"WARNING: You must install cord-stops before using blinds. Window blind cords can strangle infants & toddlers."

My best friend recently returned from working a job on the inaugural cruise of the largest cruise ship in the world.

The first night of the cruise, there was a huge gala to celebrate the pinnacle in ocean-bound hedonism. It was a very formal affair, black tie required. I've seen pictures of this event. The opulence of this ship is more than I can describe in brevity. Suffice it to say the Titanic ain't got nuttin' on this ship.

During the course of the meal, several small children began to misbehave. Usually, screaming was involved on the part of the ragamuffins. My friend tells me that instead of being polite and removing the children from the restaurant, their parents would either begin screaming in return, or try to shovel food in the mouths of babes.

Understandably, the pleasure of fine dining was somewhat diminished by these events. Oddly, though, no one thought to say something to the parents.

A conversation arose amongst my friend and his dining companions regarding whether or not it would be considered polite to get up and ask the parents to excuse themselves and their children from the restaurant in order to administer a bit of discipline.

I was stunned to hear that the majority thought that such a request would be considered rude, an attempt to interfere in the "art" of parenting.

My friend, too, was incensed. Rather, he thought, it was extremely impolite of the parents to interfere in the dining experience of the other guests, who had all paid a good bit of money to attend the event.

Most of the people present at my friend's table excused both the parents and the children in question, essentially telling my friend that since he was gay, he'd never really understand what it would be like to be a parent. Thus, he shouldn't dare to presume to offer instruction to them.

My friend promptly removed himself from the gathering.

This kind of breeder's superiority is evidenced everywhere, as the opening sentence of this node indicates. I recently purchased some new window blinds and found four stickers with that warning plastered on the box. When asked if the cord-stops were necessary for the blinds to function correctly, a clerk at the store replied, "Well, you don't want your children to choke, do you?".

First of all, I don't have children. Children don't come to my house. The intent of my question was one of functionality, not parenting. Did the clerk know? No! He simply could not get his brain wrapped around the idea that one would not want to install these cord-drops, and somehow felt smug about not knowing the answer to my question. After all, installing the cord-drops is good for the children. Non-existent children, in my case. The clerk finally threw up his hands in exasperation saying, "Do whatever you want, I don't care."

I bet he says that to his kids, too.

I have a large callous on my thumb from buying Bic lighters that are childproofed. I don't even have the option of purchasing one that's not handicapped in this fashion.

A single female friend of mine recently came to blows with her best female friend because my friend presumed to say something about the way her friend's teenaged son was treating his mother in public.

Many heterosexuals assume as a matter of course that homosexuals are incapable of parental instincts and/or are somehow sterile.

I apologize if I'm missing something here, but I don't believe that the ability to procreate should confer any sense of entitlement or privilege or superiority to the procreators or their progeny. And yet this sense seems to be more deeply ingrained in American society than when I was a child. If I behaved badly in a public place, I would be removed to the car for a swat across the bottom. My parents wouldn't have dreamed of letting me misbehave in front of others without good cause (and not liking the food served is not good cause, folks).

This corporal punishment in no way made me feel abused. It didn't make me a bad person who beats others. It taught me good manners and respect for my parents. It's not like I didn't know I was misbehaving after all.

People who breed are in no way superior to those who choose not to or are incapable of doing so. It is the height of discourtesy for people who feel they are superior to allow their children to misbehave during any public gathering. I do not spend money to go to a nice restaurant or movie theater or baseball game to be subjected to the screaming, snot and food flinging tantrums of children whose parents don't know how to take care of the situation.

To paraphrase Keanu Reeves in "Parenthood" --

"You know, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car -- hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a parent."