Sore Losers Insult My Intelligence

Congratulations on your successful divorce!

I know the financial consequences will devastate you for the next two decades and I hope you’re at least somewhat disappointed in how little time you’ll be spending with your children.   Since you’ve been so victimized, I’d like to offer a few thoughts that will allow you to digest what just happened.

Such a lovely family life, isn't it?  (Photo credit: James Delaney)

Such a lovely family life, isn’t it? (Photo credit: James Delaney)

  • Being physically present in the house or grocery store (etc.) with the children does not count as parenting, even if you interact with them at a reasonably human level. It also does not automatically make you a superior parent when compared to your husband who was working 90 hours a week, although leaving the children with you might be construed as negligence and negligence is child abuse. I think child abuse is a crime in most states. If your parenting skills are in question after so many years, it’s not your husband’s fault.
  • If you want to complain about the verdict, it’s okay to mention the child support and alimony and the limited financial resources you’ll have to deal with.  However, you should also sound at least somewhat affected by the loss of child custody, even though your offspring must have said bad things to the judge about you.  Remember that they are still cute.
  • Attacks on your character in court are not automatically lies. People can honestly express negative beliefs about you. Those beliefs can even be true.
  • If you want to show that the testimony about your profligate spending was inaccurate, start by furnishing your new apartment with less expensive items.
  • Do not tell me how you lost because you were pursuing an honest court case while your ex-husband was lying left and right. On second thought, you can tell me that but not immediately before complaining about how your best friend was giving scrupulously honest testimony in court that did not consistently work in your favor.
  • The judge obviously didn’t like you very much and maybe she was biased against you. You know, those liberal activist judges always want to create a more equitable society by giving full custody of the children to the man.
  • It’s not our legal system’s fault that you lost. You consented to the rules when you filed for divorce.   Now go pay your lawyer.
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Children’s Vegetables Insult My Intelligence

Sorry.  You came to the wrong place if you were expecting a post about Spongebob brand baby carrots.  Like Spongebob, those carrots are supposed to be presumably harmless to the at-least-semi-average human of youthful age.

Instead, I’d like to chat about other foods that children don’t usually like.  For example, chilies.  Here in the non-southwestern US, folks have a tendency to use fewer ingredients that impart a noticeably strong flavor and/or punishment to their tongues.  Needless to say, chilies are a tougher sell in this climate than in others, especially to kids who don’t want to eat anything that doesn’t contain chocolate or breast milk.

And so some brilliant nomenclaturist discovered the world’s hottest chili.  It is around 250 times hotter than a jalapeno, which puts it a lot closer to pepper spray than to anything you normally put in your mouth on purpose.

Seriously, I’m not joking.

Red means stop.  (Photo credit: Thaumaturgist)

Red means stop. (Photo credit: Thaumaturgist)

Food heat is measured in scoville units.  Jalapenos range from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units.  Pepper spray is two million Scoville units.  This chili weighs in at one million.

And they decided to call it a “ghost chili.”  Does that sound like something your child would pick up in the store and bite into because it sounds cool?

I thought so.  On the other hand, maybe that will teach them a very important lesson.  For example, they can learn to avoid vegetables.

With apologies for the bad pun, the resulting tongue damage is why the younger generation has such bad taste.  It’s not Bieber’s fault for once.

Lying to Children Insults My Intelligence

Today, I would like to make a public service announcement to all the children who started following my blog after the recent Vagina Monologues post.  I feel that we must teach them the value of orderly speech and behavior.  And so, without further ado, I present to you a special guide for the little ones.

Good morning boys and girls!  I hope you had sweet dreams, dreams of lollipops and cookies and cute little kitty cats.  Your mommy and daddy want you to be happy.  Your mommy and daddy are always right.

Your mommy and daddy also say things you don’t understand.  You should be like mommy and daddy.  You should talk like mommy and daddy.  You should learn what their words mean.

Never stop learning.  (Photo credit: rude cactus)

Never stop learning. (Photo credit: rude cactus)

“Beer” is not for you.  It’s how mommy and daddy make babies.  You can try beer when you’re 28.  By then, you will be finishing “college.”  College is where people learn how to use beer.  These lessons take a very long time.

A “condom” is a small water balloon.  That’s why mommy and daddy are always playing with them.  Ask daddy why the condoms are so small.

“Emphysema” is why the ham tastes so good.  It takes a lot of smoke to make an emphysema.  If mommy keeps smoking, worms will think you taste good too.

Everybody “has sex.”  You are a girl or a boy.  Your daddy is a big boy.  Your mommy is a big girl.  That is their sex.  Tell mommy and daddy every day that they have sex.

