Friday, September 12, 2014

Things My Kids Can Do That I Can't

Anything my kids can do, I can do better. At least that’s what I thought before my last foray into a ball pit. Now I have Taser burns and a court date. Adulthood comes with limitations, both physical and legal, but it isn’t all bad. For example, my kids deal with the ups and downs of life by crying, whereas I haven’t felt an emotion in years. Thanks, alcohol. Here are some of the perks that are exclusive either to kids or adults. I’m sure I left out some important items, but one of the things adults can’t do is find the time to write longer lists. Curse my advanced age and short attention span.

My 2-year-old can skip, and I can’t.
Prancing down the hall might not be the most efficient means of travel, but what it lacks in speed it makes up for in deception. No one ever suspects a skipper. It doesn’t matter if my daughter is covered in blood and holding the murder weapon. If she skips away from a crime scene, no jury will convict her. That skill would come in handy in my life, but when I attempt to skip, I look like an ostrich trying to take flight. Before I fall over, my flailing arms and legs usually hit something important, like a lamp or a child. For whatever reason, my wife frowns on me kneeing our kids in the head. Besides, skipping is a lot of work. These days I barely have the energy to stand. I mostly move around by pushing myself on my office chair with an oar.

I don’t always row. Sometimes I lasso my coworkers and make them tow me.

I can drive, and my kids can’t.
Childish skipping is impractical for Interstate travel, which is where adulthood really shines. At the end of a hard workday, I row my office chair to my car and travel wherever I want, pending minor obstacles like mountain ranges and oceans. The drive to England was soggier than expected. In theory, my potential destinations are limitless, but in practice I mostly shuttle between a boss who tells me what to do all day and a wife and kids who tell me what to do on nights and weekends. Variety is the spice of life, so it’s nice to have two different places to be miserable.

There are other possible stopping points besides work and home, but most of them are off limits when I haul my kids. I have yet to find a worthwhile tavern that would welcome three children under the age of five, but it wouldn’t take much of an adjustment to solve that problem. All I need is for a sports bar to change one TV to Nickelodeon and my kids would basically watch themselves. In my state, cartoon characters are legally allowed to babysit. My daughters could hang out for a few hours while I launched a full frontal assault on my sobriety, and then we could all find out together if it’s possible to get a DUI for rowing an office chair back to my house.

My kids can break into song, and I can’t.
For some reason, it’s perfectly acceptable for my daughters to randomly erupt into numbers from “Frozen” even though this clearly violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Even death row inmates don’t have to hear how Anna saved the snow queen 16 times a day. While people adore it when my kids sing, my fellow adults are considerably less tolerant when I do it. The last time I sang at a karaoke night, I took a tranquilizer dart to the face. The animal control guy thought I was a dying moose.

Maybe that was a compliment. For all I know, a dying moose has a beautiful singing voice.

I can own guns, and my kids can’t.
I’ve never actually exercised this right, but hypothetically I could go to the store and buy any firearm I wanted. Then again, my police record includes the ball pit tasing and goat tranquilizer incidents, so passing the background check is hardly guaranteed. If the government does interfere with my God-given right to amass the arsenal of a small nation-state, there are other weapons I could buy without oversight. I wouldn’t need a concealed carry permit for a 15th-century samurai sword.

My kids, however, are limited to turning non-lethal toys into deadly weapons. That’s the only reason human beings have imaginations in the first place. Every important discovery throughout history has been followed by a scientist wondering aloud, “How can we use this kill people?” My daughters proudly carry on this tradition by weaponizing everything in their toy box. They could knock out any enemy up to and including a tank using only pointy Barbie feet and a plastic golf club. I have the bruises to prove it.

My main criteria when decided what toy to buy for my kids is what it will feel like when they inevitably throw it at my head.

My kids can wear anything, and I can’t.
Before kindergarten, life doesn’t have a dress code. If my 2-year-old took off all her clothes and ran around at a wedding, people would shrug. If I did the same, I’d have one more strike against me on that background check. Kids have no obligation to wear matching outfits or be the least bit fashionable. I’d give examples here, but I honestly have no idea what colors are supposed to go together. When I get dressed in the morning, I just rotate through shirts until my wife stops yelling at me. Thanks to her arbitrary fashion standards, I’m not allowed to show up to work in medieval battle armor. She doesn’t even care that a polo shirt provides no defense against archers. I’m as good as dead.

I can drink, and my kids can’t.
I touched on this earlier, but it deserves its own section because it has absolutely no downside. Alcohol is a liquid that makes all my problems go away by moving them to some undetermined point in the future when I sober up. Happiness is the illusion that exists between when I open the first bottle and when I finally remember my responsibilities hours or days later. Kids don’t have anything comparable to the joys alcoholism. The inherent lighthearted gaiety of childhood is a weak substitute for beer.


So kids can skip, sing, and wear whatever they want, but adults can drive, drink, and use guns, preferably at the same time like the founding fathers intended. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out being an adult is better, especially if that surgeon is doing all the grown-up activities listed above. The facts don’t lie. Being a kid sucks more than being old, and it’s our responsibility as mature adults to rub it in every chance we get.