Updated: November 11, 2011
Teenager, I'm talking to you. Do you think your parents are not worth the task they have been assigned, that of raising your acne-ridden face to adulthood while bearing the legal responsibility for your deeds? Do you think they are boring and yesterday? How about replacing them?
In this article, I want to propose a revolutionary new method of LEASE parenthood, similar to the car market. The whole thing begins when a couple supposedly falls in love and decides to justify their existence by pumping out a few kids. Next, it's the sweet perpetuation of mediocrity with mortgages and compromises and fear and the end result is you. And you have the keys to the ignition.
Parental licensing would be the best thing, but this funny world seems opposed to that. All right, no matter. The next best thing is to make people accountable for what they do. So there's law that sort of makes people worry a little, lets they neglect their genetic duties. Even so, most people plain and simple suck at being parents, because they lack motivation, ambition, skill, vision, physical and mental dexterity, capacity, acumen, dedication, and love to persist in a task that takes roughly 25 years to complete and costs some 750 very good laptops.
At a certain age, even kids, who are merely replicated versions of their parents' failure start to see the flaws in their upbringing. So they give their parents the lip, be-moan and be-rebel. But short of being lectured on how mom and dad pay all the bills, there's nothing they can do.
So let's amend that.
I propose that parents be given a score, like in video games. And if they hit a certain penalty threshold, they can be replaced if their children choose so. A new pair of parents is then chosen at random, using a standard /dev/random pseudo-random generator, from the pool of available candidates.
In fact, there would be a global resource of unassigned parents. However, to avoid the initial deadlock, since most parents are accounted for and there are more children than parents, people would be given a financial incentive to participate in the effort. Roughly 5-10% of all parents would be automatically unassigned, in return for big money, and their children dispersed among foster families. These parents would then be on standby, as a replacement.
If and when parents misbehave, they get replaced. There would be a positive bonus for families that stay together, including all kinds of tax benefits and bonuses and whatnot, but if push comes to shove, the kids get what they want. Their parents are traded in and a complete set of new strangers is brought in to do their job, with the grace period of 180 days. So if you thought your mom and dad don't love you, maybe new parents will finally get your angst and mood swings and buy you that iPhone. Forget the fact they have also been unassigned by their own children most likely, but hey, perhaps the cross match is what you've all been looking for.
Ah, it would be unfair if only kids could replace their mom and dad. Why not make it a complete cycle? Let parents be able to un-assign their children, too. Think about it. You expected a new Einstein or at least Brad Pitt, instead you got an average-looking average-thinking moron who barely scrapes C in Math. Never mind the fact that the normal distribution mandates at least 68% average people at all times. By average, I mean total failures.
Today, people can sort of give away their children, but this is usually traumatic and comes with a bag of other problems. I'm not in favor of that kind of thing, no. I'm talking about not having to live with your own disappointment at having bred completely mediocre offspring.
So you un-assign them, and they are given over to parents who might like them more, while you get a new set of children, who are almost like yours, except genetically different. But then, some 10-15% of men are raising kids not their own anyhow, RE: cheating, at the very least, so this can't be that bad.
It seems likely that parents would be the first to un-assign their children, in the earlier years of their lives, with teenagers taking revenge later on. But it would be all for the best. Most people are not satisfied with their families, be they one generation up or down the ladder. So why not mix until the perfect equilibrium is reached? Pure math will tell us that after some 40-90 permutations of this kind, there would be a balanced mix of parents and kids with high mutual compatibility, with about 20% noise that sustains the cycle.
So what was I trying to say, you wonder? First, there goes a brilliant idea. Second, children need to shut up. They were created for no other purpose than to fulfill someone's egoistic need, so they should be grateful they exist. Take a look at Western Europe, no one's making kids anyone; everyone's driving Audi and enjoying good life. Survival is no longer necessary or important, welcome nihilism, good life and parties all night, every night.
Moreover, mom and dad pay taxes, work hard and have to put up with their not-so-perfect children and their twisted, incomplete and childish opinions. If you're not allowed to go to that concert, there probably is a good reason for that, no matter how much you love your contemporary idol. When you're told to study hard, you should listen, no, obey your parents, because one day you will end up a parasite on the hide of the society, leeching the economy paid by honest people, squandering, besmirching the aesthetics of life, polluting the air with useless eking, and becoming an irresponsible faucet of progeny that will breed fresh generations of like failures.
I say, remove that default 18-year immunity given to everyone. If children lived with the knowledge that either they or their parents could one day be replaced any moment, perhaps they would stop whining about icecream and the trip to Disneyland and focus on being useful. There you go, the perfect idea. And on the far end of that spectrum, rental offspring. Damn, I win.
P.S. The image of the 19th century family and the woman balancing on a bottle are in public domain.