Not even if you paid me
Well maybe if you paid me in Dom Perignon…Nah, not even then.
I’m not going to enable the attention-getting behavior of that rat’s-ass crazy chick who posed on the cover of Time with her three year old hanging off her left breast by reprinting the photo. I’m sure by now the image is forever seared on your consciousness, just as it is mine. I’m also certain I won’t be the first person to point out that breastfeeding a child who can pull up his own pants, conjugate verbs in the past tense, and program the TiVo has more in common with molestation than meal time, but if your primary goal for your kid is to end up on top of the library tower in 15 years with a hunting rifle in his hand and a clothespin on his penis, nursing him until he goes to middle school strikes me as a pretty effective way to start.
In addition to putting me off my feed, this story has got me thinking about the things I won’t do and the lines I won’t cross. Of course, pushing limits has been something of a specialty of mine for some years, but even I have boundaries, and I think in this era of anything goes we might all do well to set a few for ourselves. Now I’m not suggesting that others should follow my example (though it would be a boon to both Betty Ford and big pharma if they did), rather that we all take a few moments to reflect on what is and isn’t OK. I’ll go first.
I don’t camp. Ever.
It’s too much work for too little pleasure, meaning zero. Correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s what camping appears to entail: You load up all kinds of shit that is supposed to replicate conditions at home, but is really just a collection of uncomfortable and inconvenient approximations — sleeping bags, cookstoves, kerosene lamps, tents, and so on. You then drive to some remote place where no one can hear you scream when the bears and skinny guys with Cat Power hats and chainsaws come out of the woods at night. You unpack said crap, or “make camp,” but first you must slather yourself in mosquito repellent that can only be washed off during a refreshing dip in an ice cold body of water that is teeming with biting, sucking and stinging creatures. This is how you “relax” for three days, after which time the food has run out, your back is locked up and you smell like the inside of an twelve year-old boy’s sneaker.
No bus trips.
The last time I rode the dog, I needed to get home from college, but had already blown through the last of my spending money, maxed out my student loans and drunk up the emergency funds from my parents. So I dragged my belongings onto a Greyhound bus, grabbing the last available seat, which was, happily, right next to the toilet, and for eight long hours endured the kind of car sickness that only comes from the constant lurching and swaying produced by a driver in imminent danger of nodding off at the wheel while you are breathing the sickening miasma of toilet chemicals, human waste and body odor (my seat mate was on a day pass from the local residential treatment center where, apparently, there were no showers, or maybe he’d just been camping). Next time I’ll hitchhike.
Never eat the worm.
Here’s the thing about tequila: After about six Margaritas you think you are completely sober, but in reality you are shit-faced drunk, loaded, bombed, wasted, smashed. Invariably this is the point when someone suggests eating the worm in the bottom of the bottle. I have it on good authority that the possible outcomes of this action include, but are not limited to, table dancing, naked rampages, intimate encounters in less than private locations, declarations of undying love and repeated, increasingly insistent requests that the DJ play Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Happily, you’ll remember none of it, though the folks at the clinic will probably not believe you got whatever it is they’re trying to treat from a toilet seat. Unless of course, you’ve recently taken a long bus trip. See above, riding the dog.
Never buy ANYTHING from a man who still goes by his childhood nickname or diminutive.
If Junior or Sonny tries to sell you a car, you’re probably better off on your bike. Similarly, an adult male who identifies himself as Billy, Willy, Bobby or Sammy is not to be believed under any circumstances. Chances are all were breastfed far too long. Salesmen who carry those unfortunate compound firsts — Billy Bob, Jimmy Ray, Randy Stan — should not even be engaged in conversation. Just read the name tag and run like hell. I’m not even going to speculate on the back story for guys like this. I don’t have to; I saw Deliverance.
Now clearly, your rules are your business, and if you want to squeeze into inappropriate clothing, relieve yourself in the woods or have business dealings with hillbillies, that’s your choice. By the same token you may feel that gold teeth are the living end of chic, Porter Wagoner was God’s gift to music and black tights with white shoes look divine. Party on, but for God’s sake wean your kids before they start driving.