I smell a racket.
I smell a big, bad, quintessentially unsurmountable, RACKET. An apotheose in the pantheon of rackets.
After planning my wedding(s) –the quickie one and the bigger party one– I honestly thought that weddings were the only true racket (i.e. llegal enterprise carried on for profit) that most people who carry on an average and “normal” existence would ever come across. Granted, extortion, fraud, and prostitution are also carried out by “normal” and everyday folks, but not always. Most people try to stay away from criminal or fraudulent activities, which is why a wedding is the first time that most people –thanks in part to the sedation of their happiness– deal with being strong-armed into all sorts of horrible and expensive decisions. A wedding, averaging in today’s weakened American Dollar a staggering $20,000, is a racket.
Would you like to purchase a white dress? Well, you can…. but if you want it in certain materials (duchesse satin, anyone?) or custom-made, you’d better be willing and able to pay two to three times more for it, simply because it’s white.
Would you like a cake? Of course…. then again, if this is to be a wedding cake, be ready to pay extra for certain frostings, delivery charges (not all bakeries do this), flower charges, and preparations for the cake to be ready for wedding consumption. And don’t forget the extra piece for when you are ready to eat it, a year later…. when it’s petrified and dessicated and disgusting, of course!
How about pictures? There are extra charges for everything. I could go on, but I am truly itching to jump right into the latest racket.
It’s called “parenthood”. Now mind you, I don’t think it fits under the normal “racket” category: you are really not required to buy your child expensive car seats or prams (stroooollers) which they’ll outgrow in the blink of an eye. And certainly you do not have to buy play pens or special diaper bins or bouncy chairs or changing tables; no need for diaper bags; ten thousand mobiles are not necessary– nor one. And you certainly do not need cute clothes and complete Gymboree or Baby Ralph Lauren or Baby Dior outfits. And you do not need a dream nursery in pastel shades, decorated with some cute character.
But it will cost you in the long run if you don’t get any of it.
And I don’t just mean money, considering that you’ll be saving some.
You will be paying in guilt. You BAD parent, you! Of course the baby needs more layette than Imelda Marcos had shoes. And of course a newborn (who cannot see in colors other than white, black and red) needs a color-coordinated room, complete with hand-painted furniture. And of course the baby needs a $2000 pram that is neither practical nor collapsible –because every celebrity parent has gotten one for their offspring (I’ll grant it’s cute, however). Then again, if we were bound to give our children everything celebrities give to theirs, we’d be stuck with children named after fruits, musical instruments (banjo? for the love of something holy….), and Roman Emperors. Not to mention the names that mean abso-parental-lutely nothing, of course.
And just so you don’t think I have my head in the clouds (or in a more painful, less flattering place), we will be biting the bullet for a decent car seat and stroller. It just won’t be the Silver Cross Balmoral pram. Unless Oprah wants to give it to us, of course. Of course.