I have a terminal degree. I’m married. I work 40 hours a week. So really the only thing that’s left for me in this world is having a child, right? I mean, either I make a little person in my own image to validate my existence, or I start wearing khakis every day, begin parting my hair down the middle and enroll in my local community college’s Lifelong Learners program.
But let me ask you something. Have you seen America recently? It blows. And not only that, it seems that everywhere I turn I hear the steady clip-clop of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Who would want to bring children into a world only to have them witness its collapse? Take a look at 3 things that are ruining your children’s lives (and subsequently your life) before they even begin:
1. PEAK OIL
The Peak Oil theory examines the moment that our demand for fossil fuel exceeds our ability to meet that demand with production. It also examines the moment that America turns into a lawless, bandit-ruled wasteland. Everything we do depends on oil. Oh but you’re too urban for a car, you say? You’re fine riding your fixie around Williamsburg? You’re too busy fulfilling orders for knitted classic Nick Toon characters to leave your Etsy shop (apartment)? Well you’re the only one. 95% of American households own a car. And everyone you know and love live on products brought to us by oil. Your food, your soap, your Season 3 of Gilmore Girls on DVD – all delivered by a fuel-burning infrastructure of death. Eh, come on though: the world has 763 billion barrels of undiscovered oil. That’ll last a while, right? Wrong. By some estimates we actually hit peak production in the late 1960s and are just now starting to figure it out. Start hoarding essentials like toilet paper now. As for your kids? Forget it. They’ll never know the rippled reassurance of a good Cottonelle ass wiping.
Steve Jobs changed the world. He also ensured its destruction. I remember needing to think long and hard about whether or not I was going to join the smartphone crowd. It’s not natural to be in touch with everyone at every second of every day, right? But soon it will be. You may not have witnessed first-hand evidence of evolution before, but in twenty years when babies are being born in a hunched-over position with their hands cupped 6 inches away from their face it will all become clear. One in five children under 16 now owns a smartphone in the UK. (That’s obviously more than the number of children that have orthodontic care in the UK.) But here’s the mind boggling thing – who the hell are children emailing in the first place? The answer is they’re not emailing anyone. They’re sending naked pictures to each other using Snapchat. Naturally, it takes adolescents exactly 0.2 seconds to figure out how to use the next-big-thing to ruin their life. And is it their fault? Who gave them that magical device to begin with? Their mother did because, well, everyone else has one and I don’t want my kid to be a loser, ok!? Face it, we live in a world where one of the major questions we have to ask ourselves as parents is, “At what age do I give Junior his first mobile device?” And then we commit seppuku.
3. THE DEATH OF THE POSTAL SERVICE
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” reads the inscription on the James Farley Post Office in New York City. But yesterday Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe (metaphorically) marched to 8th Avenue, (metaphorically) climbed the columns and (metaphorically) etched the addendum “except Saturdays” onto the prominent Corinthian colonnade. He told us that the amount of mail being delivered drastically decreases each year and that the United States Postal Service will no longer be delivering mail on Saturdays in order to save $2 billion a year. Oh, and also that everything and everyone that you could ever rely on as a constant in your life will eventually be torn away from you without warning. It’s more than just the Postal Service dropping a day of delivery. It’s a government institution admitting to its people, “We have no money and we can’t do anything about it. In the near future nothing real will exist and we will all live empty, hollow lives from within a crappy version of the Holodeck. Our world is crumbling. Think Wall-e directed by Oliver Stone.”
Perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe we’ll reverse humanity’s taxation of this planet and it will lead to an age of peace and harmony and our children will be the first generation in the history of the earth to experience a society without conflict. Or maybe we’ll all wise up and realize that children will only slow you down when, in the near future, you’re running at a dead sprint from marauding cannibals after foraging for dead subway rats.