Canary Children

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Posted by pancho from ( on Wednesday, December 04, 2002 at 9:02AM :

It's the children stupid. They have no political power...they're the first hired and the first fired...they can't one represents their interests, though we all "love" them....and why anyone wants to still have one or two I can't figutre out.

Seems to be sort of holdover from another time. Marriage was never intended as a love match, or for companionship. Most men weren't interested in siting around chatting with chattel. The Greeks found male company far more stimulating and sexy. Women were for breeding, and children were for putting to work.

It's only recently that men and women want to have "meaningful" relationships, outside of all utility, children...well we're not quite sure WHAT they're for. We don't need them to work the farm, they cost more and more to support and educate...we can't rely on them to care for us in our old age because we didn't do much caring for them in their infancy and especially not in their youth.

As women were great objects for hanging a man's wealth on...children are a device for expressing "love" feelings a car or boat can't be used for...a "higher" sense of love that at least sounds good. But our notions of "love" are increasingly more suitably expressed as jingles than a matter of feelings.

What people really want are pets...dogs preferably. A dog will forgive you anything. A kid never forgets. Just because we've found a systematic way to ignore them...a new norm whereby we work extra hard to have that second car so we can drive them to the care center where the rest of the paycheck is spent...doesn't mean we're caring for them. "We", certainly aren't...we're paying for their care....paying strangers, paying institutions, paying for TV and games, but we aren't really doing it...not hands-on, which is what every bird and lizard needs.

This whole, "I do this for ME" bit the entire culture has been on...the ads showing a kid refusing to share a potato chip with the father because it's, "too good to share"...are just one indication that we've construed selfishness in its narrowest sense, till we have people who believe they're "taking care of number one", when what they're really doing is setting old number one up for the biggest fall he's likely to ever suffer.

Miners took canaries into shafts to guage the poison in the air...if the bird went belly up it was time to leave.

Our children are increasingly becomming a good indication that the air we're all breathing is pretty foul. It isn't far from killing someone else's innocent children to neglecting to care much for your own.

At the bottom of the bottom of the heap of children we have and know not what to do with...are the abandoned ones, the disposable ones...the ones who wind up where your child would, or you, if not for an accident of birth.

With any luck, in another hundred years, the stressed out White couple will stop breeding. Natural selection will do the rest. Who sees their children these many families have any time, never mind quality time. Do adults even have time for themselves.

We talk about how the poor of the world have a slower pace of they rely more on family and community. It's true...though we wouldn't trade our Beemers and lattes for the chance to find out.

Antonio was our caretaker and gardener...made some repairs and improvements around the house. He rode his bike to us every day from the small village about five miles away. Brought his wife over to meet us the first week he came to work...and his son helped out a few days.

Antonio has seven children, five still living at home. He's about forty five, I'd guess, bad teeth, slender and dark with the warmest eyes. he chuckles when he talks, walks with a slight dancestep and works hard and enjoys praise for a job well done. He gets all of $14.00 a day. We were able to give him all kinds of clothes for his children and made sure to feed him well.

When it rained I'd drive him home...saw his house. It's a sort of compound surrounded by a wall. Inside, in separate sections live his father and mother, who own the place, another brother with a family and Antonio and his.

They don't know they're poor. They know it now...but seem to consider it not worth bothering about. What counts is having a job and raising a family. He'd like to have a car and says he might go to America one day to earn the money for one...but I doubt it. He seems happy enough surrounded by family and if one person is short one month, the family shares and supports each other.

No one would want to trade places with him in America...and I'm not so sure, if he traded places with them...he'd ever be as happy as he is now. Life is hard in both places...but one thing you can't deny...if being human means being close to humans...Antonio is far more human than families tend to be in America.

They suffer from all sorts of privation...but that's just the point...they suffer AS humans and not as units. Given the chance the majority would come up here in a heartbeat in order to get ahead and share our "enviable lifestyle"...but so what, the Natives sold Manhattan Island for a few beads and cash. Humans wound themselves far more often than not.

The point is that if being as poor as Antonio is, is a hardship...he's sure got the right attitude. Given some dumb luck he at least has it in him to be genuinely happy with very little. He may die younger from ill health and bad nutrition...but at least he's alive and enjoying his children and wife WHILE he's alive. That seems to be what we give up...the time or ability to enjoy what we give our lives to secure.

We're obssessed with youth and perpetual hard-ons because we don't want to die. We could live 150 years and still have the haunting feeling that we hadn't really "lived". Most of the things we feel are close approximations based on the best and lates research...but they aren't heartfelt. You know it. A "Way of Life" built on top of so much suffering and degradation is eating away at our's killing children...maybe not ours so much yet....but then again maybe ours are just dying inside.

Couldn't afford to keep him employed any longer...that was sad but he took it well...talked about how pleased he'd been to work for us for a year...a whole year. There are sons of bitches in Mexico too...but even THEY seem to derive greater pleasure from it.

I gave him my tools...a chop saw, jigsaw, drill, sander, bench grinder, new set of drills and drill press. He was ecstatic. Tools like those would be impossible for him to get...I know, there was a time when they were beyond my means. He said with his three sons he'd do some work in the village...maybe set up a little shop. They have the space, the hands, the heart.

Really....creating a world of simple pleasures...which is what most of us want, isn't beyond us. We're just owned from cradle to grave...have it drummed into us that "they" are out to get "us"...but in protecting our way of life...we're removing all flavor from it.

It's the children stupid.

-- pancho
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