I have previously shared works from the great Hubert J Watergipridget. As it happens, I have a great deal more to share for Watergipridget is the single most prolific writer that has ever lived. In his time, he wrote 42 novels, 95.3 short stories and countless essays. Literally. People have tried counting but have either gone insane, died or got bored before finishing.
It is well known, like Samuel Johnson or Winston Churchill (and practically everyone post-2012), Watergipridget suffered from bouts of depression. Always keen on one-upmanship, he did not refer to his depression as a black dog, but rather a black bear. His reasoning was, not only would a bear be harder to tolerate, but there’s also the risk of being mauled. The following is perhaps my favourite essay by Watergipridget, taken from the collection ‘Stuff and Nonsense’ and is entitled:
The Sins of Our Father’s… and Also Our Mothers (Unless They’re Adoptive Parents, in This Instance They’re Exempt).
When a woman falls pregnant, people are quick to congratulate both her and he who provided the semen. Strange that we feel this is worthy of congratulation, or any sort of praise. It’s a process mammals have gone through once or twice a year since they emerged, and many of them give birth to far more than one at a time and their mating rituals are often far simpler.
There are many acts of cruelty that humanity naturally abhors. Violence against others, injustice, theft, mental and/or sexual abuse to name a few. The righteous majority will often rise up against these and condemn them for the sins that they are. And yet, the birth of a child is celebrated. The miracle of birth it is often referred to. And what is a miracle? By definition, it is an extraordinary and much welcome event, one that is inexplicable and beyond the power of nature or science, it can only be explained by divine intervention. As I’ve already said, mammals have been giving birth and producing offspring thousands if not millions of years and scientists feel confident in being able to explain it. Having studied the literature, I feel they’ve constructed a convincing argument at the very least. Childbirth then, is not a miracle.
If anything, it is the opposite of a miracle. A veritable elcarim if you will. Pure disaster. A couple with child should not reveal the news with excitement to a loving family, rather they should beg forgiveness at confession. They shouldn’t be congratulated but scolded for their selfishness.
We, having lived enough of life to see the truth of it, know the hardship it brings. We know the torment that comes with each new day. We know the pain of existence and the unbearable length of it all. We know what it is like to wade waist-deep through the trials of each day, struggling against the overwhelming pull of the destructive current. We know what it is like to lay awake at night despite our exhaustion, feeling the dull ache of loneliness. We know what it is like to be burdened by our failures, to feel the sting of loss and succumb to the grip of fear.
In short, we know the pain of existence. It is a state of being that would be considered barbaric to inflict upon a criminal. Yet, without first gaining their consent, we push it upon our children without a second’s thought. There is, of course, no way of gaining consent, seeing as nothing exists before it is created. Before two have come together to jumble up a random mixture of their genes, good or bad (often ugly), there is no life to gain consent from. In other situations, we would decide to leave well alone, for we have no right to interfere with others who have not permitted it.
Yet, we deliberately bring children into the world. They know they have nothing to look forward too and as such are dragged into being literally kicking and screaming. They howl in anguish at the torment you have inflicted upon them. From an early age, they are aware of their mortality and ultimately, the futility of any action they take whilst they live. They are innately aware that happiness is a fickle and fleeting thing.
To bring a child into existence is an act of cruelty. With each passing year it becomes all the crueller as the world they’re destined to inherit becomes harder and more unforgiving. Resources dwindle, disease runs rampant, the environment changes and sea levels rise. Wars loom over every horizon because of our actions. Yet we bring children into being, we raise them, and we cast an arm out gesturing over the scarred and ruined landscape, the concrete jungles populated by bureaucracy, financial strife and isolation. We sweep our fingers over the poverty-stricken scene showing them all the woe their tiny minds can hold, and we say, “all of this is yours”.
Whatever we feel in life. They shall have worse. There’s a reason old folk are known for reminiscing about their day. It was always slightly better. All the way back to our mindless ancestors, scrambling around in the dirt, blissfully unaware of how ashamed they should feel. It all went downhill from there.
We’re more evolved than they were. Wiser, more intelligent some might say. If that is the case, why have we not decided to call it a day?
Some may say that this goes some way to explain why Watergipridget never had children of his own. Though there is evidence to suggest that he had dozens of illegitimate children running around the four corners of the globe (except the Americas). This he touched upon briefly in the essay Consistency is for Cowards, Hypocrisy for Heroes.