to some shots of a little treasure beaming in a child-actor death-rictus whilst supposedly learning awesome stuff from a CD ROM and a magazine in weekly parts. Yeah right. From the people who bought you "Crochet Your Own Furniture" in 6 million installments. What are you ever going to learn from a publication targeted at people too stupid to buy books?
I just feel sorry for the poor sods. At that age, I'll allow, it would be nice if they could read, but surely there must also be plenty of time set aside for covering every available surface in excreta and vomit and scribbling with ball pen and wax crayon on all expensive decorations. No point doing any redecorating in here dear, not if we're ever going to have children (why hadn't I though of that before?). Oodles of time must also be allowed for putting the cat in the tumble drier (now I'm in trouble), climbing on the dog, hitting next door's kids, breaking their expensive toys and putting toast in the video.
Who am I fooling anyway? What does it matter what I think? Even if I am blessed with children the one thing you can guarantee is that they'll do exactly the opposite of what you want them to. I once sat opposite a woman at a Christmas dinner who was furious with her husband because she'd just given birth to a boy. Yes, that's about as rational as it gets with children. But if you can't deal with that fifty-fifty boy girl thing at birth my guess is the rest of their lives is going to be quite a struggle. You want a rebel, you'll get a goody two shoes who invites you round to look at their regency effect coving. You want a clever clogs, you'll get a footballer (but not if there are still sharp objects in the world with which to Bobbit myself).