Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Thursday, November 04, 2004

To Breed Or Not To Breed...

It's hard to know how to respond to Andy's Sound of Ultimate Suffering. Obviously, I'm not in his situation even remotely, not having a wife (or likely to anytime soon, for that matter) and kids are so far off the horizon as to be a non-issue.

Still, from long-term observation of friends, family, neighbors, etc. that are going through (or have already completed) similar trials, I can say with absolute certainty that this, too, shall be endured.

First, the immediate help... You get a BIG tax write-off for having kids. So much so, that you better hope it's gonna be twins. I know it might be a bitter pill for a liberal knowing your hard-earned money will be coming back to you instead of going to the UN to buy blue helmets or a Federal grant to study the grooming habits of the Eastern Toadlicking Matriculate, but the guv'mint realizes that raising kids ain't cheap. They also provide FMLA coverage, so neither one of you need lose a job if the kid needs caring for.

Second, I've had lots of friends have a family and every single one despaired at the thought of raising them. Needless to say, most of them are coming up just fine. The common thread among all the parents states that (in essence) when the kids are small, the problems are small, though they seem huge at the time. As the kid grows, so does your experience, and even though the problems are more complex, you're gone through your own little training program

Now, Andy, some unsolicited advice which you are free to ignore...

#1 Don't buy the Prius. I know you really want one. I finally saw one, and yeah, they're kinda snazzy looking, if you can get past the fact they basically run on Duracells. You need to start stocking up on diapers and car seats and strollers and a college fund and prepaid orthodontia, and #$(*&%^($*&^%(* I'll stop. I'm depressing you now, and that's not my intention!

My point is, a used low-mileage car for 10-12K is going to suit your finances a lot better than your 30K GreenMobile. Get one that has a good MPG and a great reliability factor, plaster it with Hillary '08 and Amnesty stickers, and stay with the rest of the population that drive used cars. I've never had a new car, and probably never will. That initial depreciation is too big a price to pay for that new car smell.

#2 Keep the BabyRabies to a minimum. There's no need to spend thousands to totally redecorate a room just for the baby. Trust me on this, you've got a good 3-4 years before the kid will care about his carpet color or whether there's Yodas on the wall. A good safe crib & bedding, a baby monitor and one of those dangling mobiles to keep the kid's neurons developing is all you'll need.
Oh, no designer baby clothes either. Tiny little Birkenstocks or Doc Martens on a baby are good for a laugh, but if you're going to spend $50-75 just to make us giggle, we'd much prefer a subscription to The Onion, thanks very much!

#3 Call us. We'll help. Just give me 5 hours to get there, and I'll come a'runnin if you need a hand. I'm not the only one, either. Quite a few of your friends are looking forward to this, and we're all there to lean on.
You're about to get a whole new world of friends and social acquaintances, too. From the pediatrician's office, the PTA, the Soccer team, etc. you'll have a support group like no other, if you make the effort. Judging from your AA experience, that shouldn't be a problem. (BTW, I'll levy the 'service charge' for emergency trips later, when "Unca Matt" turns Junior on to the joys of internal combustion engines, Texas Hold 'Em, deep-fried chilicheesydogs and KISS albums. Hehehehe..... I can't wait!!)

As for where the world is going? Who can say for certain?? It does look bleak, but it looked awfully bleak in the 40's due to Nazis, the 50's due to Commies, the 60's due to Hippies or warmongers (depending on your perspective), the 70's due to OPEC and disco, the 80's due to Yuppies & AIDS, the 90's due to computer viruses and the WTO. Without fail, life has improved over ALL classes, rich and poor alike. That rising tide keeps bumping all of us higher. Your kids might have to explore other opportunities than you've pursued, but you can bet your last dollar that those opportunities haven't even been invented yet. For all I know, your first kid's gonna install my intra-cranial brain augmentation chip when I'm old and gray. Your 2nd kid, if that occurs, is probably gonna sentence me to 5 years of cryo-freeze for growing Martian Red CocaWeed in the nursing home garden, more than likely.

Courage, my good friend. Durabimus.