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  • Friday, May 21, 2004


    ...and starring Twitchy the rabbit as Barfy the dog.

    You don't have to wait for the Sunday papers to get your minimum daily requirement of America's Worst Mother™, we've got it right here.

    Today we learn for a fact what we have always suspected; the Gurdon family is the model for Bill Keane's Family Circus, except in this case, the kid's names are Laodameia, Fructis, Maoliosa, and Moe. In this week's episode we are introduced to Granny (just like in Family Circus) but not Gramps who (just like in Family Circus) is dead and just hanging around in a white robe tied at the waist with the rope he probably hung himself with in order to get away from this creepy family. Granny has come to stay for the weekend so that Meghan and Mr. Meghan can get away from their clutching mewling devil-spawn Children of the Corn brood for a weekend of relaxation, birthday celebrating, and ugly-bumping (which we dearly hope involves birth control because we are running out of good names).

    Did we mention a birthday? Damn straight!:

    You are not going away!" Molly's face is suddenly fierce. A white hand grips my arm.

    "Oh, but we are," I say lightly, with a leaden heart. Granny has come to stay so that my husband and I can go away for an unprecedented long weekend to celebrate my — well, my — look, how hard is it to say? As it happens, I'm about to turn —

    "Why can't you have your birthday at home?"

    "How old are you, anyway?" Paris asks grumpily, having taken his cue.

    I unpick Molly's fingers from my forearm, and gently push her into the backseat.

    "At this exact moment," I repeat for the hundredth time, "I am thirty nine."

    I do not like utilitarian arguments for the existence of children — that their future tax dollars will pay to support our materially gorged generation, for example, or that without them immigrants from hostile societies will inherit the United States, or that in some misty sense they are "our future" — but it is a fact that children justify themselves in a thousand small ways, not least of which is in providing a humbling sense of perspective to the passing of time. Bumping up against a large-ish birthday, as I am about to do, is only an italicized version of the little homily that children deliver every time they outgrow a pair of shoes. They are getting taller, you are getting older, and no amount of alpha-hydroxy acids can make it stop.

    Or, to shorten the preceding: children are not bundles of joy. They are a living countdown to your inevitable dirt nap.

    Anyway, since Meghan is about to turn forty (which is 280 in Barfy years) she turns her impending middle-aged eye on those other women that aren't aging as well as she is:

    Children are not absolutely required to make this point. Washington cocktail parties will also do the trick. We attended one the other day so packed with surgically altered middle-aged females it felt as though we'd walked onto the set of the Stepford Mothers-in-Law.

    "Memento mori..." my husband murmured, fascinated, and repelled. Champagne glasses rose to innumerable silicone-plumped mouths set in wide-eyed girlish faces. Loose necks quivered gently above countless pastel distressed-tweed cocktail suits. As with portraits in a haunted house, staring mascaraed eyes seemed to follow us around the room. I left vowing to greet each birthday with noisy insouciance. My friend Danielle thinks if women are going to lie about their ages, they ought to round them up. No surgery needed: One white lie and you'll will always look younger than you "are."

    Meaning they should kill them just like in Logan's Run which isn't very Family Circus-like unless, when the people are on the run, they leave those little dotted lines behind them which would be pretty cool but would make it easier to find them.

    Anyway, we later find out that Granny is a liberal which means that while Meghan and Mr. Meghan are gone for the weekend she will force the girls to have abortions, burn the family bible, subscribe to Spice TV, and tell the kids that they are descended from apes (which would explain Meghan's feces throwing and the thick growth of hair on Mr. Meghan's back):

    There is an outraged pause on our side, a defensive one on Granny's. Then she laughs and shrugs. "I guess I'm just a typical soft-hearted liberal," she says, "I see a pale bean, struggling for life, and I have to give it water."

    As opposed to a conservative who would rip it out by the roots, stuff it in it's mouth, and invade another house looking for more. At least, that's what Grandpa did before he died...


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