“Won’t somebody think of the children!”
Despite being a comedy cartoon running for nearly thirty years, The Simpsons always seems to have a quote that you can use to poke fun at idiots in an ironic manner.
On May 22nd the people of Ireland will be asked to vote on whether or not gay couples should be allowed to get married. You’d think in a modern world such as the one we live in today this wouldn’t have even been a real question to put to the people. After all the Government can seemingly pass something into law at the drop of a hat when it inflicts pain, Universal Social Charge I am looking at you, but when they can do something to improve people’s lives it needs to go to a general vote.
Now I know that what I have just said is a generalisation really. Gay marriage no doubt requires some change in the constitution of the country for it to be legal, but come on it should be a no-brainer really.
The bit that I am going to have a little rant about here, because I haven’t had a right old rant in a while, is on the tactics and verbiage being used by the “Vote No” Camp.
People are entitled to their own views on things, that’s one of the joys of free thinking. The problem is that while you can have your opinion, you can’t force it down the throats of others.
Recently two of my friends, we shall call them DJ and ZZ-Top, were banned from a Facebook Group for engaging with the members on the Marriage Debate. Now DJ’s posts were actually well constructed, well presented and all round polite and civil. But he got banned.
ZZ-Top did make a Hitler reference, so the jury may go either way on that one
The problem is this group are firm members of the “No Camp”, as they are entitled to be, but they keep utter this same line over and over to justify their view: Children Deserve A Mother And A Father
This irks me. Not because I don’t agree that a child should have two parents. Not because I don’t think gay people should be allowed to marry (spoiler I’m voting in favour of that and trying to figure out a way of doing that more than once). This line ruffles my feathers because it’s insulting to my sister.
Let’s just get one things straight, the lil sister is in no way gay. She is, however, a mother to a wonderful little bundle of madness that I affectionally call Goblin. Goblin’s father ran running for the hills when faced with the responsibility that comes with having a child and my little sister stepped up to the plate with gusto. She has sacrificed and struggled and overcome and if you were to ever meet her and Goblin out on the street you wouldn’t be able to tell from the child’s smiles and chats that she only has a mother at home.
So how can the No-sayers shout out that line over and over, as if it is scientifically proven fact that a kid needs a mother and father in their life, when my sister and Goblin are living proof that that just isn’t the case.
A child deserves a caring family unit. It doesn’t matter if said unit is the biological parents, the grandparents, the neighbour down the road who adopted the child after tragedy struck. For the No Camp to just use this as blanket justification for backing a stupid (in my opinion) argument is annoying to every child out their in a loving home without the nucleus that Bible Bashers seem to think is the be all and end all.
People like this can sometimes be seen as hypocrites I always think. On one hand they will stand on their soap boxes and shout at people in sand cover countries, berating them for blindly following the words of a Holy Book that says go and do this, yet on the other hand they blindly follow the words in their own Holy Book. Pot? It’s Kettle, you’re darkly coloured.
Gay couples shouldn’t have to fight for the right to be able to get married. They should just be allowed to regardless. If you don’t like gay marriage there is a simple solution: don’t marry a gay person. It’s not like suddenly every gay couple is going to run out and get wed. There are bound to be couples happy to live together forever without a big ceremony, they just want to have the option is all.
The hilarious thing is that gay couples will be allowed to adopt children legally in Ireland before the votes begin on May 22nd. So the entire argument from the No Camp on why you should vote No is a moot point because regardless of whether the vote passes or not gay couples will be able to adopt children anyway and provide them with a loving home, which is exactly what children deserve.
This is sadly one of those posts that sucks to write. Not because it is something that shouldn't be written, but because the topic is one that nobody should ever have to write about.
Over the weekend there was a death on the lady friend's side of the family. Her godmother, a woman who is like a second mother to her, lost her eldest son. This in itself would be a tragedy, for a parent to outlive one of their children, but this little lad was only eleven years of age.
Which makes this one of those situations that nobody can understand. How such a thing can happen in the world. Worse how can you even begin to imagine what his parents are going through. You simply can't. Even if you have gone through it yourself such a personal loss is individual to every person that has had to suffer it.
But this post isn't about all that, it is about the boy himself. It is about Stephen McElroy.
I've known him for a little less time than I have been with the lady friend. One of the "boyfriend" tests was to see if her youngest cousins liked me. After I helped him to put her shoes on the roof of his home, so that she was unable to get them back down, I passed with flying colours.
Much to her disappointment.
He was a brat, but the right kind of brat. I remember him sitting at the top of my table in our apartment eating his white pudding and chip dinner that I had to throw together for him because I didn't know I was making him dinner. Munching on the food and telling me he knew it wasn't really sausage. Then demanding more coke with that pleading grin all seven year olds have.
