Speaking as a father, I have come to the sad realization that all children have the innate social decorum, personal hygiene skills, and civility of your everyday, bus-depot variety hobo.
How did I come to this conclusion? I cannot pinpoint it exactly, but my children have left a variety of clues as to their true hobo nature. Perhaps it was finding a collection of used Kleenexes discarded throughout our living room. Maybe it was the dirty socks or underwear strewn about our hallway. It could have been the umpteenth time I entered the bathroom and encountered a fresh â€œdeuceâ€ residing in an unflushed toilet.
Whatever it was, I now view our nice suburban home as a veritable tent city. Once I began to take notice of my surroundings, I found the signs of hobo â€œcultureâ€ were everywhere. For instance, around the dinner table each night, I am more apt to hear burping and flatulence than polite conversation.
Furthermore, like hobos, my children relish in their unhealthy diet and lifestyle. My daughter would happily eat a bag of gummy worms smothered in maple syrup for breakfast and wash it down with a root beer float.
Like hobos, my children have horrible hygiene. If left to their own devices, their teeth would go unbrushed and their hair uncombed henceforth. Forget showers too. I have honestly witnessed lengthy debates between my wife and daughter over whether a morning shower is necessary after one has an â€œaccidentâ€ the night before.
Like hobos, my children sleep in a tangled ratâ€™s nest of blanks, pillows, assorted personal belongings, dirty clothes and half-eaten food. In addition, like hobos, this â€œbeddingâ€ has the unmistakable odor of stale â€œpee pee.â€
Like hobos, in settling even the smallest dispute, my children generally escalate it to a crazy screaming match in a public place.
Like hobos, the decision-making of children overly favors instant gratification and has an astonishing degree of short-term bias for someone that will live for another 90+ years.
Like hobos, my children constantly beg for money and rarely disclose how the money will ultimately be spent. Knowing their unhealthy lifestyle and bias for short-term gratification, I know my donations will not be going towards their retirement fund. However, there are rare instances that I do feel generous and hand over a dollar to a panhandling child or hobo. I’ve noticed, almost without fail, that within mere minutes of handing over the dollar that Iâ€™ll be approached by the exact same child or hobo, unabashedly requesting spare change once more. I then am put in the uncomfortable position of having to exclaim amongst a throng of bystanders, â€œWhat! Donâ€™t your remember?, We just had this conversation 10 minutes ago! I gave you a dollar for â€œbus fareâ€ or the candy machine, remember? Where did that money go?!â€
I never really expect a response, as hobos often donâ€™t provide the truth or a direct answer, anyway. Also, hobos complain a lot, make excuses, and are disrespectful. Hobos routinely fail to say â€œpleaseâ€ and â€œthank youâ€ or generally show gratitude, even when you are bestowing generosity upon them. Does this sound like any children you know?
As Iâ€™ve outlined above, hobos have few redeeming qualities. My job as a parent, fundamentally, is to prevent my children from fulfilling their inborn hobo destiny. Now that I have begun to anticipate their lowlife tendencies, I have developed a counterstrategy.
I call my method â€œHobo Chores.â€ The system is both simplistic and ingenious. Whenever I observe a hobo-esque act of anti-social behavior, I immediately and loudly assign a â€œhobo choreâ€ to the offending child in witness of the entire family and other onlookers.
Now, thereâ€™s nothing inherently different from a â€œhobo choreâ€ versus the type of routine chores our kids perform each dayâ€¦ except for the stigma of being associated with hobos. In other words, hobo branding has been the key to the programâ€™s success. It should also be noted, that this is the first time in history that “hobo branding” has ever been successful in association with anything.
Look, itâ€™s not easy being a parent. For those of you struggling with childrearing, feel free employ my methods. And someday, when your children are fully grown, and they are not aggressively panhandling in a touristy part of town or defecating on a sidewalk somewhere, youâ€™ll know who to thank.
Also published on Medium.