Friday, September 28, 2007

Women Who Want to Fight Over the Baby's Last Name

Some women want to keep their names after marriage. Good for them. Some women don't want the prefix Mrs. either. Fine. Great.

And now, more and more, there are some who aren't satisfied with that and want the baby to have their last name, too. And that, readers, is where I have to draw the line. Now, I have no kids. I speak purely hypothetically. But I would never consent to letting my kids take their mom's name. And I would resist hyphenation with every last fiber of effort.

The women I've spoken to have put forward a few arguments. The weakest ones are the "I went through pregnancy and labor and childbirth and you didn't" arguments. You did so voluntarily, is my response. No one put a gun to your head. Going through pregnancy doesn't entitle a person to some kind of compensation, like a paycheck.

The only argument that has merit is the obvious one, that men and women are equal - and that there's no reason for the child to always be named after the man. I have two responses to this. I think that either, independently, is satisfactory. The obvious retort here is that naming the baby after the mother isn't any fairer. There's no truly fair solution except hyphenation, or selecting an entirely new name. The problem with hyphenation, as others have pointed out to me, is that it's not a long-term solution. Will the great grandchildren be named Johnson-Merrick-Douglas-Finklestein-Shanks-Paisley-Wainright-Gibbs? And the problem with selecting a new name is that no one seems particularly keen to do it.

So the first problem with the "It's not fair" argument is that there's no fair solution being proposed. But now, allow me to introduce the world to the second compelling reason why women shouldn't be fighting this battle and should just gracefully concede it. This second reason is one that is intuitively understood by all men everywhere, but I've never really heard anyone articulate it before.

Women: if your men have to raise children who have your last name, they will be the laughingstock of men everywhere. Men know this, and this is why they will put up enormous resistance to the idea. They may not even care about passing on their name. They may not even like their name. But what they do care about is having every other guy they know and will ever know - including men of the future who have not even been born yet - think they are a whipped, neutered little pansy.

And this isn't just some idle fear. "Who cares what other people think?" you might be saying. "Why should bowing to the prejudices of others have any bearing on our decision?" Well, what if your husband needs to get a job someday? What if he needs to make contacts? What if he needs to make a sale? What if he needs to impress clients? What if he needs to build his reputation or influence others, for any reason, at any time? Wouldn't it be nice if he wasn't mortally handicapped by everyone snickering behind his back about how his wife made him forfeit his own family name so he couldn't pass it on to his own kids? Does she make him pee sitting down too?

Maybe somewhere out there are some hippyish dudes who either don't care or who actually respect the choice. Sure they may exist. But will they be the dudes your husband needs to impress to get that account or make the sale? That's a big N-O.

So that's your dilemma women. If you actually win this fight you are dooming your man to a lifetime of humiliation and disrespect. And if you don't really care about that, then you suck. Count your blessings. Enjoy your advantages in other areas. You live longer. You have higher emotional intelligence. The whole multiple orgasm thing. When have you ever heard a man whine and say he was entitled to something because of his shorter lifespan? You don't. Yes, naming the baby after the man is unfair, but that's just life. The baby last name fight is just not a good place to stand your ground.

Friday, September 14, 2007

200 Annoyances

181. Old people who are just now reaching the stage of email proficiency where it seems like a great idea to send out massive amounts of forwards to everyone they know.

182. The bottom third of the tortilla bag.

183. Sitting at the exact jurisdictional border of two waiters, and neither thinks he's covering your table.

184. People who use the counterfeit verification pen on small bills.

185. People who, when choosing donuts for the dozen-donut box, round out the selection with a coconut donut and a peanut donut. This is done out of some misguided belief that there needs to be complete variety in the donut box, and ignores the reality that not a single person on earth prefers the peanut or coconut donut. If I ran the show, when people chose one of these donuts, the clerks would be instructed to say "Ma'am, are you SURE you want a peanut donut?"

186. Celebrity game show contestants who play for animal charities.

187. A pick-up or SUV whose headlights are at the exact altitude to bounce off my rear view mirror directly into my pupils.

188. Wikipedia entries that inform me, in scholarly prose, that whatever I'm looking up is also the name of a manga/anime/videogame character/band/soap opera episode title/nickname of a wrestler/name of a fictional town in a graphic novel, etc. Who. gives. a. SHIT. Can wikipedia please create a separate site for this meaningless information?

189. Getting the white gumball.

190. When your birthday is too close to Christmas.

191. Foul smelling water in the gas station courtesy window wipe bucket.

192. Bad action/fantasy/sci-fi movies that have the arrogance to end with a sequel tease when it should have been abundantly clear to everyone that there would be no sequel.

193. Kids who make a big production out of adjusting the side mirrors to impress the driving tester.

194. That wheezing laugh. The one fat people have where it sounds like a pig is dying.

195. When news anchors ask their field reporters to describe something they're witnessing on a scale of 1 to 10, no reporter has ever said 4. Or 6. Really the whole 3 through 7 range is never used. This bugs me.

