as a tool of deception
as a reminder of bad choices
You just can't look at a child who's playing the xylophone without thinking, "You poor little bastard." As adults, we know the pandering that's going on here. We've all had our hands on a xylophone before, or a recorder, or maybe it was a triangle, and we know who's fooling who at this age. Oh, honey, look, you can play, can't you! That's your song! You've got a little song, don't you! Sure, and you can paint, too! Oh, my little Picasso. And your stories, the ones on the pulpy paper with the dotted lines, about the elephants who drive cars and the bendy straws that know how to sing—just brilliant! You are so imaginative. Or haven't we told you? No, no—it's true.
And, of course, this idiot child, this positively average human being, is a producer of garbage. Senseless banging, indefensible color choices, dull-witted diction, the gratuitous, pedestrian use of glitter. Glitter? Why? Why didn't we adopt? Aren't there orphan prodigies of Tibetan dissidents or something?1 But, no, here's the child you sacrificed so much for, the reason that you took that asinine project management job and put off taking the Foreign Service Exam and Spain (Spain!) for 18-odd years. And you think, what happened? Shit, did we drink too much? I mean, did she drink too much?2 My god, how hard is it to quit smoking? What's wrong with her? Because it sure isn't your fault, uh-uh. You're not the one with the dad who has the Agent Orange thing and the sister with the cats who lives in the home. Who are these people anyway? What have you done? Weren't there blood tests for this sort of thing?
1. Click on "Browse the Children" at www.adoptablekids.com: In Asia, Temerkhan is a 2-year-old boy, Neilar is a 4-year-old girl, Chin is a 0-year-old girl, and, in Kazakhstan, 505 is a 1-year-old girl. Cry softly to yourself.
2. According to the CDC, no amount of alcohol consumption during pregnancy is known to be safe, and fetal alcohol syndrome surpasses both spina bifida and Down's syndrome as the leading cause for mental retardation. Anecdotally, greyhounds have been linked to prenatal and postnatal growth deficiency, gimlets can cause facial malformations, while cold cheap beer increases the likelihood of central nervous system dysfunction and varying degrees of major organ system malfunctions.
Paul Hughes, Contrib.