Midnight Pub

Kid Angst


Hello, it's a school night so I'll just have a glass of water please.

My little one headbutted me in the crotch today with the question of "dad, what am I going to be when I'm older?"

The question stumped me, because I can barely predict the next ten years, and as I watch the paradigms in my field shift and solidify, the crisscrossing flames of the political sphere, the inevitable climate crisis wars just on the horizon, the shortage of housing and the diminishing reserves of fresh water, all as the wealth of the world is being vacuumed into island-sized black holes... it takes me all the restraint in the world to not say: "sorry, but you're fucked, kiddo."

Of course I say no such thing. Like many in my generation, I have no children, but live in the hypothetical fear that the life I might try to produce for them might not be above the wealth threshold of ``good prospects for thee, o child of mine''.

So I sit in my cheap rented place, sipping the delicious free water from the tap, counting the pennies, and wondering how long all of this is going to last.

"Fusion or Batteries, will set us free" I say to my future hypothetical child as he frowns at my optimism. Let the rich have their fresh water reserves, as long as I can continue to sip from the free slightly-weird-tasting desalinated water, provided by the ample energy reserves we will no doubt have by then.

"Housing shortages will be an issue of the past" I reassure him, as I smile benevolently at the rest of the temporary apartment that we share with the other families. Billions of us are dead, and most of us are on the way out, no doubt there will be ample housing left behind if we just wait long enough.

He starts to fret a little as I tuck him in, but I give him an affectionate hug. Ignore your dear old father, he just likes to constantly alternate between high optimism and high pessimism. The reality will lie somewhere in between, and that's okay. Your life might be worthless, but it is not without meaning, and you can still leave a mark in the collective consciousness of humanity by simply interacting with and helping others.

A hundred or so years from now, when the beaming offspring of the billionaires emerge from their bunkers, reveling in the lie over the loss of all the ignorant lives they tried to save - there deep in their protected archives will be the sum total knowledge of all the art, literature, culture, mathematics, and science that humanity has ever produced - and we shall live on immortal through those preserved efforts and works.

Make a dent, son, no matter how small.



Congratulations, you are post 666



Interacting with and mentoring children is the most direct way to have a positive impact on the world. As the adage goes, children are the future.




Well, my wife and I don't want to have kids to avoid those questions. Indeed I call it 999 reasons for not having kids (I should write the book soon)...

Joking apart, the 'you're fucked' side is not fair for a child who didn't ask to be in this world. That's more for boring adults who have to survive and find good parts in a difficult (to say something neat) world.

So... I think it's a human need to look for hope, purpose, meaning, making dents in the universe, and all that stuff, that usually kids have in form of dreams and ignorance (or rather innocence). That childish sight of the world is always an inspiration for me and my inner child.



Even if the kid did ask to be born - I still think he would be placed in the increasingly desolate bin, instead of the hopeful bin reserved for a privileged few. But, maybe I should decrease my bin size to get a more realistic perspective.

People in my walk of life don't typically dance the razors edge, but more on the fat blade of a soft wooden butter knife :P

Any future child of mine will be taught to dance in small circles, take pride in their modest self-achieved dreams, and largely ignore the wider world for the sake of their own sanity. I can't promise them any financial security, but I can maybe teach them to be happy with what they have.



Reason 154: Financial security, opportunities, privileges...

[Brings a cup of tea to start a long and juicy discussion...]