The Hardest Things To Accept About Good Parents
Do you have parents? Chances are you do, as few of us have mastered self-causality and those that have probably don't read my articles. For the rest of us, we tend to go through a large part of our lives recognizing just about everyone we meet as a real person except for the people responsible for raising us, who get relegated to "parent" status instead of personhood. And woe be to anything that turns a parent into a person, like the time you caught them having sex or watched them get sick, because it strips away all the stuff you built up in childhood and presents you with someone who is just as real, confused, and imperfect as everyone else. Good or bad, parents are supposed to be different, that's why they're parents. And then one day that all comes crashing down when you realize ...
There's A Near 100 Percent Chance They Were Bullied
If you've gone through any sort of schooling that includes other children, chances are you're entirely too familiar with the word "slut." Or "fag." Maybe "homo," "retard," or a wide variety of racial slurs if you're a visible minority, too. That's where school is at and has been at since probably forever. No doubt kids back in the 1600s were tossing out zingers like "thou art a cream-faced loon" and "ye fat guts!" to other kids playing Hold The Stick or Avoid Polio or whatever kids did back then. And your folks got it, too.
At some point in your mom's life, someone called her a slut. A whore. A bitch. There's a good bet it happened more than once. Just like they called your dad a fag. I can almost guarantee that happened because it happened to literally everyone I asked and it sure as hell happened to me. Most kids put up with this. Even many of the bullies who do the name calling had it tossed at them at some point in time. This is basically grade school vernacular despite all the assurances that schools and governments try to make about anti-bullying.
I had friends in high school who tossed out the word fag like you'd sprinkle salt on a steak. I know a guy who would actually put a pillow between him and whoever he was sitting next to on a sofa and call it a "gay wall." Not that any of us were openly gay, but he thought it was funny to not have to sit close enough to touch another dude. He thought it was so funny he did this every time we sat down for several years. So in case you're wondering where intolerant dinks who are afraid of who shares their bathroom come from, now you know.
The dumb person's last line of defense against the gay menace.
You probably saw or experienced all of this yourself at some point -- maybe not the gay wall, that kid was really weird. But the name calling is par for the course. And yet did you ever stop to imagine your parents had to experience that, too? Your mom wore a sweater that showed off her figure one day, and the entire Ping-Pong team called her a skank. Your dad drank homo milk in the cafeteria once and was called Milky McHomo for the rest of the year. This shit happened. What's weirder is they may have even gotten it worse than you did.
Trying to imagine your parents as kids being bullied is a weird thing to wrap your head around. Imagining them getting shredded by assholes with big hair and ugly shoes, then going home to grandma and grandpa who told them to man up or eat more tapioca or some kind of shitty old-person advice. You parents were probably just like you once. That's scary as shit. Like shit dressed as a ghost or a masked killer that sneaks up behind you, that sort of shit.
They Likely Had WAY More Sex Than You As Teenagers
In 2013, 47 percent of high schoolers reported having had sex before. That's nearly half and since you have two parents, that means probably in high school at least one of your parents was getting or giving the D even if they got straight As. And that rate was actually an extreme low, down around 14 percent for girls and over 20 percent for boys from the 1980s. In 1988 60 percent of boys reported having sex and 51 percent of girls did, meaning one of your parents absolutely got boned after Geography one day. And sure, you've come to terms with the idea that your parents are sexual beings. Maybe you caught them in the shower misusing a loofa one day, it happens. But your brain didn't want you to consider the ramifications, did it? Your mind wasn't immediately thinking, "Shit, how long has this been going on? Since nine months before me, surely, but before then? Was there a time when my parents were my age or younger when my dad achieved a masterful, veiny erection and inserted it into my mother's vagina for recreational purposes? Good God, have they always been a couple or were they doing this with strangers before I was born? WHO HAS SEEN MY MOTHER'S LABIA??"
"Me!" "I did!" "Yeah, me too!" "So did I!" "Me and my cousins, at the same time!"
The teen pregnancy rate in 2013 was 27 per 1000. The all-time high, since such things were recorded, was 1957 at 96 per 1000. 1957 was also the year Elvis released "All Shook Up" which is apparently what all the kids were doing with their gonads back then. Old timers were right, rock 'n' roll is a bad influence!
Likely your parents fit somewhere in the middle of those statistics, so maybe your mom got pregnant in high school or maybe she just had a friend who did. But whatever the case, the odds are in favor of your mom knowing what penis tasted like before she got her diploma and your dad knew why "watch the teeth!" was an important phrase to learn.
