One of the best ways to mitigate emotional pain is to laugh at it. I present this with that in mind.
So much humor writing revolves around parenting that someone like me, who never had children, is at a disadvantage when hunting for things to write about. I finally decided that the logical thing would be to write from another point of view: that of former kids who survived childhood and turned into adults of varying levels of adjustment.
Let’s do an experiment, to determine what kind of parenting you experienced and how well or unwell you turned out. We’ll start with a questionnaire. This questionnaire was submitted to the North Bronx Association of Scientists. After six months of sitting unopened on the coffee table of the President of the Association, the questionnaire was finally approved by all five members, who assure me that it looks scientific to them. They should know.
1. I remember my childhood with –
b. Hatred that makes me want to throw firecrackers at buses
c. Every time a memory comes up, so does my evil twin, Sadie. She makes me do terrible things to people and we have a lot of fun.
2. We lived –
a. In a mansion, with servants
b. In a condo
c. On a farm
d. In a nice house
e. In a dump that I used as headquarters for my marijuana business
f. In a tent, but only when it rained
3. My father most closely resembled –
a. Ward Cleaver
b. Uncle Vernon Dursley
c. Freddy Kruger
4. My mother most closely resembled –
a. Mother Teresa
b. Lizzie Borden
c. Bellatrix Lestrange
5. Your parents go away for the weekend, leaving you in charge of the house and your little brother. While they are gone, you invite fifteen of your friends over for a noisy pot-smoking beer party binge. Your parents come back earlier than expected on Sunday to find beer cans and pizza all over the floor, a half-burned couch, three reefers on the loveseat, cigarette burns on the living room wall and two of your friends passed out under their bed. Your little brother is spotted trying to sell leftover weed and a can of Bud Lite to your next door neighbors. What do your parents do?
a. Yell at you for an hour, tell you how disappointed they are in you because they raised you better than that, withhold your allowance until you have paid for a new couch, restrict your computer and cell phone privileges and ground you for a month.
b. Congratulate you for being so popular and for encouraging your little brother to be an entrepreneur.
c. Toss you out into the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The next part of this questionnaire will reveal what kind of adult you became. Choose your answer carefully.
1. All things considered, I turned out –
c. More or less normal, for me
d. Neurotic, but I love animals and my therapist has seen worse
e. A narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, borderline personality with horrible manners but a very clean house
f. A bank robbing serial killer
2. I just lied –
If your answer is a., go back, cross out what you answered before and circle the correct answer. Be honest, you lying (son of a) bitch.
That concludes the questionnaire part of our experiment. The rest of the project will be implemented as soon as I find enough people willing to act as a control group.