Monday, May 30, 2005

The Fisher-Price King

I feel so banal. I’ve just discovered the Infant-Military-Industrial-Complex. And I know I’m not the first. Walking through the aisles of kid stuff, I want to write about the forced choices before me: pink frilly, or desert camouflage.

But all this ruminating is so forty years ago. I can see back to one of my writing idols: Judith Viorst. She wrote Nice Baby in the sixties. How can I top Judith? Damn these baby-boomers anyway! First it was Wicca, then it was the Radical Faeries, now it’s child-care; everywhere I go they’ve had a twenty year jump on the writing market.

So, pink frills or desert camouflage? I choose neither!

Okay, Okay, I can hear all of the progressive parents in my audience tisking, shaking their heads and saying, “Before I had children, I swore I would never have plastic children’s stuff on my lawn. You want to know what’s on my lawn?”

“But I can be strong,” I say. “I refuse to be pulled into this game by falling for a false choice.”

“No,” says the parental Greek chorus, “You cannot resist. Every Bohemian Parent believes they will be the first to preserve their ‘stubbly with goodness’ lifestyle. But they get worn down. Give in; you can go gracefully, or you can go kicking and screaming, but you’ll still go.”

The only protection I have from the Cult of Anne Geddess is to shriek, “But what about the well-being of the child?” This pops me out of the desert frills level and up to the Politically Correct or Commercially Complacent level. You want to know something? The baby-boomers have written all about this, too.

What is is about our society that makes it want to present us with all these choices that aren’t really choices? And what is it about being an expectant parent that makes us examine these false choices? Stumped, I leave the keyboard for a moment for a bathroom break and stumble across this quote: “I arise each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. That makes it hard to plan the day.” -- E. B. White.

Gracious. I found portent in the bathroom. There must be a metaphor in there, somewhere.
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