Wednesday, January 28, 2009

That's a Big Baby

The Hobo Philosopher

That’s a big baby

By Richard E. Noble

My wife and I didn’t have any children. People often look at us with the beginning of a tear in their eye and say, “Oh how sad.” But there is nothing wrong with either of us - really. We chose not to have children. When people ask me why I made such a choice, I have two answers.

Answer #1 - When I was young, I didn’t feel that I was mature enough to handle the responsibility of having children. When I felt that I was mature enough to handle the responsibility, I was too old to have any children.

Answer # 2 - I never really liked being a child myself. So why should I stick that burden onto somebody else.

But owning an ice cream parlor was an eye opening experience for any childless couple.

My first observation was the same as many famous visitors in the past have noted about Americans - kids rule.

I sincerely believe that some mothers used to cart their children over to my ice cream parlor because they could not stand to watch any more destruction of their own home. They would open the doors to their vehicles and the kids would come running. They would bang and roughhouse their way through the front door. Then it was a mad dash for the free juke box so that they could press every button on it.

Kids came into the store with sneaker roller-skates. I never saw anything like it. They would roller-skate all over the store smashing into everything and everyone. All I could think was that they would tumble over a few of my older customers, and I’d have a lawsuit on top of everything else.

The biggest question I have for young mothers is. How large does a child have to get before he/she is considered too large to be carried on a mother’s hip. There were some five-foot-three mothers in my store carrying around some five-foot-nine kids. I’m not kidding. These kids were big. And some little ladies had one monster on each hip. It was amazing.

Then came the question and answer period. The mother is standing there in front of the ice cream case. She has this 22 year old on her hip. It has one whole hand in its mouth.

“Now what flavor would you like, Bevis?”

Bevis would look over the vast assortment of ice cream obviously wondering what it was. When I would look in the kid’s direction, he/she would tuck his head into mommy’s shoulder. Mommy would smile as the line of people who knew exactly what they wanted formed behind her.

On some occasions, I was convinced that the kid on mommy’s hip didn’t even know how to talk yet. Why was she asking him all these questions when all he could say was da-da and goo-goo?

Ninety percent of the time the kid didn’t order a flavor of ice cream, he screamed a color: I want blue; I want red; I want green.

Some mothers would stand at the case with me or my wife and chit-chat while there kids would systematically go about destroying anything in reach. The mothers in these particular cases usually had eyes that were glazed over. They looked like they hadn’t slept for days. Their hair was often unwashed and their clothes looked randomly selected.

Most mothers seem to have the ability to disconnect themselves from their kids. If you watched the kids and then watched the mothers, you wouldn’t even know that the kids belonged to them. I think this was a strategy. Nevertheless I hesitated to point out a misbehaving child to its mother. I was afraid that the woman would simply explode. “YES, YES, YES! IT’S MY CHILD! What do you want me to do about it! It’s too late for a abortion now. I didn’t know what I was doing. I thought it would love me. I was lonely. I needed to be fullfilled. I didn’t know it would be like this. Do you think that I would have had children if I knew this was going to happen? What do I look like - a complete idiot?”

Did you ever watch the TV show, the Nanny. My god!
My wife and I watch that show and constantly compliment ourselves on our decision. We have truly been “blessed.”

The Eastpointer is R.E. Noble latest publication. It is a selection of columns from the Franklin Chronicle. It is for sale on Amazon or locally at Downtown Books. Richard Noble is a freelance writer who has lived in Franklin County for thirty years.