Along with childhood obesity, teenage ennui and the English riots of 2011, the failure of all young people this summer not to achieve 100% in all their exam results can all be levelled at the doors of their wayward parents who clearly have not suffered long enough or hard enough in order to get their offspring to meet the highest GCSE grades that our pristine education system prides itself on.
If you haven’t made the grade and have ended up in a university you never wanted to attend in a city you’ve never heard of – don’t worry, it’s clearly your parents fault, the fault of the parents of those poor misguided examiners who set the exams in the first place and ultimately the fault of Michael Gove’s parents for producing a human being whose educational mission is driven by important 21st century values of tradition, servitude and deference to the great and the good of the past – and their parents too of course.
Your parents are also no doubt are also suffering from their parents’ wilful mistakes in bringing them up, so it’s no wonder we’re all going to hell in a handcart with no more than 2 grade U’s and a cycling proficiency test between us all.
It’s tough being a parent these days. Not only are you responsible for your offsprings choice of teenage rebellion, you have to bear the brunt of their inability to dress properly, listen to the right music, buy the right newspaper, vote for the right party and do as the media instructs.
This summer though, instead of beating yourself about your parental breast about why your nearest and dearest have failed yet again to find the holy grail of true perfection, why not just set a torch to those newspapers, throw those parent manuals on the funeral pyre of parental disappointments and wave your offspring a cheery farewell as they sail into their freshers week, their gap year or their close encounters of the wierdest kind down at the job centre?
They won’t thank you for it – indeed, they’ll take great delight in blaming you for it when the going gets tough – but you can sleep peacefully knowing you never did your best because of your own parents inabilities to bring you up as an upstanding model citizen.
As Philip Larkin put it:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.