Want to watch some people go absolutely apeshit and foam at the mouth? Suggest that some children behave inappropriately in public while their useless parents let them, or that thrice-daily Facebook updates about a progressing pregnancy might just be a bit much, or that some mothers and fathers use their children as an excuse for why they never pursued their extraparental dreams like writing a bestseller or brush painting at the foot of Mount Fuji. Make one of these statements and then just sit back, pop some popcorn, and watch the fur fly, because all of these things (and more!) will make the breeders go mega-ballistic.
I can go one better.
For the past 48 hours, all anyone on social media wants to talk about is the finale of Breaking Bad, which was, admittedly, awesome. Amid all the brilliance of that episode’s script was one key quote from long-suffering wife Skyler that illustrates this point perfectly. As her estranged spouse, the doomed drug kingpin Walter White, appears before her to say his goodbyes, he seems ready to claim, yet again, that he ‘did it all for her’ and the kids. She looks at him with a weariness and cynicism that made even me shiver and derisively declares, “If I have to hear one more time that you did this for ‘the family’,” and in a moment of transformative and, dare I say, revolutionary raw honesty, he admits, “I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. “ I wanted to stand up and applaud – no, scratch that; I wanted to set off fireworks. Thank you, writers of Breaking Bad, for having the cojones to let Walt admit that all the destruction and suffering he created wasn’t sprung from nobility or magnanimity – it came from a place of pleasure, power, and selfishness. It’s just that simple.
‘I did it for my kids’ is a phrase that’s right up there, in my book, with ‘it’s just business,’ which loosely and universally translates into ‘I don’t care how egregiously I’m about to fuck you and yours over, Imma get mine,’ or, as my Grandma Dottie used to say, ‘Screw you, hurrah for me.’ Listen, if you’re greedy, just admit it. If you’re out to feather your own nest at the expense of others, just admit it. If you’re about to really hurt someone who doesn’t deserve it to make your own situation better, just admit it, and stop using your innocent children, who have nothing to do with anything about this grimy equation, as the front for your sorry, amoral behavior.
I’d like to suggest here (and let the foaming begin) that far more people than would be willing to admit use their children as an excuse to metamorphose into the avaricious, selfish, scheming opportunists they always were inside but were afraid to act on without the convenient justification of their precious progeny’s well-being as a rationale. For a few among us, reproducing seems to give one license to be as cutthroat and self-serving as one pleases, with a convenient little out – ‘it’s not for me, it’s for the children.’ Oh, please. Save me the song and dance and just admit it – you did it for you. Because you like it. Because you’re good at it.