#2. Owning Pets
Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images
You know what's a huge bummer? Any commercial featuring the music of Sarah McLachlan. That's because her songs seem to be the perfect accompaniment to scenes of abject misery. So far, the subject of her most depressing commercials have been the good puppies and kitties of the world, putting on their best "Why did this maniac just chain me up in the backyard and leave me here?" faces in an effort to drum up donations for the ASPCA.
I have it on good authority that this one is faking it.
It's a worthy cause that most of us would prefer didn't exist, especially in commercial form. Completely eliminating animal abuse from the world is never going to be possible, of course, but would it be so terrible if we put some qualifications in place that a person must meet before taking responsibility for the life of another living thing? Maybe even just own a plant for a month to verify that you're capable of remembering to feed something other than yourself on at least a semi-regular basis? Spider plants are really easy to take care of, and the name makes it sound sort of pet-like. How about that? If you can't keep a spider plant alive for a month, it's probably a good sign you aren't ready to parent a cat either.
You're definitely not ready for a spider cat.
If your pet is a rescue, the shelter probably even took some steps to make sure you weren't some lunatic looking to open a local chapter of Bad Newz Kennels. Does that happen when you buy a pet at one of those disgusting stand-alone pet stores? That was an actual question. I have no idea, but I can't imagine the guidelines are too stringent if they do. Guidelines are what we need, though, because when a person takes on the responsibility of owning a pet only to realize it's not something they have much interest in doing, things don't tend to end well for the animal. The caring for a plant idea is obviously not a viable one, but can we at least run the same background check we make people go through to buy a gun or something to make sure they aren't crazy?
That's definitely not going to catch every terrible pet owner waiting to happen, but it can't hurt, right?
Hey, speaking of things that should be kept on a leash ...
#1. Taking Your Kids Out in Public
Be honest -- you'd secretly love it if there was some magical means to ensure that the only people who procreate are those who can handle the responsibility. The problem is, it's a difficult program to enact without punishing kids for the crime of having idiots for parents. That doesn't change the fact that some do, though, and it would be awfully nice if we could put a stop to that nonsense. Maybe a parenting license is the way to do it?
Do I have any statistics or source links to back up that idea? Nope, just a longstanding desire to hold parents accountable when their kids climb all over shit in public and generally make the lives of people around them temporarily unbearable. Unfortunately, banning kids from public places is almost always an option that proves unpopular, especially in restaurants, the one place it's needed the most.
The kid has done nothing more than turn around and the dad already knows the night is ruined.
The reason for that is simple: No one believes their kid is bad, so they think their freedom to take children to inappropriate places is being infringed upon because of the actions of a few bad apples. They're wrong, though; every kid is bad from time to time, and some are bad all the goddamn time. The deciding factor in which side of that fence a kid falls on is usually effective parenting. If Mom and Dad aren't willing to take responsibility for keeping their kids under control in public, and they very definitely are not, it's time to start cutting the problem off at the source.
I propose we make prospective parents take a test about appropriate public behavior. If they pass, give them a card to flash at the door of any establishment that says we trust them to keep their hellions tame. If they fail, sorry, the kids stay home. I know that's harsh, but I don't really care, I just want to enjoy Outback Steakhouse in the relative peace of blaring televisions and a waitstaff forced to sing "Happy Birthday" every 35 minutes to unappreciative diners.
Chris Amaral/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Case in point, this bitch just wants to talk about when her food is coming.
Not sure if you noticed, but there was nothing in that sentence that implied kids would be involved. No, not even the part about birthday songs. Kids already get birthday parties. As you age, sometimes the sweet harmonies of a chorus of Hooters girls singing birthday wishes in your direction is all you get.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images
It's always your birthday at Hooters, provided it's really your birthday that day and you have valid ID.
Leave that stuff for adults. If the kids must celebrate their birthday in the presence of chain restaurant food, go to Chuck E. Cheese's like a normal family.
I know it's hard to hear, parents of America, but your kids are becoming a menace. If you can't sufficiently prove you have the parenting chops to keep them contained in the presence of adults, put your family outings to the local sports bar on hold until you straighten that shit out.
You don't need a license to operate a camera phone. Be sure to head over and submit to our pocket film contest: If Great Horror Movies Had a Budget of $1.