I did want to be a father. Not always, not every day of my life, but I did think about it often enough to cause me a little heartache when it became obvious it was not going to happen.
I don’t really know why people want to become parents, it’s all very confusing to me considering the crap shoot one engages in when one rears a child. No doubt many, perhaps even most are looking for some sort of permanent “love repository” or its cousin, the dreams of basking in unconditional love one might pretend is mandatory for children in regards to their mom and dad. I’m pretty sure most people do it because that’s what’s done, you have sex, kids come, you take care of them for umpteeump years and hope once they’ve struck out on their own they’ll not only remember you but will pay you back a little of what you gave them in, if nothing else, phone calls and other pleasantries.
The craving to become a parent most likely has as many foundations as there are people on the planet. I can’t even really determine what mine was for sure beyond one simple, silly reason; the family name.
I am one of those odd people who has considered family to be a huge thing in my life. Over time that’s dwindled, but during the years I might have been able to create life, I was pretty enamored with the concept of lineage and history and the remarkableness of genealogy on the whole. I once wrote about being in Sweden with my father and touching gravestones in a cemetery closest to the hometown of my people and imagining that in all likelihood a relative 100 years past had touched the same granite in the same way, perhaps exactly where I had, and how that gave me a spiritual sigh. I wasn’t kidding, was not being overdramatic; my life has been run by symbolism such as that, the depth of my feelings for some things reside in a bottomless well.
So while I’m sure I had some of the same reasons to raise a mini me as those commonly found, I always had this voice in me that said my particular clan was dying out and I had some “obligation” (in the lightest definition of the word) to make sure that didn’t happen.
To my knowledge there aren’t many of us in the world. As my grandfather was “illegitimate” and after as much research and letter writing as I am willing to do no one will admit to his ever having been born save the hospital which can’t really deny it, our “extended” family exists of a small handful of siblings and cousins. Beyond our nucleus I have found less than half a dozen with the same name in any search I’ve conducted. That of course doesn’t mean there are not more, after all someone did actually father my grandfather whether they will say so or not, but it seems the surname I bear is rare indeed. That said, for the group I’m associated with, it’s coming to its end. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, or even a thing is debatable, but I do consider myself culpable.
Of course as I am to blame for nearly all of life’s disappointments, this comes as no surprise. I had my chances, I was married three times. I thought it responsible to get myself and each bride to a reasonable state of fiscal stability before starting the procreating, an effort which in each case took almost exactly 2.5 years. The only problem was at 2.6 years each bride save the present one decided it was time to move on to greener pastures. By the time this kabuki was over I was in my 40s and well beyond what I considered to be a responsible age for me personally to become a newborn’s father, so Linda and I gave up the idea.
I could therefor blame my childlessness on my choice of mates, but in retrospect I do believe it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Though I’ve never been tested I’d bet dollars to donuts I’m sterile for reasons that would be obvious were I silly enough to outline them, but you can figure that out on your own.
It’s funny how the concept grips me some days, how it once in a while tops my list of 100 deepest regrets of a life poorly lived. If I think about it long enough it’s probably a good thing really. I honestly doubt I would have been a good father all in all, and let’s face it, had I actually gotten either of my first wives pregnant I would have spent years paying child support for offspring I likely wouldn’t have had access to, like so many of the men I’ve known.
When I reach the point in my cycle when I’m at low ebb, sometimes this comes to me and lets me wallow in it for a while, as I am wont to wallow in something and this is a more healthy choice than some other pieces of baggage. But during one recent wallow I came upon a lump in the quicksand, one I could stand on, one that eventually raised me high enough to grab the branch of a nearby tree and pull myself out of the morass for the moment. It was the fleeting thought that John Wayne Gacy had parents.
Yea, ok, you don’t have to live in my head so I’m sure this seems whackadoodle to you, but hear me out and you’ll see why it’s the perfect counter to one of my most absurd self-qualified sins.
There’s really no telling what will happen when you toss your sperm around willy nilly. Say your sperm is Saggitarius, and you assume you’ve done the research and your mate is Libra, a damned fine match, so you send your sperm on its way hoping to make the perfect baby. Then you find out that the cosmic sign of an egg is not dependent on the birth date of its creator but on the date of its creation, which would make that egg you’ve just attempted to fertilize a Cancer, a really horrible match and one that will surely twist the child into something demonic and only mother-loveable. You’re now under the gun to raise to the best of your ability a human being that will likely be argumentative at best, a fiend at worst.
Son of Sam had parents. Don’t you think they saw him as the cutest little baby ever when he was born? (Until he started receiving messages from the almighty Dog that is) Baby Doc Duvalier had parents. I know this because there’s this guy named “Papa” Doc Duvalier, and I’m almost positive there’s an actual connection (/sarcasm). Pat Robertson had parents, despite the fact that his parents sexual organs would have had to touch each other thereby scarring poor Pat for life.
Think about it. Don’t you think all these folks went into this parenthood thing with the highest of hopes? Don’t you think they tried to instill goodness and light into their kiddies and raise thoughtful, contributing members of the gentile society? Mrs. Hitler, I’m talking about you! Mrs. Staling, Mr. Khan, Mr. and Mrs. Fallwell, Mr. Amin? (We’ll skip Mr and Mrs Assad since we know they actually trained their son to be a brutal serial killing dictator so they are not germane to this discussion)
Now add in the fact that I am the inspiration for the Murphy’s Law, a law created by Fredriche Murphy, a conflicted German/Irish behavioral scientist who after seeing me turn chicken salad into chicken poop for the 130th day in a row remarked “Holy crap man, I think you may be the most unlucky person in the world! I shall have to create a probability table around your life, but name it after myself of course”.
Add my bad luck to the possibility of spawning a “Damien” and you can see the result.
From the Associated Press: “Jeffry Dahlmer’s remains were exhumed today when Mrs. Dahlmer claimed that it was the devil’s sperm that had created her child and not her innocent egg. DNA test results point to a certain Ron Runeborg as having been the father of the psychotic mass murderer/ cannibal. Mr. Runeborg is already suspected of having fathered a host of bad actors; drug dealers, weapons smugglers, tin pot dictators, corporate polluters and Donald Trump. The FBI is searching for Mr Runeborg presently in hopes of stopping his wanton sperm distribution scheme before another Michelle Bachman is created.”
So in the end I’ve mellowed in my old age, content to let a random regret drop away before I pass, because even though it’s too bad I didn’t conserve the family name and will die a horribly lonely, childless death, at least I saved the world from one more Wayne LaPierre, or David Cameron, or Mitch McConnell, or Joseph Kony, or, well, you can finish the list.
So not only am I ok with not having had kids, I am now immortalized as having made a contribution to society at large; even though it’s really a non-contribution if you will.