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“I believe the children are our future.

Teach them well and let them lead the way.

Show them all the beauty they possess inside.

Give them a sense of pride to make it easier.

Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be.”

From the song, “The Greatest Love of All”, by George Benson.

Last week I went out to dinner at a popular restaurant in Logan. I asked the hostess for a quiet table so that I could enjoy a stimulating conversation with my dinner companion. The hostess graciously placed us at a corner table away from people.

Within five minutes, two other hostesses came into the room and started putting together a group of tables close to us. In Utah, outside of a bar, that usually means

only one thing. And sure enough, a large family with a multitude of screaming toddlers came our way.

Not only was the table close to us, but a high chair was placed in a position where I could not exit from my seat. I immediately got up and charged to the front of the restaurant to voice my dismay in a way that can best be described as “Full Frontal Harry”. The two of us were moved to another table in an adjacent room.

Just once I want to go to a gathering place in Utah and not have a swarm of screaming kids swoop down on my location with the faint sound of Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” playing ominously in my head.

From my new seat, I could see the family that had used their bratty brood to mark my previous table like lions in the wilds of Africa. Even from my new distance I could see the family pass the kids from one to another like a bottle of cheap vodka at a campfire; and I could hear the precious little munchkins yelping in bored displeasure.

How could the adults enjoy their dinner when they could not take even a minute to eat without having to manhandle a toddler that possesses the dexterity of a harp seal? It is beyond me why adults insist on taking children to places where they will be bored—and when children get bored, everyone within 500 yards of them is in their “kill zone”.

This is Utah!

Utahns take their kids everywhere! After all these years I still need someone to explain to me why it is a necessity for people who live here to make sure their demonic offspring are always within shouting distance—and usually within screeching distance of my frayed ears!

I cannot just pin this on the Mormons—though they certainly set a lofty standard when it comes to treating their children like a ubiquitous appendage. Rednecks, aka Trump voters, also seem to believe that children are just so darn adorable that they must be anywhere and everywhere.

At least with Mormons, there is a religious context to why their shrill Satanic spawns are invading my safe space. One of the most popular Mormon mantras is “families can be together forever.” Too many of the LDS faithful consider that to be a literal statement.

I often see “Mormon-y” looking young couples bring young children to such unnecessary places as sporting events. The kids have no interest in the game. They are confined to an incredibly small area surrounded by strangers making noise. Their inevitable boredom results in their desire to be mobile…which affects not only the parents who can no longer concentrate on the game, but also those sitting around the slobbery little honey badgers whose drool is now precariously close to staining everyone’s newly-purchased team shirt.

Movie theaters? Really? The whole purpose of a movie is to sit quietly and allow others on the screen to tell a story. How does that work when you must appease a toddler fixated on running around?

These are just two examples. If my editor would allow me to have the 15,000 word minimum I have been fighting for, I could list other examples.

Mind you, this would be tolerable if this new breed of parent, whom I believe suffers from some bizarre form of separation anxiety, would exude even the slightest level of civility towards the other humans occupying their approximate space. Nope!

Younger people are so convinced that their progeny are just so fabtabulous that all who are close by should feel privileged to endure their snotty little imps scream their darling little heads off.

Allow me to say something highly controversial to all Utahns who do not put in a morsel of effort to prevent your kids from being a tyrannical horde of horrific hellions:

Your children are not special.

Redneck, intellectual, hipster or Mormon…it does not matter. When you are in a public place with other humans, you should make every effort to stifle your children and keep them in a space that does not intrude on others.

I know this is hard for you to grasp. From the day you gave your grating gremlins a stupid, non-sensical, hard-to-spell first name you have lived under a false entitlement. You have conditioned yourself to believe that the everlasting sheen that illuminates over your child like a halo in all Catholic renderings of the Virgin Mary is visible to everyone.

Wrong! When your malicious monster shrieks at an octave that would make Farinelli sound like Barry White, it is an assault to the senses. When you allow them free reign in a restaurant or movie theater you are emboldening them with a sociopathy that will get them their own episode of NBC’s “Dateline” before their 25th birthday.

Control your children. Teach them that high-pitched screeching has been out of style since Jamie Lee Curtis starred in “Halloween 2”. And when you go out to eat or see a film, procure the services of a babysitter.

I know most Utahns are cheap. I have scribed a column on that subject. But you can usually grab a sibling or a close friend to babysit for free. And then you can enjoy dinner, or a movie, or a game without the worry of appeasing a young child. Who knows? You may like a night out without your kids. I know I would.

By Staff