Some mixed metaphors in this image, but you get it.
Is it bad your parents probably smeared their love grubs on each other or other people when they were too young to vote? Of course not. If nothing else, I'm trying to show you that most people do it. Then they tend to get old and tell you not to do it or, if they're really uptight, they get government jobs and try to mandate that you never do it, especially if it involves turning the lights on, members of the same sex, or anything that might elicit audible sounds. It's not always safe and we all learn to live with the consequences if we do something stupid but the point is, it's part of the human experience and your parents were probably human once and that's something we try to avoid realizing.
Why don't we want to recognize any of this about our folks? Well, let's be honest, it's super gross. Sex is beautiful and natural. Your parents having sex is an abomination. But more than that it makes them too normal. Too natural. Birds do it. Bees do it. That dog in the alley down the street does it all the time. Your parents don't need to do it. They need to give you allowance and a bicycle and Happy Meals.
Their Dumbassery Would Likely Give Yours A Run For Its Money
There's a good chance everything your parents ever told you not to do was something they themselves did. And as an adult this makes a ton of sense -- you handled your youth with all the grace of a monkey on peyote so when you have kids of your own, you try to pass on what you learned. You once saw a buddy get drunk and fuck an ostrich; that's not the legacy you want for your family, so you raise your kids with sage advice like "never fuck an ostrich." Then one day the kid's 18 and you get a call from the cops saying they were picked up on charges of ostrich fuckery and aggravated bird buggery. It's the circle of life.
Maybe they should stop being so sexy.
I know for a fact my dad did hard time before I was born. And I don't mean a weekend in county for pissing out of his window into a Burger King drive-thru as one does when they turn 16 and get a car. I mean years in a high-security facility. No one has ever told me the whole story, I just know some of the newspaper details that I had to look up on my own because what he did made the damn newspapers. It involved a high-powered rifle and the downtown core of the town he lived in. I'm from some primo stock.
Growing up, my dad was accomplished at three things -- watching TV, napping in between bouts of watching TV, and lifting his leg to fart while watching TV. I never would have guessed he was a hardcore felon. Upon learning he was a hardcore felon there wasn't really anything to do or say, it just made me mistrust my entire childhood and wonder how many other lies were creeping just below the surface of everything I ever believed. You know, that old story.
Your parents absolutely did something stupid. They drank, they did drugs, they shot up a few cop cars, whatever it was. They did it and they've probably been strutting around acting all responsible ever since, when the truth is as grim and stupid as anyone else's.
They've Definitely Picked A Favorite
If you're not an only child, there came a time in your life when you concluded you were probably better than your siblings and you needed confirmation of this so you asked your parents who their favorite was. Most parents probably hit up the classic "I love you all the same" line, because how could any parent ever pick favorites amongst their precious little spawn? Make no mistake, they were lying their asses off.
Your parents had a favorite. Of course they had a favorite. Who loves any two things the same? What does that even mean? That's a bullshit thing to say. Only a kid who never requires any justification could ever fall for that. You love tacos more than burgers. You love your Keds more than old bread bags tied at your ankles, and by God you love the kid who doesn't suck more than the kid who kind of sucks.
Or the kid you contemplate dropping off in the woods to fend for themselves for a few weeks.
If you recognize your brother is an asshole, chances are your parents did, too. Where do you think adult assholes even come from? Was there any chance Donald Trump's mother went to bed every night without once thinking, "the fuck happened here?" Now it doesn't mean your fuck-up brother isn't well loved. Your folks may love your fuck-up brother so much they'd die for him, no questions asked. But maybe they'd die for you and leave more to you in the will, too.
By the same token, you may one day have come to the realization that your parents probably questioned, out loud, to each other and to friends, if your head was actually lodged inside your own ass. Probably more than once. Anyone who has kids now or has friends with kids has very likely noticed the degree with which parents will, all lovingly of course, just trash talk the hell out of their kids when they do something dumb. And why not? You've probably called your best friend a shithead at some point in your life because they acted all shitheady; it's no different when it comes to kids.
The hardest thing to realize about parents is that, if they weren't your parents, they'd be you. They'd be your friend, your coworker, the asshole who cut you off on the way to Applebee's or the asshole who suggested you eat at Applebee's. They didn't know anything more than you do for the most part, but they probably spent most of your life duping you into thinking they did because that's the privilege of being a parent -- totally bullshitting your kids in the hopes they turn out mostly okay.
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