Monday, September 14, 2015


True story #1: When I was very young -- like seven years old -- I excitedly ran into the kitchen to tell my mother and brother what I just saw on the news: "Somebody filmed a helicopter as it was spinning out of control and crashed on the ground. But someone inside the helicopter had a movie camera going, and you could see what it was like from there, too!" While I knew I should have empathy for the victims, I showed none whatsoever.

True story #2: Around the same age, I went around the house conducting a survey among my family: "Would you rather be shot, stabbed, hung or electrocuted?" Their identical responses -- wide-eyed, silent astonishment -- wasn't one of the choices I offered.

Question to the audience: Was I just a kid with unusual interests, or were these signs of psychopathic behavior? Researchers in Great Britain might have the answer:

"Who you callin' cute, asshole?"
In other words, parents now can say, "Hey, it ain't my fault my kid stuck your cat's tail in the electric outlet," and mean it. And the great thing is, you can spot what are called callous-unemotional (or CU) traits in kids as young as five weeks. 

Five weeks counts as barely-used. That easily gives you the right to exchange the kid for a new one. 

But how does an anxious parent find out if their precious darling is a junior Manson without having him listen to "Helter Skelter"?

I prefer to watch old B-movies than look at most human faces I encounter during a typical day. I should've been locked up years ago.

Luckily, parents with kids who stare at balls still have a chance:

Memo to cops: beware the baby with a 5:00 shadow.
So all a good mother has to do is act like, er, a good mother? Where would be without researchers to explain the secrets of parenting? 

As one of them explained,  "We coach the parents how to be very warm, involved and loving with them to see if that reduces those callous traits over time.”

I'm not a researcher, but I think I can safely say that if you have to coach a parent to be warm, involved and loving, then you might as well try to coach Hillary Clinton how to be warm, spontaneous and funny. Oh wait, that's what her advisers are doing. I guess parents have a chance after all.

As far as I'm concerned, new parents don't have to drop off their kid at the lab to see if he's another Richard Speck. I've compiled a list of telltale signs to let you know if opening a 529 is waste of time. Just circle all that apply to your baby:

Soils himself on a regular basis.
Mumbles gibberish.
Often cries for no goddamn good reason.
Takes toys away from others without permission.
Demands constant attention.
Often refuses to eat healthy food.
Appears to play one parent against the other in his preferences.
Never does what you want him to do.
Thinks the Muppets are real.

If you circled at least eight of these signs, you might as well call the cops now. Because if those don't qualify as proof of psychopathic behavior, I don't know what does.

So would you rather be shot, stabbed, hung or electrocuted?


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