For years, I have held my terrible anger deep inside. I have suppressed my rage, and I have bottled my aggravation. But not anymore! The Angry Czeck cannot stand it no longer! My fury runneth over, and the Angry Czeck is officially unchecked! Somebody had to address this explosive subject, and only I have the big nuts to do it.
Pet owners of America: Owning a dog or a cat is is not the same as raising kids.
I know that this proclamation will shake many of you to the core. It may even cause you to question some of your most primitive beliefs. Some of you will cry. I don’t care. This egregious comparison to owning an animal and caring for one’s genetic spawn has gone on long enough.
I hear it almost every goddamn day. For example, this morning I was having my angry eyes examined, and the assistant revealed to me that she was having a baby. I gave her my warm congratulations, and then I politely asked her if this baby was to be her first.
“Yes,” she admitted, “but I have two dogs, so I’ve been practicing.”
That’s just insulting. What if I said, “I know what its like to be a women because I’ve felt breasts before?” That wouldn’t go ever to well in most social circles, now would it? It’s going to be a pretty big shock to my optometrist assistant when she discovers that you can’t just lock up baby in the basement when you and your husband want to catch Spider-man 3 in the theater.
I can already feel some of you shaking your heads and rolling your eyes and digging up stories about how you once had to take Twinkles to the vet one night. Many of you are becoming indignant, which is already irritating. Rather than giving you the Dick Cheney Summation (“Go fuck yourself!”), I generously supply to you, right here on the firey pages of The Angry Czeck, the following reasons:
1. If you forget to feed your kid for a couple days, you go to jail. Once, I forgot to feed my hamster for almost a week. He turned out okay. But I don’t think Angry Junior would fair so well. Plus, the Department of Child Services frowns on forgetting to feed your kids. They could care less about your poodle.
2. The social stigma for backing over your kid with the car in the driveway is much more severe than if you back over your dog. Believe me, your neighbors will take a dim view of your squishing Junior beneath your whitewalls, but you’ll win plenty of good-natured sympathy if you do the same to Sprinkles.
3. Really, how hard is it to feed a dog or cat? The food comes in a 40lb bag, for Christ’s sake. You pour it into a bowl and then you go watch According to Jim. Meanwhile, I have five different kinds of applesauce in my pantry.
4. You can’t potty train a kid by smacking it in the face with newspaper. I mean, you can, but then you’ll go to jail.
5. If your dog runs away, you just buy a new dog. Sure, there might be some feelings of loss and regret, but that all goes away with one trip to the pet store. A kid runs away, there’s no kid store to get a new one.
6. If you leave a kid at home all day while you go to work, you will go to jail. People who own a dog or a cat never fret about out-of-home child care. Instead, they bitch endlessly how Scruffles peed near the stereo or that Puddles laid a big shit on the kitchen floor. That’s too bad. Meanwhile, it costs $400 a month for daycare in a society that makes it impossible for a middle class family to afford one parent to stay home. See? Do you see the difference here? No?
7. You cannot shoot a kid who has rabies. There’s no other way to say this: dogs are disposable. If they get sick with rabies, the town sheriff destroys it right away. (Then you buy a new one without rabies.) If a kid gets sick with rabies, we pull out all the heroic medical stops to save it. I should not have to explain to you why.
8. You would never give a three-year-old a kid to play with. People give their kids cats or dogs all the time, often as a means to teach them responsibility. I had a cat when I was four. I used to grab it by its front paws and swing it in the air like a ballroom dancer. Then I’d let go. Good fun! (Gimme a break. I was four. Just think what might have happened with an infant.)
9. Cats don’t give a damn about you or your family. Kids, in general, really do love you. They think you’re the best! Which gives you even more incentive to feed them and to not leave them locked in a steaming hot car all afternoon. Cats, on the other hand, see you only as the hairless thing that pours the food into the bowl. Oh, I almost forgot: cats are about as smart as the pair of pants your wearing, too.
10. Dog with fleas, a nuisance! Kid with fleas, you go to jail. Not right away, but once the Department of Child Services discovers everything else you’re doing wrong, say goodbye to freedom, my friend. On the other hand, dogs and cats are supposed to have fleas. So don’t worry.
When you have a kid, your life changes completely. When you have a dog, you have to remember to let it out in the morning and at night. Cats are even less responsibility. How can you compare the two?
One night, about six months after Angry Junior was born, Mrs. Angry left town for a couple days to visit friends. It was the first time I was alone overnight with my son. No big deal. I gave Angry Junior his bath. I fed him his dinner. I changed his diaper, read him a story, and tucked him into bed. Then I slipped in a DVD and drank a bottle of wine.
I wasn’t even thinking. I was acting like pre-child Angry Czeck, a version of me who had no responsibilities outside of himself. What if Angry Junior had awoken with a high fever? What if I had to drive him to the emergency room? Or what if I was too hung over in the morning to take care of him? What if I had heard him crying later that evening, picked him up, and drunkenly dropped him onto the ground? How could I call myself a father then?
These are not questions you ask yourself when you own a dog or a cat. Because owning a dog or a cat is a luxury and not a responsibility. Maybe I’m taking this too seriously. I know that pet owners are crazy about their pets, and really do care for them. I don’t begrudge your obsessive affinity for genetic inferiors. But if I compared playing paintball to serving in the military, you might be insulted, especially if you were in the military. By the same token, don’t compare your ownership of a cat to devoting your life to raising a child. It’s not the same. It’s not even close.
Come next January, my optometry assistant will tell you the same.