Tag Archives: family

I’d Just Like to Buy a Bottle of Asprin Without the Child Safety Cap

10 Oct

I don’t normally use this blog as a place to discuss politics, for two reasons: one, politics are boring. I mean, have you ever watched C-Span? It’s worse than waiting on line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. If I wanted to watch long-winded, poorly-attended lectures, I’d enroll in Virginia Tech. The other reason I don’t normally discuss politics is that I haven’t read a newspaper or watched the news since 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded. If you’re going to bum me out with depressing stories, journalistic media, then I’m simply not going to lend my support. So there. Maybe you can cheer things up like Awake! and I’ll read your fish wrap again.

But this time, there’s an issue that I think is so important that it needs writing about. It concerns the President of the United States, Barack Obama, whose approval rating has slipped many digits over the last year. I know it may come as a shock to some people, but I can understand why. People are sick of Obama’s agenda, they don’t want to support his kowtowing to special interest groups anymore. And I’m right in line with them, in fact I didn’t support Obama from day one. But it didn’t have to do with his politics, or his rhetoric, or even his public speaking ability. No, I discounted Obama as a reliable, justified person who would serve my interests almost immediately upon seeing him. It wasn’t because of what he said or did, but because of who he is.

Obama is one of them.

One of those people with families.

Now I was raised to live and let live, let bygones be bygones, and always turn the other cheek. I certainly don’t hold it against someone simply because they have a family. Sure, I might not want them to eat at the same restaurant as me, I might not appreciate them moving next door, but it is anyone’s right to have a family, and if you decide to do so then that’s your business. The problem comes when you see someone with a family in a position of power, like Mr. Barack Obama. Then I have to wonder: will he legislate on what he thinks is best for America, or for his family? If it came down to saving the country’s economy or seeing his daughter’s ballet recital, would he choose the former despite the fact that his kid would probably tell him “I hate you and I wish you were dead” if he missed her performance? The issue here is that I don’t know. I’d like to think he’d do the right thing and serve the greater good, but I don’t know. Stronger men than he have caved at the tears of a cute little girl.

I know what you’re saying. “Don’t judge Obama! It’s not his fault that he’s got a family!” That’s baloney. Having a family is a choice, not a genetic predisposition. No one forces you to birth and raise a child, that’s your decision. “But Reggie,” you say, “we’re inclined to propagate our species through reproduction!” Nonsense. How crowded do things have to get before you decide that adding another snot rocket to the mix wouldn’t be a good idea? Or did you think your genes were special and needed to be passed on to future generations? All you’re doing is clogging our future space colonies and Soylent Green farms. Keep it in your pants, ladies and gentlemen. You, too can prevent premature human extinction.

I know Barack Obama isn’t the first person with a family to hold the office of President, but it seems like today every bit of legislation has to take into account American families and ensuring that our children receive no Bad News or have any Bad Experiences. And I, for one, am sick of it. There are eighty-six million unmarried people in America, and I have to assume that the majority of those over the age of twenty do not have children. So where is our fair shake? I’d like to see laws that allow curse words on network television, I’d like to see a tax break given to single people since we don’t give a flying fuck about your stupid child’s education. You know what was the most important piece of education I ever received? Finding a moldy copy of Screw magazine in the gutter when I was ten years old. That smutty rag taught me more about life and the human condition than the years I spent deriding Peace Corps volunteers. So don’t tell me I contribute nothing to society. At the very least, I’ll never spit up on you or disturb your movie-going experiences.

I Don’t Give a Shit About Family

20 Feb

Like all good Americans, I was raised primarily by television. It was a component of my well-rounded education which also included Discoveries in My Brother’s Room and Outcomes of Interpersonal Manipulation. However, television was the primary caregiver, invaluably telling me what to consume and how to frame my opinions. That’s the kind of esoteric teaching you don’t get outside of a brainwashing cult. There was one point that television stressed in my youth that I’ve never been able to wholeheartedly adopt: the idea that blood is thicker than water.

I mean, blood is thicker than water. I know this, I have handled both liquids. But the concept that the bonds of family trump all is not something intrinsic to me. Sure, I love my parents, there are members of my family that I genuinely love. But I love them for the same reasons I might love anyone, because of our shared experience and some degree of respect and admiration. Most of my family I feel somewhat indifferent about. I am interested to know things about my ancestors, but detailing my genealogy isn’t necessarily going to make me like you. The whole idea of tracing a bloodline kind of creeps me out, actually. You’re just absorbing the history of some stranger because he fucked your great-grandmother or something. Why should I revel in this person’s accomplishments and regret his crimes? Who the hell was this person to me except for the hapless donor of some biological material?

When you really think about nepotism and what it implies, you begin to see the world in a whole new light. Exploiting family connections professionally or otherwise implies that we should value an arbitrary, random thing like shared DNA over acquired skills and technical knowledge. Nepotism happens all the time and it’s essentially the foundation upon which monarchies are built. So how often is someone who is less than fully qualified working in a position due to sharing an ancestor with the CEO? Could your friend have set you up with a better date that was not with her cousin? Being family becomes an unearned pass into whatever shit they’re all mixed up in–good or bad–and somehow there should be an automatic pride attached to it.

Makes me think of that Bill Hicks bit: “Am I proud to be American? I dunno, I didn’t have a lot to do with it. My parents fucked there, that’s all.” Existence itself is so improbable and the pattern is so complex, I guess there’s something soothing in the created, more manageable pattern of one’s lineage. Me, I don’t feel that ancestral heartbeat pumping the blood of my fathers through my hardened arteries. An old friend of mine points out, “Friends are the best kind of family, because they’re the ones you choose.” That about sums it up.

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