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Date archive for: February 2013

No Children, No Comment

As far as breeders go, I like to think I’m pretty tolerable. I don’t preach to my child-free friends about the unparalleled rapture that is (but kind of isn’t) parenthood. I don’t scoff when they call their pets their “babies.” I don’t sneer resentfully as they jet off to tropical, adult-only vacations in fricking February, when it’s not even a school holiday and they have no natural right to be warm and free and happy. (Okay, I do that, but they don’t know it.)

What I definitely don’t do is ask people why they don’t have children. My nonparent friends say they get asked this question all the time — sometimes by relative strangers. No one with a modicum of manners would ask, “Why aren’t you married?” or “Why don’t you earn more money?” Yet childless adults who appear within an egg’s toss of breeding age are often asked to explain why they’re not helping to populate this poor, desolate planet.

The real answer is often complicated, but my put-upon pals like to have a short, simple response at the ready — something that’ll call off the procreative inquisition and let everyone get back to vapid small talk, for the love of god.

Continue reading No Children, No Comment

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Paranoid or Preventative?

It’s a typical day in classrooms across America. Students turn in last night’s homework, take their seats, open their notebooks, and settle in for a lesson in handwriting. Or calculating the diameter of a circle. Or avoiding being shot by a madman.

Schools from elementary to high school are now putting students through “lockdown drills” to rehearse what to do if someone starts shooting up the campus. Some have been practicing like this since Columbine; others only began after the Sandy Hook school massacre in December.

The drills usually begin with a loudspeaker announcement from the principal, after which teachers lock and/or barricade their classroom doors, close any blinds, and instruct their students to huddle in a corner and remain absolutely silent for 10, 15, or even 30 minutes. Sometimes staff members bang threateningly on classroom doors or fire blanks in the hall to add realism. One school had students lay down “dead” with fake blood.

“I cried the first time my son came home and told me about these,” says a friend of mine. “They told him, ‘If you’re in the bathroom or hall when the classroom doors are locked, find somewhere else to hide because the teachers won’t let you in.’ He was 9.”

Continue reading Paranoid or Preventative?

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