“Guns” will make you happy unless the other kids get more of them.  Ask mommy and daddy to buy you guns.  One day, you’ll be allowed to “vote.”  If you have a lot of guns, your “vote” can protect them.  If you vote for guns, you can have a Tea Party.

“Gay marriage” means nothing.  Gay means “happy” and all marriages are happy.  Mommy and daddy are always happy.  Tell mommy and daddy that they have a gay marriage.  If they ask questions, tell mommy that she’s as good as a man.  All women are as good as men.

“The F word” is “fart.”  Tell your teacher that mommy and daddy do the F word on the sofa.  And they do it in the kitchen.  And in the bathroom.   And in the front yard.  If your teacher looks unhappy, just say “pork and beans.”

“Repossessed” means that ghosts now live in your house.  The ghosts want to kill you.   That smaller apartment will save your life.  Mommy and Daddy are crying because they’re so happy.  Tell mommy and daddy that the IRS is glad they’re happy.

“The IRS” are my heroes.  They’re like the Ghostbusters, but they carry better guns.  Guns make people happy.  Call the IRS today and ask them to visit mommy and daddy.

“Schizophrenia” means that you can ask mommy and daddy the same question until you get the answer you want.  They won’t remember they said “no” three times before that.  Schizophrenia makes mommy and daddy better parents.  Look for the word “schizophrenia” on all those tiny little bottles in mommy and daddy’s bathroom.

Feeding the Bears Insults My Intelligence

If you visit Bern, Switzerland, you’re likely to find a pit at the end of town that contains a few friendly-looking bears:

Switzerland is a zoo.

If I were one of these bears, I’d miss the little things like grass and trees.

However, Switzerland is a zoo… especially during tourist season.  And do you know what happens in a zoo?

Inappropriate feeding:

Here's a closer look at the same image.

Here’s a closer look at the same image.  Notice the parent and child in the upper right.

As the sign often says, “Do not feed the bears.”  But if you must feed them, please remember that your kid is not appropriate for a bear’s dinner.  The bear may enjoy him, but you’re inviting a lot of trouble on yourself.

The quiet ain’t worth it.

Field Trips Insult My Intelligence

I wrote a parody of Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” as one of my earliest posts.  I liked the result but few people saw it because the blog was so new.  I’ve been meaning to write a sequel ever since.

That said, it’s time to revisit one of the cruelest topics I’ve ever dealt with: children and animals… so here’s another morbid poem.  (Admittedly, the original was better.)

You can take kids to the forest,
They will see a lot of flies.
You can tell them not to feed the bears,
But then some poor kid dies.

Can’t they listen to instructions?
Don’t they want to stay alive?
‘Cause they play like there’s no danger there
That they just cannot survive.

Just like George and like cats
Who are curious young guys,
Though his hope’s springing high,
Still, he dies.

Photo credit: VanBuren

Photo credit: VanBuren

Should we try for something safer?
Is the subway that bad too?
(Children falling in like teardrops
Ain’t what they’re supposed to do.)

We can try hard to restrain them,
We can offer them a prize,
‘Cause the third rail’s got some energy,
And it makes sure some kid dies.

Photo Credit: PDPhotos

Photo Credit: PDPhotos

We may choose to take the bus now
We may hope that no one fries
We may warn “That fence should not be climbed”
But always someone dies.

Does that image so upset you
That we’ll have to try the beach?
But there’s sharks there underwater,
When kids drown you’ll hear a screech.

Down to the depths of ocean’s floor,
He dies.
In through the teeth, they’re gnashing his brain,
He dies.
He’s a shark’s breakfast, bloody with pride,
Floating and bloating he flows with the tide.

Leaving behind cries of terror and fear,
He dies.
Into a stomach that’s wondrously clear,
He dies.
Bringing the flesh that his ancestors gave
He is the dream and the hope the sharks crave.
He dies.
He dies.
He dies.

Self-Esteem Insults My Intelligence

Self Esteem Shop in Royal Oak, MI http://www.s...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By now, I’m sure we’ve all heard the complaints about today’s educational practices.  Them kiddies are constantly told how wonderful they are and everyone gets a trophy and they feel all warm and fuzzy inside until the flu arrives.  That practice may improve results in the classroom but I’m lazy and I don’t want to belabor the point.

