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Eight is MORE than enough

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-09-08


I’ve never watched Jon and Kate Plus Eight (the title alone sounds like something a restaurant host would hear in his worst nightmare) but I have to wonder if any old-school Catholics do. When I say, “old-school,” I’m talking about those folks in their 70s, 80s, and 90s who cranked out at least eight kids (sometimes more) and didn’t think that much about it. Certainly, they probably never dreamed that while they enjoyed their golden years, reality television would spotlight out-of-the-ordinary people and/or publicity hogs. Having a huge family will get you on television? Yep. Toss out that birth control folks, fame and fortune are just around the corner.

Well, except for a few things. First off, you should be white. Secondly, if you want a large brood, take fertility drugs. Having eight kids in 10 years is just so 1959. Thirdly, be photogenic, and lastly, write a book about it. If you’re African American (or some other minority), poor, overweight and can’t write a sentence to save your soul, you’re out of luck.

I don’t know when supersizing the American family became chic, but it’s wrong. I don’t mean “supersizing,” as in everyone in the family (including the five-year-old who practices witchcraft) weighs 300 pounds. You never see huge families (in number) anymore, except, of course, on television.

Years ago, you only had to look down the street. Usually these families were Catholic. One of my neighbors has ten sisters and brothers. Mayor Tom Henry has enough siblings to field a football team, plus a water boy and a few reserves for backup. Maybe this is mean, but nowadays, if I see a family with five kids all under the age of 10, my first thought is, “your poor mom.” My second thought is, “is this a fertility treatment on steroids, or do all these kids have the same father?”

I guess in this country, we’ve supersized everything else — food and drink portions, houses, airplanes, office buildings, malls, cars and ourselves. Which is probably why SUVs are so popular. The ad campaign those on Madison Avenue WANTED to put together probably got squashed by the Big Three. “The GMC Yukon: big enough for your fat ass and your fat ass kids.” Or how about this: “The Cadillac Escalade: Who needs a house when you’ve got one of these?!” I’m willing to bet very few of these oh-so-rugged vehicles have done any actual off-roading, particularly if you live within the city limits. Americans need to channel their inner rage somehow, I guess. So driving around the neighborhood in your Megamobile, fantasizing about crashing into your neighbor’s tacky yet cute lady bending over lawn sculpture helps relieve the stress of living in suburbia.

As for Jon and Kate and the thousands of families who opted to give birth to herds, not babies, I have to say this: please take care of your kids. As a bumper sticker once said, “If you can’t feed them, don’t breed them.” It’s hard to know what life will throw at you, but it’s pretty obvious if you work at Jiffy Lube and your wife is a stay-at-home mother, raising a family of twelve is going to be a bit nerve-wracking. If supersizing families continues, the phenomenon will be so common that no one will be getting a book or television deal. Unless, of course, the fertility drugs are contaminated somehow and your quadruplets turn out to be future Jim Rose Sideshow employees. Conjoined sextuplets? I already have the name for that show: “All Together Now,” or “Never Tear Us Apart.” Or maybe “The Six Pack.”

Oh, and if Octomom gave birth to all 14 of her kids at the same time, she would have had quattrodecaplets. Word.

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