He was cheeky, but the right sort of cheeky. Knowing full well that not only do I have no interest in football but also no skills at the game at all he would run around me showing off his mad skills. Skills that he bloody well shouldn't have had at his age. Then laughing at me as I failed to kick a ball in a straight line.
He was a devil, but the right sort of devil. You could get him onside for a prank sooner than you can blink. More so if said prank involved him and me getting one over on the lady friend.
He was all of these things and more. He was an older brother to Ryan and it was the right kind of brother. The one that had time for his younger sibling, even if it wasn't cool. Over the years you could see the whispers of the man he would become. Styling his hair with the gel to the point that it was uncool for mammy to try and fix one strand of it. Then asking if it looked like mine.
As if my ginger mop is something to aspire to.
He was bright and he was caring and in no short way he was taken from the world far too early.
The curse of The Soup can also be a benefit sometimes. While I will forever remember these last few days I can also recall his big grin as the pair of us raced against each other on the Kinect. Only for him to win because I am way too old to race an eleven year old.
My take on what happens after we shuffle off this mortal coil is a bit against the doctrine of my faith, but I remember hearing a nice idea about stars. I was told, when I was younger, that the stars were actually the souls of people who had died and the night sky was just a black cloth that covered the world. Each person who died pierced the cloth and became another star watching down on everyone. I'd like to think that Stephen is the brightest star shining in the sky tonight.
Stephen may you rest in peace. I've no doubt wherever you are now you are being awesome. You will be missed.
I know my last post was a fair few weeks ago. I know that in it I swore I was going to get back into spewing nonsense from my brain up on the Internet for nobody to read. I mean let's face it who really keeps a blog anymore. The world has become a place where information needs to be instant and bitesize. If you can't say it in less than one hundred and forty characters people don't seem to want to read it.
I should be ranting/blogging more because that is what a writer should do. It's how they get word of their up and coming projects out to people. So really I should be doing it more regardless of whether it actually gets read or not. But this time at least I have a valid reason for not keeping my promise from the previous post.
Now most people that read this are going to go "God damnit, I already knew that!" but I don't care. Yes it has been on Facebook, there was a post on Twitter, we even sent around the odd email with some photos. But at the end of the day I wasn't going to trust myself to not say something before it was superstiously correct to say it. At this stage though the cat is well and truly out of the bag. More to the point the results are in and all systems are go.
The lady friend and myelf are expecting.
Well, biologically speaking, she is expecting. I am expecting her to expect.
But yes there will be a little jester coming into the world in the very near future. For now we have affectionatly named them "Nugget". Most folks seem to go with bump or baby. I once heard the term of endearment "Woops" used. All those names aside myself and the lady friend settled on Nugget after we stayed in a hotel and our room was called "The Nugget". We felt it was fitting and will most likely become the child's nickname.
At least if I have anything to do with it it will.
This is one of those strange milestones in life I always think. Not everyone aims to have a kid, or multiple ones. Some people just don't want them and that is fine and dandy, it is their choice in life and nobody should judge. Some people want them but can't have them the traditional way, this is sad but there are always ways and means I suppose. Some people have them and never planned on them and either step up to the plate like champions or do a dreadful job and raise amazing people by accident. Whatever the person the reason I call it a strange milestone is because not everyone in the world hits it. It isn't like buying a house or getting a job or growing to a given age. You can almost choose to hit this one or miss it entirely because you had no interest in it.
I always figured it would be a milestone I'd like to hit, but with the right person there beside me. The lady friend is most certainly the right person to have hit this milestone with. And while it is amazingly exciting news and something insane great to look forward to there is that little voice in the back of my mind that says crazy things.
Not crazy things about having a baby. I think that voice was strangled to death the second the lady friend showed me the positive test before Christmas and I lost all interest with what presents were wrapped under the tree. No it is a voice that says: what if you aren't up to the job.
I like kids, it's adults that are tricky. Kids are simple. They want fun and games and a person to care about the things they find interesting...like a bent blade of grass they have only seen once before. But you have to be a parent. I have to be a parent. The voice isn't doubt it is concern. Concern that I step up to the plate like others before me. That I haven't picked up the bad habits of my own folks (not that they had any of course if either of them is reading this ).
But then a friend told me recently a very clever line to help strangle that concerned voice in my head. Don't be thinking you took the bad bits from your parents, she said. It's more likely you took all the good lessons from them to end up how you did.
I know she had a really lovely point there but given I am obviously insane I am not sure if it wasn't a veiled insult .
But that is the big and amazing news story from me. I am going to be a Daddy to a Nugget that will be equal parts crazy (from me) and brilliant (from the lady friend).
Interesting times ahead.
Plus, now that I have lifted the embargo from myself I really will try and post a bit more regularly. So be back here in three months or so .