Sunday, March 25, 2012

A Plague of Babies

Allen Masterson

At the weathered age of 38, I’ve recently realized I have reason to celebrate beyond traditional standards. I am childless. The spermatozoa that has been a literal climax for every good time this author had, that pertained to sex, has found no purpose in a biological sense.  My soldiers have all died at the front (insert bugle playing "Taps").

No mouths to feed. No threat of neglect charges being filed by the police; followed by a local newspaper article about squalor conditions to make members of my community feel good about how they raise the fruit of their loins. (My place is nice and tidy, mind you; I’m just trying to paint a hypothetical alternative reality here.) No worries of an overly vaccinated, medicated, Teletubbies indoctrinated, knife wielding toddler ending up featured on an episode of the Montel Williams Show.

I know what all you procreators reading this are thinking right now; I’m exaggerating, and if I were to have a child, I would take a big gulp of the baby Kool-Aid, and would be happy cleaning shit out of Port-O-Johns at street festivals just so long as I made it home to see my beautiful little Frankenstein baby spitting out mashed carrot portions of my paycheck on the linoleum of my trailer’s kitchen floor. You people obviously don’t know me very well.

Once, over a decade ago, I was at a point in my life where I could have lassoed an ovum with my DNA bounty hunter, but fate gifted me a fickle succubus that bulldozed over any white picket fence, and Sunday afternoon picnics in Candy Land, delusions I may have entertained. She was a petite auburn haired sadist with a laugh that would deflate the most fortified of male egos, and I was madly in love with her.

We both worked as well paid humans pretending to be robots at an auto plant. A very short time after we met, she moved into my tiny one bedroom suburban apartment. As any hormone driven male with easy access to an easier outlet, I physically exerted myself on an hourly basis trying to prove how much I cared. Orgasms were our pastime. We spent our nights as automatons at the auto plant, and our free time became more like a biology experiment than an evolving relationship.

After about a month, she tentatively broke it to me that she was late with her period. Never in my life had I broken down scenarios as fast as I did the five minutes after she nonchalantly told me cells were possibly dividing inside her with every breath. We took the logical young white trash route and procrastinated hoping maybe the moon had decided to go out of its regularly scheduled orbit for a little while.

A couple weeks after she first told me she was late, we had our first serious discussion on what we were going to do if she were pregnant. Here is the dialogue from eleven years ago. Forgive me if it’s a little dusty from being stored back in the recesses of my brain:

Fade in…

Me: So, what do think we should do? Do you want to go get one of those pregnancy tests?
Her: I don’t know. I’ve been pregnant before and this feels like I might be. I’ve had three abortions.
Me: (Long pause.) You know I love you. If you want to have it, I will be there for you and do whatever it takes. I would love the baby, too.
Her: I’ll probably just kill it.

Fade out…

She became withdrawn and mostly contentious afterwards. She told me there was nothing to worry about, she wasn’t pregnant. I kept my doubts to myself. Did she have an abortion and never tell me? Maybe. Would it have bothered me at the time? Oh, yes, very much so. Would it bother me now? Not in the least bit. I’d probably go out and buy her a bottle of hair gel and a pack of Chips-A-Hoy cookies to thank her for her pragmatic decision making abilities in the midst of such a potentially toxic situation.

We broke up shortly thereafter. We were together just a little longer than it takes to conceive a child, then turn around and abort it. I have come to the conclusion that I loved her solely because I knew she would have never wanted my child. The most beautiful brands of contradiction are manifested in the deepest parts of our subconscious. Sometimes neurosis is one’s friend and can crazy a person out of a potentially long cycle of misery.  

I look at friends' pictures posted on social media of their children and see how happy and proud they are. Hopefully, posting their child’s accomplishments, and declaring their pride in them out in cyberspace for all to see, will make parenting for them more participatory than previous generations of parents from similar circumstances.  In my youth, involved parents only had to yell in bleachers at sporting events, or actually show up at parent-teacher conferences.

As a child of two very different types of neglectful parents, I can’t bring myself to ever reproduce for fear of a genetic predisposition to a subtle aversion for caring about my child. For all I know, there could be a pheromone that hasn’t been discovered making it impossible for people like myself to be a positive force in their own child’s upbringing.

Do I hate babies and children? Not at all; I actually enjoy being around my friends' kids. I wouldn’t mind someday possibly becoming a “step daddy”. Most kids make me laugh with their psychological games and their tireless inquisitiveness.

The thing I most fear when it comes to having a child of my own is that there is a biological switch waiting to be flipped whenever my DNA escapes into another vessel, and what I now perceive as people having a good time with their kids running around, playing, and exhibiting traits of my long time friends, becomes an army of terrorizing toddlers and a drooling, crapping, plague of babies.  

I will forever continue to wantonly spill my seed without purpose (a sin illustrated in the Bible by the parable of Onan and aptly named, "Onanism"), but I will keep the image of a redheaded, blue-eyed, beautiful impish child perpetually wreaking havoc in the backyard of my mind.