It's said that it costs around $200,000 to raise a kid from birth to the age of 18. That's a significant amount of money: Enough for a low-end Ferrari, a modest home in the Midwest somewhere or a lifetime of Fourth Meals. Why the hell would you want to waste it on something as pedestrian as child-rearing?
Thankfully, there are ways to have your children pay you back, often without them even knowing it and--like icing on the cake--you can do it all without technically breaking the law! Well, man's law anyways; you'll be breaking the shit out of several moral and spiritual laws.
If you're really hard-up for cash, like if you're right above the stage of selling your own blood, you can volunteer your body for use in clinical trials. It's good money if you've got a solid pain tolerance and love cancer. Or, if you've got kids, you can have all of the upside (ie, cash) and none of the potential side effects! That's right, you can volunteer your stupid kids instead!
What exactly do they do with the kids? Do they use them as crash test dummies for the next generation of spy car ejection seats? Inject Super-Ebola into their eyeballs? Probably not, but for the right money, we won't ask.
"This will either make him burst into flames, or really burst into flames."
That's right: When children are used in clinical trials, it's the parents that receive compensation. Minors can't even sign forms of consent, but mom and dad can and do, and it's up to junior to bear the brunt of the chemical blitz.
Sure, of course there are strict regulations on trials with children as subjects. But on the flip side, the regulations dictating whether or not children can participate in the studies in the first place are rather loose: As long as they're not provably coerced into participating, inject away, science! After a few weeks of needles and a lifetime of unintended side-effects, maybe next year little Billy will save up for a Prada handbag for Mother's Day instead of this stupid handmade ashtray.
"Well I'm very sorry you've got a terminal case of blood spiders, sweetie, but mommy gots to get paid!"
Wondering what to name your unborn child? It's a tough decision. So fuck it! If something's hard, it's probably that way for a reason. Making things that hard is like the universe's way of warning you of impending danger. Why not outsource the naming to professionals, and maybe make a buck while you're at it?
And by "professionals," we mean "corporate sponsors who will slap their brand on your child's name forever." One of the first attempts at this was by a New York couple, Jason Black and Frances Schroeder who, in 2001, tried to find a corporate sponsor to buy the naming rights of their child for a very reasonable $500,000. They blamed the idea on a fortune cookie.
"It says here 'You will ruin your unborn child's sense of self-worth forever.' Whoa, that's uncanny!"
Another couple, Ryan and Jami Hawkins of Indiana, again tried the stunt in 2004. They asked for the much more realistic reserve price of $8,000, but only for their son's middle name. They listed the auction on eBay and, as the publicity grew, the bidding went all the way up to $7999.99 - but never reached the reserve. Because seriously guys, how stupid do you think the Internet is? We'll drop 30 bucks a month to watch porn stars dressed like librarians get railed by a guy in a duck suit, but nobody's dropping eight grand for the middle name; the unlovable red-headed step-child of names.
But every once in a while, the stunt does work: if the stars are right, if the gods are kind, if the standards are really, really low. Like David Partin, who traded the naming rights of his son for a $100 gas card. The hosts of a local radio show, Dixon and Willoughby, were offering to trade the card for the best offer they received. So, presumably while screaming, "I just don't give a shit, life!" Mr. Partin stepped forward with the offer of his son's identity.
Sometimes you just gotta get 'er done.
So if you find yourself in Florida one balmy night, three sheets to the wind and eyeing that handsome man across the bar who sidles up to you, holds your hand and listens so well, just remember to run like crap if he tells you his name is "Dixon Willoughby Partin." Because there is no fucking way that kid is growing up to be anything but the country's most prolific serial killer.
You can bet on anything: sports, horse races, American Idol, the results of your STD test (come on, Mexican Jumping Chlamydia!) and now even your children. Couples often wait until the child is born to find out the sex, hoping against hope that you'll eventually ask them "Is it a boy or a girl?" At which point they'll answer in unison "We want it to be a surprise!" not realizing the bitter hate that wells up in every human being around them afterward.
Well, now there's another reason besides uncontrollable asshattery to avoid the sonogram: Profit!
Yes, before the little living avatar of crushing responsibility is even brought into this world, you can start making money off of it by placing bets on the gender. English bookmakers, William Hill, quote odds on the sex of an unborn baby as being 10/11 for a boy and 10/11 for a girl.
