Although it rarely receives accolades as a national pastime and treasure, babysitting is as American as hot dogs, graphic tees and saying that apple pie is solely rooted in American cuisine. Despite our many differences as a diverse and complex national population, we Americans come together time and time again to let our children be someone else’s problem for a single, god-forsaken minute. Growing to loathe the very presence of your children is the crowning achievement of Second Wave Puberty, and babysitting allows the perfect degree of distancing that plants the seeds of resentment deep in the heart of those miniature urchins. As a high-born, inbred member of the aristocracy, I have no children of my own to speak of, but I do have the festering antipathy toward children that is normally only found in a parent of 16.
As a childless person—this is the point at which I knock my fists against the nearest wooden object so fiercely that my bones are ground to dust, the wood haunted by the bitter ghosts of my once-functional hands—I also know that parents love opinions on child-rearing from we barren folk. For the adults who wish they could buy just one box of cereal without constant pestering from the parasite that will eventually be your sole caretaker, I have excellent news.
Some grocery stores in this great nation offer in-store childcare services for disgruntled parents. Appleton has one of its own, but I am not here to advocate for the simple depositing of children into a small, school-adjacent room so your children are spared the sight of their father crying over the sheer number of unfamiliar fruits. This practice seems suited to the picture-perfect future depicted in the prognostic documentary, “Wall-E,” so I have no doubt that it will soon become a fixture of all grocery stores.
I believe with every ounce of my being that I should be allowed to adopt one—possibly many—of the children briefly imprisoned in these grocery detention centers. The benefits of this system should be immediately apparent, but I will continue for the benefit of the troglodytes and pedants. I have no interest in keeping the child after I leave the grocery store. I simply wish to have a small, more energetic human accompany me in my grocery-shopping endeavors to make the process easier and delightfully patrician.
First and foremost, it is possible that this program is already in place amongst the most enlightened of grocers. If the kid is returned before the parents return to the childcare center, the secret of the kid-adoption program could go untold. The system I support, naturally, goes one step further than this hypothetical. If this Take-A-Tyke program were to be implemented locally, I would demand that the original parents wait until I have completed my own errands before receiving their child deposit. If they cannot be bothered to watch their children while they shop, I refuse to introduce more stress to my life through a hasty jaunt through the grocery aisles. My mini-valet and I will stroll through the linoleum grounds at our—or rather, my—leisure.
A cadre of malleable minds at my disposal will also provide me with the utmost sense of psychological satisfaction, as I would be able to appoint one of the toddlers as a personal scribe while the other impressionable souls listen to my Enlightened Musings. With the quickened learning abilities of their age, the children could absorb every word of my impenetrable logic and wit. I see no better way to raise my spirits in the midst of these winter doldrums than by feeling as if I am a nobleman who has taken one of the brighter peasant children under his wings for a tutelage beyond the child’s station.
I know I am not alone in saying that grocery shopping often demands a physical prowess that my corporeal form lacks. For a completely successful trip to the store, the demands can be so strenuous as to mandate the lifting of an entire gallon of milk; other times, the item I desire is on a shelf just two feet from the floor, forcing me to strain my pampered and high-born back. Employing an army of youngsters would spare me the indignities of this process while unleashing the children on the shelves like a collection of trained capuchins. What fun! This benefits the children as well in the development of their clambering humors and familiarity with the lesser metals of shelving construction.
Furthermore, it has come to my attention that segments of the population yearn for positions commonly known as “internships.” I myself have never had any need for such a degrading lot; my Daddy Dearest has provided for me fully through his connections amongst the business-folk of the Grand Township. I do believe, however, that my brilliant plan for grocery childcare offers an excellent opportunity for these grovelers. The positions for these abandoned children would be monetarily unpaid, but they would be richly compensated in experience and become proficient in fetching food by the end of their tenure. To paraphrase the most likable character of the Disney universe: some of the grocery-hunters may die in the process, but that is a risk I am more than willing to take.
Pardon my resort to the lesser arts for commentary. I was struck by the quote as a result of my surroundings: as I sit in the passageways of Lawrence University’s administrative offices, I cannot help but notice the very same quote printed and hung on the wall next to a screen that displays the weather forecast for the week. This digression will not become habit, neither here nor in my child-improvement program.
Hark my words, ye commoners! Some children are abandoned in grocery stores already, but this practice will no doubt spread nationwide by the end of the season. Do not cast out your gremlins for naught. I am willing to overcome my disdain for the little ones and usher them into the world of meaningful business experience at no cost to you. I, as a good-hearted man of high birth, will select the luckiest souls of the discarded bunch and assign them roles that may, one day in the distant future, offer them the opportunity of attaining a paid internship in a nearly-identical position. Not from me, of course! How could I possibly afford to pay the little ones who do the same work as I?
One of our nation’s greenest monuments has at its base a single quote inscribed in stone: “Give me your tired, your weary, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” I want none of the children that fit this description. Allow me to temporarily adopt the most energetic, limber food-hounds of the grocery store’s childcare center so I can improve society, one urchin at a time.