Odd title, isn’t it? Especially because I don’t have a kid. Why is this author on fine essay-writing site (well, it has serif fonts, so I guess it’s good) Medium telling me that my kid is an asshole? But I’m still drawn to the story, of course, because the title is so abrasive—hey, wait, this guy is calling children names! I want to agree or disagree with him!
But I’m not going to do that right now. I want to tell you a different story than the one the author told, using the same events, but looking at them in a different way. Interpreting this differently, I can make you a whole new story—one that tells you nothing about the child but everything about the author himself.
Let’s start off with some odd things that I noticed about Your Asshole Kid, the Essay.
- The author’s friend, Sarah, and her nemesis Becky are portrayed as complete opposites in character. However, these supposedly innate differences don’t seem to have affected the progress of their lives. Becky and Sarah have about the same levels of education, live in the same general area, and send their daughters to the same schools. Becky is described as having moved to some “godforsaken state or another, bought into a gated community in some Stepford subdivision full of soulless McMansions,” but she’s moved that the exact same godforsaken state that Sarah lives in. Sarah thinks of Becky as privileged because Becky doesn’t work outside the house.
- If the child Hannah is a monster, why is she invited to the party? The birthday girl wanted Hannah at the party, or the mother is willing to invite a kid over that both she and her kid despise, or the author is exaggerating the mom’s hatred of Hannah for story purposes.
- The author slaps several pop-psychology labels onto Becky, Becky’s husband, and Hannah. But he later says that he met the entire family once—long enough to shake the father’s hand and accept the mother’s apology. His entire image of this family is founded upon observing the kids, a lot of secondhand knowledge, and an encounter that lasted, at the most, five minutes.
Those aspects are all odd, but they’re just leading us to the real heart of the real story. Which is:
Why is this dude at a kid’s birthday party?
He makes no mention of a kid of his own, which is the usual reason why a guy would be attending a kid’s birthday party. He’s not related to Sarah, and he’s not hanging out with the parents while the kids are parked in front Space Bud Licks His Ass 2 because that’s the absolute only night he can be in town and visit his grownup friends. He’s riding herd on these little girls’ birthday parties, and he’s done it before. Why is he supervising these weeping, fighting, bratty little kids for his friend?
At first I assumed that the author was Sarah’s gay best friend, because he seems really into this lady in an emotional but nonsexual way. However, later on he mentions how girlfriends act, and he talks about beta males and boys’ breaking girls’ hearts, so while that doesn’t prove anything, because of this use of language I’m now reading him as heterosexual. So why is a heterosexual man hanging out with his female friend and her husband at their kid’s birthday party?
OK, here’s the real story. I’m about to reveal everything about Nils Parker to you.
The author is hopelessly in love with this girl Sarah, and she’s using him as a kind of Manny Poppins. Meanwhile, the author is displacing his anger onto some random chick and her husband. Maybe if Becky and bitches like her hadn’t messed Sarah up so bad, she’d be with him and they could be together forever on a tropical island with only the white people that they liked. Part of him also knows that Sarah isn’t the woman for him—one, she’s married, and two, he tells us that she’s witty and competent but her main conversation topics seem to be how much she hates children and this one bitch from high school and she can’t even deal with a crying child. So he displaces the selfish, unhappy attitudes that Sarah has onto Becky to keep his love pure and reasonable, and Becky’s husband is spineless because the author is really a spineless man in love with a suburban housefrau. But he can’t admit that to himself, so hey, Becky is the bad one and her kid is a brat. Hey, is Sarah’s kid getting in the way of your moldering fantasy? Move on, you’re whipped! Pussy.
Do you agree with me about the author’s problem? Are you nodding your head and thinking that now I am telling the truth? I’ve discovered the super-secret of the author’s life, and now he’s been cast down. He has his own problems, he’s weak like the rest of them. Now he’s the asshole.
The thing is, I don’t know anything about Nils Parker. Maybe he is gay, or maybe he is straight but just friends with Sarah, or maybe secretly Sarah and he are having an affair, or maybe Sarah and her husband and the author live happily together in a ménage. Or maybe his name is a pseudonym and he is really a woman or multiple people. Or maybe he is an asexual who lives in a cave and Sarah and Becky and Hannah are figments of his imagination. MAYBE HE LIVES ON THE MOON, YOU GUYS.
Or maybe none of this matters, because what I’m trying to do and what the author is trying to do is feed you a prepackaged narrative. The one thing I really know about Nils Parker is that Nils Parker is involved with two content companies. These companies provide people with services that will make their writing more marketable and appealing. I don’t know if these companies are successful either in drawing attention or making money, but they’re how Nils Parker chooses to define Nils Parker, so I’ll go with it.
Why would my narrative work or not work? Why does Parker’s story work? (And it does, because hey, I’m writing about it and you’re reading it.) What is so appealing about Parker’s images of these people he has hardly met? And how could Nils Parker turn this story into a business? What’s Nils Parker selling? What exactly is in a packaged story?
* This is an odd story “beat,” by the way—if I hadn’t read the title, I would have expected that the story would either be about Sarah changing her view of Becky and learning to be a “better” person or the introduction to a horror story about Becky that would show that yeah, Sarah was right all along, and all us readers could enjoy a five-minutes-hate of Becky the bitch. Instead, the focus of the hatefest shifts from a grown woman to a child. It’s really pretty creepy. I have to say that’s what unnerves me most, that I feel like this article is selling me something by telling me that a total stranger’s kids were a waste of sperm.