Instead, I’d like to tell a tale of how a subset of these kids all live happily ever after.  These are the honors students and I belonged to this group, as did many of my friends.  I consider myself lucky to have been horrible at sports because no coach in his right mind would have given me a self-esteem trophy unless it had been made of dog poo.  I really was that bad, but my ineptitude bred positive results.  Honors students don’t survive (and arguably thrive, at least psychologically) through extended unemployment unless they’ve had a few bumps along the way before that.  Failure keeps me sane.

Otherwise, we honors students were constantly told how we were the smartest, the most talented, the most wonderful person in the class, in the room, in the world.   This caused many of us (fortunately again, not me) to assume a superiority complex as our identities.  Woe to the college teacher who has to burst that bubble.

Been there, done that, never going back.

Unfortunately, some honors students are idiots and they only grow stupider with age.  And thus begins today’s tale…

Once upon a time in a college not far away there was an honors student with overly inflated self-esteem.  At meals, he regaled his peers with how he was the smartest in his class.  His term papers never turned out well in college, but that was never his fault.  He blamed his high school… even though he always waited until the last minute to start researching.  And then he’d confidently inform all of us how the professor told him he’d done well for a [insert one: freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, fifth-year senior, sixth-year senior, billy goat, etc.] when the horrors had ended.  And we’d hear story after story of these words that Mr. Self-Esteem couldn’t recognize as not-quite-praise.

And he didn’t graduate on time because, as I understand it, he wasn’t finishing his work as he was supposed to.  Nevertheless, he dutifully edified us on how he was outperforming all those freshmen and sophomores in his courses.  Impressive!  I’m sure his wife couldn’t contain her pride.

You read that correctly.  He married early in life and the couple had a pair of sons.  His wife had been the college sweetheart who always defended him when others would point out Mr. Honors Student’s poor time management skills.  I’m sure you don’t need to know the physical details on how those sons came into existence.

Or maybe you do, because the happy couple is fighting again and I’d be shocked if they don’t get a divorce this time.  I suspect he and his wife will immolate each other in the process, perhaps making the court decide that the sons would be better off in foster care.

I know enough about divorce to realize that soon-to-be exes often discount the amount of fault they hold for the relationship’s collapse.  But adults who were educated in the art of honors self-esteem face different problems.  My friend thinks he’s being insightful when he explains the situation but he reveals his incapacity for seeing that things were crumbling years ago.  He praises himself again but, as in college, he tears himself down in the process.

But…

This time he can’t escape or ignore the criticism coming from so many quarters because it so intimately affects his future life.  I visited him recently and he seemed to be litigating the case against his wife.  (Truth be told, the wife is another can of worms and she may have bigger problems than he has, again because of inflated self-esteem.  Maybe I’ll write about that another day.)  He also seemed to be litigating against me and occasionally against others he thought might testify against him in the event of a divorce.

Subtle…

This is rage.  This is realizing, perhaps all of a sudden, that people don’t hold him in as high esteem as he was trained to hold himself, realizing that so many people think he’s not quite there psychologically, remaining unable to let go of his self-esteem training and perceive things more clearly.

Then, add a dose of paranoia.  I had (and have) no intention of testifying against him in any future divorce proceeding because I’m not convinced the wife is any better.

Oh, and I think he may now believe I’m his sons’ biological father.

Newborn on scale

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suppose I’ll never know what inspired him to question his paternity so late, but I have a hard time believing he’d bring up the issue if he hadn’t already been tested.

In case you were wondering, I am not the father.  But thank you for asking and for your vote of confidence.  (His wife is rather lovely, so it’s a show of confidence that you think I could be the culprit.)

And now it’s time for the moral to the story.  If you feed a child a steady dose of empty self-esteem, the world becomes a binary of praise and the rare catastrophe.  In the end, criticism becomes more than criticism; it is the stripping of an identity someone has had for their entire life.  And just as a kitten presumably screeches if you try to skin it with a pocket knife (presumably, I said…), these no-longer-so-young people take these negative words as an affront to their entire being.  And then they claw and bite and pee on you until you put away the knife.  And so you learn to remain silent and gracefully permit the status quo.

There may be more than one way to skin a cat but there aren’t many ways to skin an honors student who can’t let go of the past.  As for me, I’m just annoyed because potential employers see my educational credentials and often assume I’ll be like my friend.  They tell you in school that hard work allows you to become anything you want but they fail to mention that you’re tattooing your own scarlet letter as you build yourself up.  You are judged by the company you keep and hard work doesn’t win you great company.

And so…

The next time your children want to do their homework, tell them to play outside or try a video game.  And make sure they lose sometimes.  Badly.  Being unemployed is also a great way to catch up on some fun, but it’s not such a positive experience for the wallet.