Sunday, December 19, 2010
Estimated Market Price of a Rental Baby in Johannesburg
Is three dollars per day, according to the Harper's Index in the Jan.2011 issue.
Who rents these babies, you ask? Why, panhandlers, of course! Who else would you rent your defenseless baby to? It makes perfect sense--the panhandlers rent these babies to increase their daily wages by preying on sympathetic strangers and I guess the cost outweighs the benefit or there wouldn't be a market for it.
I also guess that for the most part these babies are returned unharmed or there wouldn't be a steady supply of babies, although that is just a guess. For all I know, the odds are 50/50 and the parents' desire to have the child/burden back is 50/50.
What sort of person rents out their baby to a panhandler in Johannesburg for the day? Is this person so desperate that they don't have any other choice and have thrown caution to the wind in the hopes of mere survival? Is it easier to let your baby do the work while you chill at home eating a $3 package of protein-enriched (hopefully) bonbons?
Or is this proof of yet another impending global movement backward--engineered by a bitter father named Karl Rove, most likely--where the babysitter pays the parent/s and the baby gets exactly the kind of crash-course in life he will need to survive, the Right gets an unregulated, cheap supply of labor/altar-boys, and everybody's too tired and malnourished to mount an effective rebellion?
Or is this baby rental thing all about the economy and I'm an idiot? Is this bonus baby-rental money allowing the impoverished parent/s of these children the luxury of purchasing a carton of "so cool" American cigarettes every week and it's so good for the American economy that all the rich people and their duped grassroots puppets will shoot you in the face with their concealed weapons if you try to be all communist and poke a hole in what is a mostly sorta-fine scheme they have going on? Well, if you discount the visceral discomfort experienced every waking moment by every single baby involved, that is--especially by those poor souls that never make it back to the rental house.
You know what? I should probably stop talking about it right now, lest I be branded un-American by the uneducated. I can't:
Will these poor children grow up at a record clip? What sort of indignities will they witness while lying on the sidewalk, teething on dirty broken beer bottles and used condoms, covering themselves in their own filth, occasionally getting yelled at by their smelly drunken homeless master, on whom his/her survival depends? What manner of squalor will they one day consider luxurious by comparison to their daily existence?
Or maybe I'm just looking at the dark side of the issue. Maybe there's a brighter one that totally redeems the concept:
Hey--no risk, no reward, right? Best they learn that as early as possible, get a jump on the path to riches as soon as they can suck their own air into their lungs. Tiger Woods started golfing before he was two, right? Same thing.
Watch this video and you'll know what I'm talking about:
Tiger risked everything by wasting his entire youth training himself to excel at golf--What if it didn't work? What if he had become an infamous choke-artist or an obsessed weekend warrior with no life and no money?--and won fame and fortune. That's what victory smells like, America. Worry not about other trifles and bring home enough green to pay fetish hookers until you die from diabetes or a bullet to the brain.
Emulate it, children of Johannesburg/Earth; emulate it. Yes, there is a good chance you will get molested by a smelly stranger eight hours a day while you slowly starve to death because your guardian rented you out to a deranged pedophile who scraped together three dollars by guzzling off-brand pints of gin for a couple weeks, but the chance for greatness is worth the risk. After all, the world needs lottery winners, too; might as well be you.
Will these rental babies grow up to be Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby, Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver, or Drew Barrymore in real life? It's very possible, maybe even likely. But it's also possible that they grow up to be Henry Miller, Carole Eastman, Anais Nin, or Charles Bukowski.
I suppose only time will tell and their loving parents know best. Think happy thoughts as you enjoy the shelter of your comfortable home and the rental babies of the world return from a hard day of work, light a glass pipe by the burning trash can outside their overcrowded shanty, and wonder if they will live to see another day in this crazy world.