Yeah, you'd have to lay down some serious cash to see any kind of return with those odds. But don't worry baby, if your parents are gambling on whether or not you'll have a penis, they probably have a wacky back up plan involving some clear tape, a tiny little wig and a cab driver's license.
We have previously told the story of Marjoe Gortner, a kid who, before he hit puberty, was already out there in the Bible Belt, giving thunderous and inspirational sermons to the masses who paid out the holy sphincter when the donation plate came around. It's estimated the Gortner's raised roughly three million dollars by his 16th birthday (about $24 million in today's money). While the official line was that Marjoe was stirred by the word of God and improvised his sermons, he would later reveal that he simply memorized speeches his father wrote for him, and relied on his natural charisma and bitchin' Little Orphan Annie haircut to get him through.
But hey, it was a different time, right? Not much had happened in all of human history up until the early 50s, so people were willing to literally hurl money at anything novel until it was crushed beneath the weight. There's no way a random kid reading awkward bible-themed speeches could work nowadays, right? Well, tell that to places like Brazil, where child preachers are still a very big business.
"Hey Brazil, if you think that kid's ability to memorize words is amazing, have we got some shit on the Internet to show you!"
That's right; there are parts of the world where you can still cash in on riches the Gortner way. The above link has an interview with a kid preacher who's been at it since he was five. Yes, he was memorizing sermons and inspiring the masses at an age when most of us were struggling to figure out why public nudity isn't acceptable. At age eight, he was doing 250 appearances a year in a country where people apparently have no problem with going to church on a Tuesday. Managed by their parents (who each claim their kid preacher is the fulfillment of a prophecy given to them before conception) they're accompanied by full-blown advertising blitzes wherever they appear.
But oh, does it pay off. If you get your kid on the child preacher circuit, you can charge around $900 per appearance (times 250 appearances...) PLUS rake in DVD sales (part of the deal is the church has to buy 150 copies of the DVD to sell afterward). And really, what possible harm could there be in telling a toddler he's the result of a holy prophecy to be the voice of God on earth? We see no megalomania or shameful scandals in that child's future. None at all.
The Wisconsin Shares program costs taxpayers about $350 million a year. So what is it? An elite, high-tech cheese-state taskforce, protecting the American tax payer from the sinister invading forces of Canada? Not so much: Wisconsin Shares is a daycare subsidy program. It pays childcare providers up to $200 a week to watch children.
And it's not a particularly well-managed program, either. Its qualifications and regulations are notoriously lax. Take the Racine sisters, for example: four sisters with 17 kids between them (because it's Wisconsin). All four sisters were unemployed, opting instead to stay home and swap their cheddar-fingered offspring back and forth between houses to fool the government into thinking they were all "daycare providers."
And it worked beautifully. The taxpayer dollars rolled in, and all the sisters had to do was watch their nieces and nephews a few days a week. How much do you think you'd get for babysitting your extended family? Five bucks an hour and free reign of the case of Costco Otter pops?
Well, the Racine sisters made half a million dollars in less than three years, without technically breaking a single law. Wisconsin Shares also allow parents employed by childcare providers to enroll their little ones in their place of employment--so if you actually want to see your children for some baffling reason, you don't even have to send them away, you just have to start your own "daycare." It's like every day is take your child to work day... because "have your child assist you in moral fraud day" wasn't nearly as catchy.
The catch with this one is that it sounds like you need a large volume of kids to make serious money, which might not be worth the trouble. Also, there have been problems with people having kids specifically to cash in on the program, and then keeping them out of school so they can make their cash. Also, the eligible program ages--between four and six--are vital to child development; when kids start their education that far behind their peers, very few catch up. So when the world descends into Idiocracy, tell your kids to point to Wisconsin... if they can find it on a map. Meanwhile, you'll be on your yacht!
For more doses of Katy at www.TwistedCynic.com.
Do have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up for our writers workshop! Know way too much about a random topic? Create a topic page and you could be on the front page of Cracked.com tomorrow!
How else can you ruin your child's life? We thought you'd never ask; check out 9 Toys That Prepare Children for a Life of Menial Labor and 8 Insane Ways Parents Are Politically Brainwashing Children.
And stop by our Top Picks (Updated 05.13.10) to see how you can sell your soul to the devil. It's easy!