Saturday, March 10, 2012

Parenting in a post-apocalyptic world

An argument could be made that we coddle our children these days. At the risk of becoming an old-man cliché, when I was a kid, I walked about two kilometers to school, by myself or with a brother even younger than I was. This wasn’t when I was in high school, mind, but grade school. Now kids are watched like hawks as they cross the street to their school, or given a ride three blocks. This is to avoid the predations of the sickos out there, and believe me, I understand. Every day when my son gets on the school bus, I squint suspiciously at the driver: “Is that the regular woman? Or an imposter who’s hijacked the school bus so they can collect a month’s supply of children for their evil desires?”
The world can seem a scary place. Granted, we live in Shangri-la in this country compared to the vast majority of the world, but still. It only takes one creep in a van to make an attempted child-snatching to freak the whole community out.
Or so I thought.
Like many nerds, I’ve been watching AMC’s The Walking Dead. I’m not intending to get into a blow-by-blow of what makes the show good and where it fails (that would be a REALLY long post). For those who haven’t seen it, it’s your standard “group of humans try to survive in a world filled with zombies” drama. The important things to know are that in this show, zombies are real, they can pop up anywhere, and when they bite you, they turn you into one.
Last week’s episode had a lot of screen time devoted to the last remaining child in the survivor group. He’s about 10 or so. In one episode we see him checking out the grave of the second-last child in the survivor group, roaming the woods, lifting a handgun from the saddle bags on a motorcycle, and taunting a zombie stuck in the mud. He does all of this BY HIMSELF. No one’s watching him. No one’s going with him. No one, in short, seems to give a crap that a pre-pubescent boy is roaming the zombie-infested countryside on his own.
This would be bad enough if his parents were dead, but he’s not an orphan. His mom and pop are still breathing and claim to love him. Yet not once do they ask “where’s our boy?” or “what have you been up to all day, son?” They certainly aren’t supervising him. What the deuce? Seriously? I have to say, Mom and Dad, if this is your idea of teaching valuable lessons on independence, your timing blows.
I can believe in zombies. What I can’t believe in is so-called “loving parents” who let their child wander by himself around a strange farm populated with undead monsters. How this drooling band of idiotic “survivors” managed to make it this far is beyond me, unless the whole “go on, son, why don’t you see what’s behind the barn” mentality is their subconscious way of saying “you were an accident.”

1 comment:

  1. I think the important words to remember in your post are: "claim to love him".