196. These spam emails with subject lines like "RE: your dental plan". Doesn't it cross the spammers minds that this implies I wrote an email with the subject line: "your dental plan"? Why would I write an email whose subject line is "your dental plan"? Wouldn't it be "my dental plan"? This seems like such a basic error yet I see it all the time. Try harder, spammers. Work for it.

197. People who take the elevator to the second floor at the gym.

198. Google not customizing its logo for Memorial Day or Veterans Day.

199. "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." Am I the only one who has always secretly felt that this just isn't a great quote? That the sentiment isn't really that profound? That the word choice was pedestrian? That its very quotability makes it seem manufactured and canned? Even when I was kid, I always thought "That was the best he could do?" I mean, I can't say anything, cause it's a "Great Quote". But c'mon. We needed a home run that day, and this wasn't it.

200. For the entire 20 year lifespan of the VCR, people have made the casual claim that they could make me a copy of a VHS tape. "Oh don't worry," they'd say. "I'll just hook up two VCRs together." But it never, ever happened. Was there any claim on earth more frequently made but with less actual follow through than the offer from a friend to dub a VHS tape to another VHS tape via linked VCRs? No one ever, not even once, ever did it. Granted, VCRs are almost entirely obsolete now, but it just must be stated for the record that no one, despite thousands of casual promises to the contrary, actually linked up 2 VCRs to make their buddy a copy of something, ever. And don't bother writing me saying that you did do it, and what the hell am I talking about. Think about it. Did you *really* hook up two VCRs at home to dub something? You really brought the bedroom VCR into the living room and sat there on the rug trying to make sense of all the cables? No. No you didn't. So why did you tell people you could? You just wasted their time.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Undead Army Post Mortem (plus predictions)

To recap the discussion about Dr... you know, the guy running for president who was the subject of the last column. I can't actually say his name, because then the undead army will hone in on this blog again and batter me with insane comments. It turns out they use to get minute by minute updates on any mention of... Dr. Grandpa, let's call him, in the entire blogosphere.

You may have noticed I didn't permit any comments on the last post. Not that they didn't try. If I hadn't turned on comment-moderation there would have been an endless chain of them - each one mentioning "Dr. Grandpa" and thereby triggering a new radar blip on technorati, thus bringing in a fresh wave of traffic and comments. Here is a sample of what the undead army had to say:

" flash: No other declared Republican candidate has any chance to be elected President in 2008, either. So if not having a chance to win means you shouldn't be in the debate, then that worthless thug Giuliani, that doddering old fool and fascist pig McCain, that cult member and all around worthless Ken doll Romney, the genocidal maniac Tancredo, and the medieval Young Earther trailer trash Huckabee and Brownback shouldn't be in the debates either. Maybe the networks can just shoot a picture of empty chairs and broadcast it as dead air for two hours instead of having a debate at all."

By the way, did anyone see Dr. Grandpa get smacked around the other day at the New Hampshire republican debate? I'm starting to think he actually adds something to the mix. No matter what our differences as republicans, be we worthless thugs, fascist pigs or young earthers, we can all rally around Dr. Grandpa and use him as a punching bag. No matter how many Dr. Grandpa rabid supporters are in the debate audience cheering his every word, it's still nice to see someone like Huckabee dress him down as he stands there blinking and uncomprehending.

Now I'll make a few predictions about the order in which the remaining republican candidates will exit. First out will be Duncan Hunter. Not because his is the most hopeless of the remaining candidacies, but because he actually seems like a sane person. Someone who might actually realize they're not going to win, and, as such, closes up shop. Duncan Hunter, I salute you. (presuming you do it)

Next will be Tancredo and Brownback, in indeterminate order. These guys aren't vanity candidates, and they aren't moonbats like Dr. Grandpa. They're issue candidates. Immigration and abortion, respectively. They're running to support their issues. Therefore, the hopelessness of the candidacy doesn't really phase them. As long as they can get airtime to promote their pet cause, they'll stay on the stage.

Then, Huckabee. He's got it in his head that he's a contender now - and until he's disabused of it, he won't drop out. But he isn't a contender. And he's reasonably sane. Look for him to exit sometime early next year.

McCain might drop out. Maybe. He's going to get crushed in all the early states, then he's going to designate a state as his "last stand" state, where he'll spend all his money and spend all his time. Basically, this was the Joe Lieberman Delaware strategy of 2004. McCain will pick his Delware... and proceed to get crushed there too. Just like Lieberman did. Hopefully at that point he'll have the good sense to exit.

The remaining 4: Giulianai, Thompson, Romney and Dr. Grandpa will slug it out to the bitter end. Look forward to a few debates where Dr. Grandpa gets wayyyyyyy too much airtime. Giuliani will win the nomination, and Thompson may be a good choice for a running mate. Too early to tell on that.