56-Free Range Love

As I might have mentioned before, I admire folks who have kids and are able to fit them, with love, responsibility, and enthusiasm, into their lives. I admire them all the more because I am not one of them.

To me, being a parent is like being a cop. The are necessary, to be admired, and, if they are any good, selfless propagators of the common good. But I sure wouldn’t want the job.

I was asking the owner of the publishing company I used to illustrate for about it one day. He has three kids, and I thought he might be able to clear up a question I had always wondered about. I told him I could understand how anyone might have one child, after all, accidents do happen. But why would anyone ever have two, much less three? Wouldn’t you have learned your lesson by then?

He just got mad and refused to answer. I think he must have been embarrassed at having his prophylactic failures mentioned in public. I was much more circumspect from then on.

I’m not really against kids, I’m just against the kind of responsibility they represent. They live too long for one thing, and they’re too stinky to let live in the house, yet people will actually report you to the police for leaving them out in the back yard.

Now I did enjoy visiting schools. We’d go out and the author would read stories while I drew the characters on a big, oversize sketch pad. If the kids were small enough they would crawl all over me like giggling monkeys on a crayon-weilding tree. At the end we’d have question and answer time. This was my favorite part. Out of twelve questions, ten would be the same you’d hear in every school, but at least two would be really good. But that’s not why it was my favorite part.

My parents always felt that art was just for kids, that someday I grow out of it and become an adult, get a real job. I had a real job. It sucked. Apparently, I’m no good at working for other people. But making art… I suppose that it’s a fair question to ask as to whether I’m any better at that, but I sure enjoy it more!

So that’s what I told everyone else’s kids. I told them that the world will try and force them into making money for someone else at the expense of making a life for themselves. I told them that their parents will one day try to make them put away their childish things. I told them to stand against these influences, to hold onto their real dreams for their own lives, and screw anyone who says different. The kids really seemed to listen, and I never walked away without at least one teacher (or principle) coming up and thanking me for saying things that no one else ever did.

Which is funny, since I was just trying to get them all in trouble.

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