Scared celibate by bad behavior of children

“Scared Straight.” Are you old enough to remember the 1978 film narrated by Peter Falk of “Columbo” fame? It featured a group of juvenile delinquents transported to Rahway State Prison to spend three hours listening to a group of “lifers” mock and shock them in an attempt to “scare them straight.”
An interesting side note: the Academy Award-winning documentary was the first time the word s–t and the F-bomb were heard on many television networks, the very crookedness of which, no doubt, scared many viewers straight from their previous off-road cursing and off-color remarks.
Unfortunately, subsequent research determined that such scare tactics, while colorful and delightfully dramatic, carry little deterrent weight. In this case, the documentary aimed to curb delinquent behavior actually achieved somewhat of a cult following, with drinking games and copy cat delinquency traceable to the inmate testimonies.
What’s not to want to spoof about a well-meaning, take-itself-far-too-seriously movie that uses an arsonist and bomb builder, a gang member, a chop-shop parts dealer, a car thief and the son of a Mafia informant to deliver a moralistic message? The final scene is somewhat of an altar call, with the juvenile delinquents seeing the light and (at least verbally) abandoning their wayward ways in favor of more cleancut living.
Uh huh. Happens all the time. False conversions, anyway. Unfortunately, the movie overlooks two large thinking errors common among many criminals and criminal wannabes: 1. Criminals are OTHER people who commit crimes, but not me; and 2. A criminal is someone stupid enough to get caught. If I haven’t yet been caught, technically, I’m not a criminal.
This erroneous thinking is so prevalent, one of the juvenile delinquents in the original “Scared Straight” committed more crimes after the movie was broadcast, allegedly including a 1982 rape and murder of a neighbor, but nevertheless went on to portray himself (with a seemingly clear conscience) as a success story in “Scared Straight: 20 Years Later” This, of course, was prior to his getting busted on DNA evidence years later.
In this case, the thinking error was the rapist/killer actually believed he was above the law. Either that or the ever popular, “It will never happen to me,” which brings me to the actual point I started writing to make: things do happen to people, whether they are deserving of them. That’s what makes my own spoof of “Scared Straight” so relevant: it really could happen to you.
What am I talking about? The documentary I want to film is called “Scared Celibate.” It centers around nice couples of child-bearing age being so traumatized by the overbearing and objectionable behavior of existing children and parents that they not only opt out of becoming parents, but mostly likely forego all sexual relations, as well, just to err on the safe side, abstinence being the most reliable form of birth control.
We’ve all met children whose abominable behavior casts reproduction in a bad light. Sometimes they’re our own. That’s why it’s good I had my two children in rapid succession, before I knew better. If we all waited long enough to see if it were a good idea, American would have a de facto single child policy.
There’s nothing more libido-limiting than a visit to the Laundromat, which doubles as a Jungle Gym for families without suitable banisters or ceiling fans for their children to swing from at home. There’s also romance ruination via restaurant reactivity, socially unacceptable situations where children publicly attempt to ruin others’ dining, forcing parents to lion-tame them with a wooden booster chair and sippy cup straw whip.
And certainly, anyone who grocery shops has witnessed the DNA-diminishing effect of seeing really bad (and there is such a thing!) children and parents whose interactions and misconduct would have been enough to keep Glenn Miller’s 1939 “In the Mood” sentiment permanently off the Billboard charts and out of bedrooms.
A wonderful foreign advertisement captured on YouTube, shows a toddler terrorizing scores of shoppers while a frazzled parent forages for groceries. The end message is “you should have used a condom.” Isn’t truth in advertising a beautiful thing? Cheaper and much more satisfying than being scared celibate.

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