Highly anticipated video game Grand Theft Auto V was released last Tuesday; it earned $1 billion in sales in three days, making it perhaps the fastest-selling entertainment product in human history.
Grand Theft Auto V will undoubtedly be hailed by some as a masterwork of game design, conception and execution. It’s also undoubtedly one of the grittiest, most casually violent and morally ambivalent games ever to earn the Entertainment Software Ratings Board’s “M for Mature” advisory. While the ESRB’s attempts to legally restrict the sale of games based on content have failed thus far, many, many retailers have voluntary policies on the books, and will not sell an “M”-rated game like Grand Theft Auto V to anyone under 17.
Which means fuck-all if some cretinous parent wants to buy it and use it as a babysitter for their 10-year-old.
On Monday, gaming site Kotaku.com published an essay by an unnamed video game retail worker titled “I Sold Too Many Copies of GTA V to Parents Who Didn’t Give a Damn.” In it, the anonymous author writes about being worn down by selling so many copies of GTA V — and other “M”-rated titles — to parents who are obviously buying the game for kids “who could barely see over my counter,” despite the clerk’s attempts to sway them without pissing them off.
Apparently, it’s time for another brief discussion about parenting.
This one’s not for all the incompetent dads and moms out there who already have kids, and who think it’s perfectly all right for their prepubescent miracle to while away his or her days virtually shooting, stealing and screwing, long before they have any perspective on anything. Those dads and moms are already doing damage, and what will be, will be. Of course, not all of those kids are gonna turn out to be murderous sociopaths, but that’s kind of beside the point — a kid becoming a rational, responsible adult despite the parents’ best attempts at ruination is the kid’s victory, not the parents’.
Nope, this one’s for everyone who is considering becoming a parent, and wondering if they’re up to the task. For them, I have one question:
Does your dog poop in the house?*
Everything you need to know about your potential as a parent is, seriously, in the answer to that question: If your dog shits in the house, you should not be having children.
We’re talking about a normal, healthy, ambulatory adult dog here; everybody’s puppy or dog drops a runny mess on the rug every once in a while, because of illness or the wrong food or whatever. But if your normal, healthy, ambulatory adult dog craps in your house on the regular, it’s because you didn’t or don’t have the time, patience, inclination or brains to teach an animal not to shit in the house.
And you think you can take care of a helpless little human being? Turn it into a helpful adult-sized human being? Teach it not only to not poop all over itself, but also to eat, to love, to empathize, to understand it shares the universe with countless others, each no more or less important than itself?
Don’t kid yourself (ahem!), and don’t gift the world with the eventual burden of your inability to raise a person who can tell the difference between reality and, say, the world of Grand Theft Auto V.
Teach your dog not to shit in the house. Then we’ll talk.
*If you don’t have a dog, you shouldn’t even be thinking about having kids. Because everybody knows the only reason to have kids is to provide your dogs something with which to play.