January 10, 2007
Growing Up Ugly
Parents are delusional by nature. Because they love their children so deeply, because kids are literally a byproduct of their moms and dads, it's important for parents to believe they have cute kids.
Here is the reality all parents must deal with: your kid is probably ugly.
Sure, every once in a while two good-looking people get married and have a gorgeous baby. These are the kids whose pictures end up on the jars of baby food. They comprise maybe one percent of the baby population. The rest of the kids are mucous-filled little puss heads.
We all reinforce the mistaken notion kids are cute because when we run into someone we know who is with their child, we say stuff like, "Oh, is this your son? What a cute kid!"
Parents eat this stuff up, never realizing we don't mean a word of it. What we really want to say is, "Where did you get the monkey?"
Karen and I went out the other night for dinner. We were having a reasonably good time when the danger signal came: they put a high chair at the large, circular, empty table right next to us.
I can't figure out why parents bring children to expensive restaurants. Parents should go out to get away from the little brats. For one thing, the kids will be much happier at home eating a bowlful of candy and watching cartoons while the babysitter smokes crack with the local community college basketball team. For another, restaurants are for adults.
Sure enough, in walks a family of about 10 including several obnoxious kids.
This was a garish group, loud and clearly lacking couth and culture. This is an earmark of the new Hamptons — in the old days, class showed, and the elegant old-money crowd carried themselves accordingly. With the new breed of nouveau rich having wealth means not only flaunting it but mistakenly believing they are the pretty people.
The family arrived with a flourish. The ugly dad, was gushing over the kids. Mom had one of those movie cameras that shines a light onto everything. She was filming every move the monkeys — I mean, children — made.
We politely asked the mule in charge of the herd to kill the camera a couple times, but the family was so loud I was quickly losing my appetite. I motioned for the hapless waitress, who had her hands full satiating this demanding family, to pack up our meals into doggie bags. We left as fast as we could.
The next morning we were going to have steak and eggs, except the steak hadn't been packed up with the rest of the food from the night before. So I had spent $285 to be offended by an uncouth family and barely a meal to show for it. Welcome to the Hamptons.
Here is a rule of thumb all delusional parents need to grasp: Dad, if you are ugly, and your wife is unattractive, the two of you together have no chance of producing an attractive child. That is what the old adage, "an acorn doesn't fall far from the tree," means — that homely kid of yours resembles the cow you call a wife. This is what breeding is all about: genetics. You can't make a steak out of hamburger meat, folks, and chances are you married a hamburger. Put another way, the only thing your kid is more attractive than is an open wound.
That is why I think home movies in general are cruel. You see, even the ugly kids grow up believing they are cute, because so many people lie to them. They go through early childhood thinking they are adorable. By the time they are 13, they totally believe it, even when the other kids taunt them.
Take an average 13-year-old (please). The kid probably has big ears, pimples and needs braces. When I went to St. Francis of Assisi every boy in the eighth grade had braces and pimples. We were so ugly even the priests didn't want to molest us.
Gradually, as we approached legal age, it began to dawn on us that we weren't quite as cute as our parents told us we were. For most of us that revelation usually came to the fore when we asked the pretty girls to go to the movies and they laughed hysterically at us.
"Why do they mock me?" we wondered.
Then one night our moms break out the home movies, and we realize those little rat-faces on the grainy screen are us!
That's what they call growing up.
Nevertheless, love finds even the homely, and a few years later a new life is brought into the world, and two more delusional parents are born as well.
"He looks just like his daddy!" the nurse gushes.
"She's the spitting image of her mother!" the doctor exclaims.
Exactly. The poor kid.