Friday, April 18, 2008

My grumpy advice column

I don't normally read advice columns, but I do enjoy Salon's Cary Tennis. Today's question, however, was just too much for me to take, so I'm going to answer it myself. Since I don't have any readership to lose, I can be a complete dick in my answer.

Dear Cary,

I desperately want a child. I want, my husband wants, we want.

However, my husband and I purposely will not conceive a child. The reason is, we feel that what we want is not the most important thing. The most important consideration is toward the person who is most directly affected. The most important consideration is toward the child.

Making a life-altering decision without consulting the one most affected seems wrong. Also, there is a chance that once the child is grown, he may look back and feel, "I would have preferred nonexistence. There, I would have remained safe from all harm."

Also, any harm that comes to the child would be my fault and my husband's fault. If we had not conceived the child the harm would not have occurred. Do many other people think this way?

Wanting/Not Wanting

Dear Wanting/Not Wanting,

Yes, plenty of other people think this way, I even have a name for them - idiots. It amazes me that you would approach something as important as having children without apparently having given the matter any real thought at all.

It is not possible for anyone to honestly believe the statement "I would have preferred non-existence". No one can prefer non-existence. It isn't just a matter of opinion, like preferring vanilla over chocolate. The statement itself is logically absurd, it's nonsense. People cannot both exist and not-exist at the same time. If a person doesn't exist, then they cannot know what non-existence is like. Existence is a prerequisite for experience. See?

Let's set that issue aside for a moment. Even if your worst fears are confirmed and your child somehow prefers non-existence, his wish is easily granted, isn't it? He can step off this crazy ride called 'existence' any time he wants. In fact, you can send him back yourself. Oh, what's the matter? You find the prospect of sending your child back to non-existence distasteful? Perhaps you should ask yourself why. Maybe non-existence isn't the warm fuzzy place you make it out to be.

It may sound like I'm encouraging you to pull out the diaphragm and go for it. However my advice to you is to remain childless. Not for your sake or the child's, but the whole world's. We need more stupid people to stop breeding. You have my sincerest thanks for volunteering.