Friday, September 23, 2011

Do I want a kid?

Don't worry, this isn't a decision I'm currently facing or anything. Nor one that I expect to rear its ugly, vulva-stretching head for many years yet.

For starters, I can barely look after myself - that ankle wound I got trekking through jungles four months ago is still swollen and infected-looking, and I've been bleeding regularly from a private place since Christmas 2009 without seeking medical attention. No wonder I've constructed these indestructible mental blocks that prevent me from thinking about the future in any way. Even signing up for a six-month phone contract would feel like too much commitment, let alone the time investment required to raise a mewling, pewking, diarrhoeaing infant.

But like many otherwise rational people, I do have a slight urge to spread my pollen and cultivate a flawed genetic duplicate. For some people this is due to vanity, for others the key to a few extra pounds from the government. I think I've finally worked out my reason.

I want an apprentice

The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field.
If you've ever seen a more powerful and thought-provoking image, please let me know

I spend a lot of time in the library and on informative websites, trying to make up for a slightly lazy education when I inexplicably wasn't so interested in the sciences, and was more preoccupied with trying to carve the Testament logo correctly into desks.

I'm now appropriately fascinated by everything from the psychology of emotion to the philosophical ramifications of time travel, humanity's evolutionary throwbacks and the quest for habitable exoplanets, with a special interest in historical misconceptions and crackpot conspiracy theories.

But I'm a writer, not a scientist - and thus have no aspirations for my life to be of any practical use. I've got no desire for any more education or the pointless stress of exams. But what if I created and trained another human who could miraculously overcome this genetic defect and end up doing some good? I could be like those vain women who enter their kids in The X Factor so they can be vicariously humiliated and shouted at by grown men on their behalf.

Anatomically incorrect Stegosaurus. My kid would know why

If I had a kid, I'd have a great time nurturing their interest in the more interesting aspects of the universe, leaving the tedious stuff like the water cycle to the National Curriculum, or the equivalent in whichever Asian country I end up in (yeah right, like I'd inflict another purebred English kid on the world). The ridiculously strict 18-hour school days of South Korea (no exaggeration) should gradually erode the laziness out of them.

The main problem with this situation (apart from my the fact that I clearly shouldn't even be allowed a pet) is that I wouldn't want to force an interest if it's clear my genius kid wasn't interested in the same things I was. The childish idiots.

So while I'm happy to spend a disproportionate amount of time drawing Stegosauruses with the little blighter, I wouldn't know where to begin if his passion lay in something terrible, like football, Formula One, Britain's Got Talent or war. And what if they're evil? It's a definitive risk with my genetics, and by introducing them to science, I could unintentionally bring about the end of civilisation. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether I'm joking or if these are things that genuinely occupy my thoughts, isn't it?

I could always dismiss this initial reproduction experiment as a failure and try again for the elusive favourite son (I hadn't even considered the risk that it might be a daughter - they're only interested in nylons and lipstick, after all). But I could end up with a whole army of idiots. It's just too much of a risk.

So what are you going to do about it?

That's not what the world looks like, you're way off!
Don't you even have satellite imaging technology yet, you idiots?

I can't just hire an assistant/henchman to discuss my latest scientific reading with. I don't think that job category exists outside of gothic Transylvania. And I can't rely on my brothers or friends to have kids, just on the off chance that they'll be interested in going round to Uncle Dave's house to compare 12th century Ptolemaic world maps with contemporary satellite images, and then watch some American sci-fi and make disapproving noises every time a sound effect is heard in a vacuum.

Maybe I should just join a forum or something.


  1. How is babby formed?

  2. Im warried my babby frigth back :(

    I wouldn't be surprised if 'kavya' came from the same restricted gene pool as gabriel25gatens:

  3. ‘Lot’ by Ward Moore provides an excellent suggestion as to what to do if you end up being somewhat disappointed with the fruit of your loins. In summary; drive them into the midst of an inconsolable population crazed by the threat of a nuclear disaster, send them to a gas station to buy rations under false pretences, and make a run for it with the one that you think is okay (maybe even more than okay). It’s one option.

  4. For further insight into my unconscious ideas of the perfect kid, I just dreamed I had to go five years back in time and conceive a kid in order to create an ontological paradox to prevent a disaster from occurring, during which my family was crushed to death by a giant milkshake cup that fell from the sky (wow, my dreams are even nerdier than I am).

    When I came back to the future and met the resulting kid, he was carrying a dinosaur book and his mother explained that he liked playing audiobooks all the time, as well as the 1989 Danny Elfman Batman soundtrack. I felt instantly attached to this weird, idiosynchratic, anachronistic kid, but as he only existed to plug a hole in the space-time continuum I tried to keep my distance.

    So apparently, that's (literally) my dream child. A five year old (boy, obviously) who carries a dino book around with him everywhere. I could have told you that even before the psychoanalysis.