Just when I start to feel sorry for myself I see stories like this.
Julie Powers Schenecker, a 50-year-old mother from Tampa, shot and killed her two teenagers on Thursday, because she was “fed up” with their back talk and mouthiness.
A child murdered for mouthiness. Hmm.
Let’s pretend that in 1972, when you could buy a gallon of gas for 55 cents, President Nixon signed a bill into law that forced parents to kill their children as soon as they felt adequately “fed up” with back talk and mouthiness. It’s a terrible law, I know, because my life would have ended some time in early in 1974 short of my second birthday. Just think of the glut of unused toys across the nation.
Here’s a typical couple in the 70s:
Betty: Tony, I think I’m ready to have kids.
Tony: Are you sure, Betty? But what about the … ?
Betty: Yes, I am sure! You’re doing swell at the firm and the time just feels … perfect!
Tony: But what about that new mouthy law? I don’t think I have that kind of self-control. I mean, if it applied to wives instead of children, you wouldn’t even be here right now.
Let’s say the law didn’t exist until 2000. I’m no longer mouthy to my parents so I get to live, but, alas, I would be childless.
When Chloe was a baby, on her first night home, I was shocked when she started pitching a fit in the middle of the night. One second I’m dreaming I’m skipping naked through a field of lilies licking a lollipop, the next I’m elbowing Jennifer on the forehead, telling her to go find that noise and to quell it, whatever the hell it is! Then two hours later I’m again forced to put down my sucker and step out of the lily field.
I was “fed up” with that baby’s mouthiness from day one.
But not really. I totally exaggerated all that. I had read What to Expect When You’re Expecting, so I knew she would be wailing about every three hours. I never elbowed my wife on her forehead. I was fully clothed. And it was a Popsicle.
I feel sorry for Julie Powers Schenecker because she’s obviously struggling with a serious mental disorder, but I wish her explanation included a loony rant about six-armed monkeys instead of bitching about the commonest of parental grievance: mouthy kids.