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Friday, December 31, 2004

Well, I survived

I'm back. Home again, home again, jigiddy-jig.

It's always heartwrenching to leave a good friend and her daughter in a bad situation. Hopefully this was the last time they'll go through this particular ordeal.

I have looked into the face of evil for the second time in my life. It's hard to say at what point madness stops being an illness to be treated and starts becoming an evil to be detested. But what I saw these past few days was well beyond that point.

While mulling one aspect of this evil I stumbled upon the thought of children as social security, an investment that may pay dividends in your old age. My grandmother had five children, three of whom stayed close to home. These three had a total of eleven children of their own. When my grandmother entered her final years, she was able to count on two of these children and one of these grandchildren to visit her on a regular basis.

I have always viewed children as a sort of biological imperative: have them or the species dies off. Kids are cute and fun, once you get past the diaper-changing stage, but I've never seen that as sufficient incentive (to a woman, at least) to go through the pain of childbirth. Which is why sex is so much fun: given x sexual encounters, there will be some number f(x) of live childbirths. The relationship is a lot less than 1:1, so people have to want to have sex a lot. Especially since, as I have mentioned, childbirth itself is a pain in the ass. Or very nearly so.

There are, of course, other psychological forces at work that make people want to have babies, despite the life-changing experiences of their friends who have had children. But I am convinced that random rutting and unplanned pregnancies are safety factors built into the human species that keep the population going.

I've never thought of children in the crass sense of someone to take care of me when I get older. But maybe ultimately that's what they are. Pius Aeneas, carrying his father on his back out of the falling city of Troy. An investment in the future.

And what will I be in my old age, if I live so long? A crazy old uncle? That guy who used to visit your parents years ago, before he became a hermit living in a small shack in the woods with dogs? Just some random homeless guy on the street holding a sign that says "WILL WORK FOR FOOD"?

Kids. Hmm. Maybe I oughta get me some.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"...became a hermit living in a small shack in the woods with dogs"
-better than 'with cats' dude