I'm A Stunted Half-Human

No disrespect meant in any way at all.

Birth and death – why don’t they move me like they do others?

When someone dies – and I’m thinking of someone in the public eye, not your grandpa – people like to talk about it and reflect. Myself, I think, oh that’s too bad that Gary Gygax isn’t going to be a part of the gaming community, but I don’t feel bad in the least. If anything, any sense of loss that I have comes from the fact that the person who has died will no longer be contributing to my quality of life. I felt that way when Edward Gorey died because I knew there’d be no more Edward Gorey books, and I will feel that way when Alan Arkin dies because I really enjoy watching him act. How selfish is that? It may have something to do with the fact that I personally have never experienced the death of anyone close to me. All relatives and friends with whom I had even a halfway decent conversation with are still alive as far as I know. Maybe that’s part of the reason I approach death from a cold, clinical perspective: it’s a natural and necessary part of life – millions of people die every day and if they didn’t Earth would be a living hell.

On to Part 2 of How To Lose Friends and Alienate People – Thank Gawd You’re Raising Kids So I Don’t Have To:

There is a real stigma about not being a fan of babies, despite the fact that a good number of people I know fall squarely within that group. I date women who don’t want children. I have a (childless) friend who had a vasectomy and whenever he and his wife show up to baby showers people are outraged. It puts me (or if I may be presumptuous, us) in a difficult position because as the years go by, more and more friends are having babies, and clearly this is extremely important to them. I want to support them; I want my breeder friends to be full of joy and pep and warm fuzzies; I don’t want to be a downer — but I pride myself on being an honest guy, which often means I come across as an asshole. So while I am happy for their happiness, it’s not important for me to see the baby, or hold the baby, or talk about the baby. I don’t know what the proper questions and answers are. I am a cat owner, and that’s as far as I go. I have never had a baby and I never will have a baby. I feel the same way about cars, except that I have actually owned a few cars in my life. But I don’t know anything about them and they are not important to me. I am part of a group of arrested demi-humans who are not fulfilling their biological and evolutionary function and I am more than okay with that. I guess what I’m saying is: my friends, please do have as many kids as you like – you will be as excellent parents as you are excellent people (you are my friends, after all); but I will never be a parent, and I ask that you have low expectations of me outside of my limited purview. You have friends who will fawn and gush over your baby; I’ll be here when you need a break from that.

Don’t mistake this post for a rant. I’m not lambasting anyone for not being as blase about death and babies as I am. My attitude is not more cool or correct. I’m just trying to do what I always do – express my innermost feelings to a large group of people through a computer.

Hopefully the next blog post will be a treatise on how terrible my tact is.

Addendum: I thought of someone I may actually be sad for when he dies: David Attenborough. We’ll see (if I don’t die first).

11 Replies to “I'm A Stunted Half-Human”

  1. oh I’m right there with you on the kid thing, and in my life I’ve managed to pay a far higher price for that than I ever intended to.

    You’re a guy. I may be wrong, but I get the impression that as a woman that’s not into having kids, I get more surprised looks than you do. Society seems a little more willing to see a guy that doesn’t want kids, but if you’re a woman, you get these looks as if your complete lack of maternal instinct chalks you up as demon spawn. Lack of a soul. I’ve gotten many an “oh you’ll change your mind one day” comments. Or just getting called “selfish” to my face by a relative, that was fun. And “What kind of a woman doesn’t want kids?!” from someone that was once very close to me. It’s times like these I wish I carried a taser.

    I do however enjoy gushing over my friends’ kids. As you put it in your essay title, thank gawd you’re raising kids so I don’t have to – I get to enjoy all my friends’ hard work and hang out with a bundle of cuteness for a few hours before I escape to hedonism once again.

  2. Death: I don’t know if I’m actually sad about Gygax’s passing. It’s more that his passing has marked a point of change in the world that has caused me to reflect on his input to it and appreciate it. To show respect for that I have observed 1d6 minutes of silence for Gary.

    Babies: It’s pretty natural to want them. I still don’t, though my stance has weakened somewhat so that if Mel actually wanted to have a baby we probably would and I’m sure that switch would go off in my head so I’d believe it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Thankfully — considering I can barely take care of myself — she doesn’t.

    I think many people are surprised because they felt the same way that we did but they softened too, and more. Those that have had babies had that “switch” go off so that a large part of their brains are now devoted to their offspring and they can’t imagine not wanting or having it around and project that on others.

    You need only remember Josh Pratt’s initial response to finding out he’d be a father compared to immediately after to recognize that this “switch” exists.

  3. Do you see what happens Larry?
    Do you see what happens?
    Do you see what happens, Larry, when you bug Toren about blogging about Gary Gygax?
    Do you see what happens? Larry?

  4. Also, ps if you don’t remember the scene from Wild At Heart when Nick Cage’s character finds out he’s gonna be a daddy… it’s a little like that, even if you planned it.

  5. What if David Attenborough had a baby, named it after you, and then it died??

    You’d change your tune then smarty pants…

  6. Toren, more power to you! Kids suck. I should know, I have two of them. 😉

  7. Leave it to Mom to bring out the guilt baseball bat.

    All is not lost…birth control isn’t 100% effective, and Toren’s not the only Atkinson of parental age.

  8. My somewhat perverse reasoning about my lack of desire to be a procreator is the simple truth that I cannot shoulder the burden of being responsible for the entirety of another human beings life, good or bad. I’ve never had the ability to accept the societal line that after their supposed age of suffrage I’d be off the hook. Logic says that’s a load of crap. You choose to start one, you are responsible, period. Too much for me.

  9. Just registered – it’s Michelle.

    As a breeder, I don’t see how what you’re saying is rude, it just makes sense to me. Kids aren’t for everyone and there’s no point in feigning interest. I’ll ask Z. if he has any interest in other people’s kids.

    That said, you’ll still babysit the girls right? And I can bring both to DnD? And you’ll do the Sean Connery voice for them? Or at least for me and Kelly?

  10. Yes I will babysit, and change diapers with the use of a firehose. And I will do the Sean Connery voice for all, but all minors must be accompanied by an adult to watch our D&D game due to mature subject matter!

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