Thursday, September 26, 2013

Alright, Lookit, Mom, Dad? Just Relax

I love Louie CK.  Madly.  I think his show is brilliant and hilarious and heartbreaking and you should all  be watching it.  But, this thing that went around the internet...

Just.... no.  No no no no.  No. Seriously, no.

What the hell is this crazy, blithe assertion that prior to all his technology kids would try on being mean and then decide it didn't feel good?  In what halcyon 50s sit com did Louie CK come of age where kids were only mean the one time?

Let's look back to my childhood, shall we?  I spent a lot of time with my brother and maternal cousins, Alexis and Jason.  I am, to this day, haunted by feelings of exclusions coupled with taunts of "Meg the Rotten Egg!"  It took a few hundred times before they decided that "didn't feel good."  Why?  Because it felt good!  Survival of the fittest works best when you can group together to identify someone as unfit.  That's childhood, motherfucker.

As it turned out, my brother and Alexis and Jason all grew up to be really wonderful people.  They are, each of them, exceptionally kind and sympathetic, and are all disinclined to take joy from someone else's pain (unless that someone else is, I dunno, a huge asshole like Rush Limbaugh or Ann Romney).

Furthermore, when they were kids, it's not like they were uniformly jerky.  Why I remember one time my paternal cousin, Shawn, was visiting and I decided I wanted to exclude her from a sleepover I was having because I felt pretty sure that being mean to her was the best way to guarantee a truly boffo sleepover!   I wasn't just a victim, you guys!  I could asshole it up with the best of 'em?  You know who talked me out of it?  Alexis!  Who was, "rotten egg" taunts aside, a pretty great kid. She sat me down on the porch swing and gently gave me the, "Meg, you're better than this..." talk.   And I was.  And she was.  And Nolan and Jason were.  And we all were.

But these days, it's (ironically?) all over the internet, this mid-life panic that the new technologies are RUINING OUR CHILDREN FOREVER because we didn't have it and our childhoods were PERFECT!

Kind of reminds me of one of my past lives when I was hanging out with my buddy Gutenberg (not Steve) in 1460 and we were just agonizing about how all this easy access to the printed word would rob our children of the deep personal connections we made growing up.

Lame printing press jokes aside, I think that most likely the best way to asshole-proof your kid is by not being an asshole yourself.  Don't scream at the guy who didn't signal before turning right... let it go (that one's for me).  When your husband takes care of getting the city sticker or your wife does the laundry, say "thank you." Smile at your kid.  Say nice things to people around you.  Don't fall into your iPhone and never look up.  Indulge in the assumption of good faith.  And stop indulging in the assumption that the only thing standing between your kid and a hideous, soulless future and is your own Luddism.