An Introduction

Don’t worry, he’s not ours. He is a newly arrived nephew. He has a first name and two middle names, all in homage to his recent ancestors. All of whom are now sadly deceased – great grandfather on the maternal side, and grandfather on the other. Sort of. It’s complicated. On my blog, we will call him simply Master J. He’s a cheery, chubby little fellow, isn’t he? He’s about eight months old now. Mrs P, being a good Mexican lady, is needless to say over him like a rash. There are many worse rashes he could have at his age.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might be wondering where Master Mexile is? Truth be told, we’re still undecided. Of course, if we don’t make a decision pretty soon, then Mother Nature will make it for us. But we have been weighing up the pros and cons for years. One shouldn’t make a rash decision when the consequences are of such a life changing magnitude. Perhaps it is unfair to call them Pros and Cons though. A little bit negative. Perhaps it’s best to weigh up the Pros of having a kid. And the Pros of not having a kid. I always prefer a win-win situation if there is one going.

The pros of having a little ‘un are obvious. Someone to come and visit you when you’re old, wrinkly and quite frankly can’t be arsed to move from the sofa in the care home lounge anymore. And I’d really like to go to the cinema and see Mary Poppins 2 at Christmas, which would look a lot less weird if I were accompanying a child. Also, I’d have something to photograph. Every single day. Over and over, till the whole planet is sick of it. Ummm….I think that’s about it, really.

The pros of not having children are equally obvious, but far more numerous. We’ll have so much more money. We’ll be positively rolling in the stuff. And not covered in an incredible volume of baby poop, pee, puke and snot. We’ll be able to take fabulous holidays when prices are cheaper, and not limited to expensive breaks somewhere shit during school holidays.  We will be able to sleep peacefully at night, without having to get up several times a night for a year or two.

Our home will be a tranquil place, all neat and tidy. As opposed to the floor being covered in toys and the air filled with screams. And then there’s those teenage years of strops. Plus, as an added bonus, I won’t have to serve any prison time for discreetly murdering a succession of my little princess’ boyfriends for the crime of ‘impure thoughts’. And whilst it’s nice to have your kid visit you in your care home during the sunset years, it’ll probably be the kid that shoves you off there in the first place. I could go on, but you get the picture.

There’s another angle to this, however. Just have a look at the world around you. The entire planet is rapidly turning into a polluted, resource scarce disaster zone. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if the climate change predictions are worth worrying about – we’re finding a whole range of new ways to trash our environment by the day. Did you know that there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish within just a few decades?

I suspect that most generations throughout the centuries have had second thoughts about introducing a living being into a potential upcoming apocolyptic event. But there’s probably never been a time wheen these fears are so well founded. But who truly knows what the future holds? Regardless, I’m fairly convinced that fewer people on planet Earth would be a good thing, and not having a child is a commendable, almost heroic act. And whilst I would like a little princess, I’m also coming to view the preference for boys rather than girls in Indian and Chinese culture is something that should be encouraged, not countered.

Hasn’t this little essay celebrating the arrival of Master J become depressing? Enough of the bad vibes! Here’s to the little fella. May he have a long and prosperous life, and not get caught up in civilisation ending shortages of food, water and energy. And if there are any developments regards Master Mexile, be assured I will introduce him too.



5 thoughts on “An Introduction

  1. norm says:

    On the end of civilization: When I was in high school about 4 decades ago, I took a class in Ecology. The premise of that class was that we were running out of everything-it would all be gone in 40 years. Nope. Take pollution: I’m from a very industrial area, skys were orange, rivers caught fire, that kind of thing. Damm that EPA, they ruined it. Dick Nixon’s fault you know. Sky looks pretty blue these days, you can even eat a few of the fish who live in the river; there are fish in the river now.

    We are going through a bit of a rough spot politically right now Gary but this too will pass.

    On kids: Mine made me poor but really, how much does one need? Those kids are giving me grandkids now, trust me, that’s a pretty good thing. You would make a good Papa, Gary.


    • I am, for today anyway, the internet incarnation of the guy with the ‘End of the World is Nigh’ boards that roam the streets. They have an appalling track record thus far. Something around the 0% mark success rate. But someday, one of those guys is going to be right.Will he have time to shout, ‘I told you so!’? We can but hope that it’s millions of years in the future.

      The Thames is now clean enough for the occasional salmon. London’s air doesn’t kill tens of thousands in a weekend anymore. But then, we in the developed world can better afford remedies for local problems and are more prepared for global disasters. I think the biggest difference between now and 40 odd years ago is scale, and the scale is moving further into dangerous territory. There’s plenty of places with a worsening water supply problem. There’s plenty of potential for something pretty catastrphic to happen, beyond the normal natural cycles. Food supply problems would likely follow. But I do live in hope that we find a means to resolve, or at least mitigate, the problems we’ve been storing up.

      How much does one need?! Well I do rather fancy a new Fuji XT20 at about £800. Then there’ll be a new iPad and iPhone coming out in September. Vietnam won’t be cheap… 🙂

      Of course, I know exactly what you mean. I have one other thing in mind. I’m a few years older than Mrs P, who will likely have a longer lifespan too. The life insurance is sorted. But you know money isn’t everything…


  2. It may well be the end of the world as we know it. Still, I love the look of this child’s smile. So maybe we should continue the process of procreation. If only to make sure someone caries on. This doesn’t apply to me because I am too old to father a child. And, I cannot stand kids but for a few minutes at a time! a well-written piece even though it is on the negative side. But then, so is this world in which we live.


  3. La nuera says:

    Hello. I have never commented, and I’ve been reading along for many years. What we have in common is being married to Mexicans. We had the same discussions for many years. We had solidly and willingly decided to not be parents. We got a lot of pressure from disapproval from almost everyone on that. Despite that we were very content with our decision.

    Then one day while we were traveling, we simultaneously decided we changed our mind. We knew all the reasons we didn’t have kids, and they were fine reasons. But we wanted to experience the other side.

    It took five years from that point, and then after many avenues that didn’t lead to parenthood, we quite suddenly and unexpectedly got a phone call that changed our lives. We met our daughter two hours later and haven’t looked back. We treasure the years we were content being just the two of us. But they pale in comparison to these years of being a parent. Much like the essay you wrote a few days later on how children experience life so vividly and childhood memories are so strong. That’s how it is being a parent. Seeing the world like a child again.

    All the best to whatever you decide or whatever fate lands you. I really enjoy your writing and photography.

    Cheers from Tampa


  4. Hello. I have never commented, and I’ve been reading along for many years.

    Well, better late than never! Hello to you too. Every now and again I manage to write something to drag another ‘lurker’ out of the shadows…..! Just gotta find the relevant topic.

    It has to be said, we really haven’t come close to any sort of final decision. Nothing is set in stone. But we’re conscious that it’s getting late in the day to be making this sort of decision. It’s not just the obvious biological clock that’s ticking. Do I have the energy for parenthood at my advanced age? Ok, I’m not too ancient, but still. You get my point.

    There’s one other little thing. Mrs P and I really want to retire to Mexico one day. Maybe ten, fifteen or twenty years from now. How does having a child fit into that? Of course, if a little ‘un, then you just make it work, right? And I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t swap her for all the holidays in the world.

    …we quite suddenly and unexpectedly got a phone call that changed our lives. We met our daughter two hours later and haven’t looked back.

    That sounds like quite a story!

    I really enjoy your writing and photography.

    Thanks! Don’t leave it so long to say hello again. 🙂


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