Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter
ozma914

next week's column: Raising Your Own Village

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


A lot of people are upset about Nadya Suleman’s decision to have a large family, because she’s heavily in debt and seems to be living largely off the largess of the American taxpayers. I understand the fuss. There’s nothing wrong with being a single mother, but giving birth to your own baseball team, and charging your neighbors for season tickets, is another story.

Personally, I think she needs heavy psychotherapy and a subscription to the Condom of the Week Club, but karma will take care of things. Now that she’s given birth to octuplets she has fourteen children -- the way I see it, their puberty will be punishment enough.

The story tickled my memory, so I went back and found another article about a large family. This was a more, um, normal family, in that they didn’t get eight of the little tykes at the same time.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Arkansas welcomed their 17th child into the world last year.

Okay, I’ll wait while you get your yucks out about “Jim Bob from Arkansas”. Are you quite done making fun yet? Okay, my turn.

“We’d love to have more,” Michelle said, less than half an hour after giving birth to their 7th daughter. (Which would just about have to mean they have ten sons.)

Huh.

Apparently she’s concerned that the girls are outnumbered, and she wants to catch up. The problem is, how do you know the next one will be a boy? Play the laws of average? If she has a boy next time, does that mean she has to get pregnant at least four more times?

My first thought was that the woman must be crazy for not having taken a baseball bat to her husband by now. I suppose she’s just too busy, not to mention tired.

But, like a woman with a hundred cats, she’s happy and clearly doesn’t understand why other people are fainting at the thought. A lot of people with more “normal” sized families aren’t happy at all, but who’s to say what’s normal? My Dad’s parents had ten kids, and they did okay.

Michelle Duggar went into labor at 5 a.m. and had the baby about half an hour later – I’m surprised it took that long.

The kids include two sets of twins, range in age from 19 on down, and all have names beginning with the letter J. I suppose that’s the major limitation – sooner or later they’ll run out of names.

They’re all home schooled, which means mom doesn’t get any break at all. Well, hardly any; you have to think that at some point one of the oldest has said, “You want me to babysit again? But mom, I can’t keep track of them! Last time I didn’t realize one was missing until he didn’t show up when we formed a chain to unload groceries from the semi!”

Sibling rivalry could involve a riot. I mean, if these kids went to public school they’d have their own bus. Bath night drains their town’s water tower. They have a separate building just for dishes. Toys-R-Us sent a private jet to bring the Duggars over at Christmas time, and when the kids found out there wasn’t a Santa the store went bankrupt.

We’re talking a lot of kids, so many that there’s a show on the Discovery Channel about them. Here are some facts about the family, according to Discovery:

There’s been a baby born to the family in every month except June – assuming nothing has changed since then. They’ve gone through more than 90,000 diapers, and when the kids started getting older the tooth fairy had to bring an armored car.

The family owns a cell phone tower, which makes sense considering how many cell phones they must have.

Jim Bob is a former two-term Arkansas State Representative. He decided to resign out of fairness: He could win an election if nobody voted for him except for this family. The local congressional district consists of his block.

The Duggars do about 200 loads of laundry every month. Every laundry day the Mississippi River drops three feet.

The entire family is fed for less than $2,000 a month. Which seems impressive, until you realize that’s more than my entire take home pay for a month.

Every child learns to play both violin and piano. Their neighbors are not amused.

Michelle, who’s only 40, has been pregnant for 126 months. That's ten and a half years, over a quarter of her entire life. It must feel odd to her when she’s not pregnant.

But here’s the real kicker: The Duggars are debt free.

That’s right – they don’t owe one dime; they’re doing just fine, thank you. The way I see it, as long as they’re not demanding taxpayer money to support their kids, why not? If they’re really happy, let ‘em be happy; there are a lot worse things you could do with your life than have a big family. I may not understand the attraction, but they seem to have their priorities in order.

Besides, who’s going to argue with them at this point? There are so many of them that, when they’re all adults, they could each run for Congress and take over from the regular politicians. If they’re all being taught to live within their means, maybe that’s not a bad thing.
Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark
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