I’m not a New York Times reader. I never have been and I’m fairly certain I never will be. In all honesty, I’ve just always found it pretentious and I don’t think I fall into their particular demo. They’re wine, cheese and foie gras. I’m beer, pretzels and three-layer dip. Oh sure, I like to come off now and then like I’m a bit more cultured and refined, but I’m a keg parties in the woods, sit in the bleachers type of guy.
I know, I know. You’re saying to yourself, “Warren, we don’t give a shit why you don’t like The Times.” And, you’re right, you shouldn’t. I only tell you as a preface to this February 14th article and why I found myself shaking my head muttering, “I just don’t get it” and “Maybe they don’t get it.”
Before I got married, my decor consisted of a used Scandinavian Designs bed and dresser, assorted crates, a TV stand, an entertainment center, a beat-up La-Z-Boy covered in cat hair (RIP Moe) and assorted bric-a-brac – typical for a guy just out of college living on his own. After getting married, Mrs. Big Dubya and I set out to furnish our home with nice but comfortable stuff – neither wanted a room or rooms where you were afraid to enter or sit down (read: my parents’ house). I think we’ve succeeded and admirably so. It’s all very nice, but we also know we have two small children (a third on the way) who aren’t using coasters, eat with their fingers and like to use bottles as if they were bingo daubers. Three words: We. Have. Kids. Have I quit? No. Am I a realist? I think so. That’s why I found the article so dumbfounding. Am I the only one who knows that kids are not neatniks? They don’t just walk they barrel headlong into things. They smear, spill, smudge and slobber on everything. God bless ’em.
What bothers (troubles?) me about this article at times is the “Extra! Extra!” earth-shattering quotes and revelations on behalf of some of the interview subjects: “Going from being a couple to becoming a parent, your whole world changes…” “Once you become a parent, your home is not your own…” Hold on a sec. You mean it’s not all about me anymore? Well, slap my ass and call me Charlie. But, from reading this, you’d think these parents never got that memo – the underlying tone is, “I have and want nice things, therefore my children will conform and show these items the proper respect and care.” Newsflash: um…no they won’t and no they won’t. Let me just say, here and now, I’m not faulting these people for wanting nice things; for wanting nice living spaces; for wanting to be adults. Hell, I would love to be able to do that. I’ve had my eye on a piece or two at Pier One just like everyone else. But I also know that a wall, even if it is covered in designer paint, is still a very appealing and enticing canvas. And, no matter how cautious or how quick you are (or think you are) that child is going to vomit – whether he’s sitting on a $399 EKTORP sofa in Belgian White or a $17,000 sectional in brown leather and emerald chenille. It’s better to resign yourself to this fact now. Just ask my sectional after the Sharpie pen incident of 2006.
If you have children and manage to maintain a showroom-quality apartment or home, lucky you and may that luck continue. And, if you don’t mind me asking, how much did you pay for Vicki?
Sidenote: If you read the article, you may have a similar question(s): How exactly does one go about becoming a professional babyproofer? And 300 holes? Are you installing some sort of bank vault?