Don't Ever Ask Anyone If Their Kid Is Retarded

don't ask kid retarded

Oh Happy Day!

There are certain things you are never, ever allowed to ask people.

The main one is, of course, in regards to a woman’s pregnant or non-pregnant condition.  You cannot ask a woman if she is pregnant unless there is an actual baby shooting out of her crotch right in front of you.

You’re skating on thin ice if you even ask a woman if another woman is pregnant.

That one goes like this:

Man:  “Is Joanie pregnant?”

Woman:  “Do you think I’m fat?”

Man:  “No, I was asking if Joanie is expecting.  Not you.”

Woman:  “Well, you obviously think Joanie’s fat.  Do you think I’m fat?

Asking someone whether or not you’re fat is another one.  Two reasons:  one, you will never get an honest answer and two, if you do, you won’t like it.

If you think you’re fat, you probably are.  Unless you’re anorexic, of course.  Best to ask a friend whether you’re fat or not.  She or he will tell you the truth.

Today’s topic, however, is one that I had never thought of simply because I had never thought to ask the question.  Give it up to Barbara, whose ability to ask the right questions and get tons more juicy information out of people, like photos of closet skeletons going down on closet zombies, has always been minutes or even hours ahead of mine.

Barbara gets people to talk. 

Sometimes they won’t shut up.  Sometimes they are lesbians, but hey, what are you going to do?  And if the CIA had hired Barbara at the beginning of the Afghanistani/Gulf War conflict, then they could have saved a shitload of money on Gitmo.

So this is probably her one mistake in the interrogation department.  It’s also my last piece of advice for the day:

Don’t Ever Ask Anyone If Their Kid Is Retarded

Here’s what happened:

Barbara and a friend have been taking their babies to swimming classes.  I now have an 8 1/2 x 11 portrait of Teo underwater, looking cute.  He could have been on the Nirvana album cover for Nevermind, except somehow someone has managed to obscure my son’s penis.

So there they are one day, drying off in the locker room, and a woman whom they have been speaking to since they started back in September is there, with her child, who, to Barbara and her friend at least, is most obviously a Down’s Syndrome child.

Because everyone is naked and breastfeeding, and has been talking about crotch massages and the birth and stretch marks and needles and shit, I suppose Barbara felt comfortable being open with this woman.  I don’t know.  I wish I had been there (hey, free naked boobies), but I wasn’t.

“So, if you don’t mind my asking, when did you get the diagnosis?” Barbara asks.

The woman looks up from her nursing child.

“What diagnosis?” she says.

A long moment of silence.

How do you respond to that?  What did Barbara say?  I have no idea.  I told you I wasn’t there.  I can only assume that it’s something along the lines of “Homina Homina Homina.”

Which is why you never ask a question about that.  If a kid walks in looking like the Elephant Man, you do not ask.  You just grin and pretend that kid looks fucking awesome.

Which is what you should do anyway, of course, because retarded kids are people, too.

Sincerely Yours

Wag the Dad

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  1. Holy shit, I felt like I was right there in the changing room with a naked vaginas & milky boobs & the Mongol kid. Tell Barbara that I would have said something like that too. I have chronic foot in mouth disease.

    I asked my friends sister when her baby’s due. Not even pregnant. Just a bit chubby.Fuck my life. We were standing in a department store & I willed the floor to swallow me whole. Turns out later that day, friends sister peed on a stick & muthafucking HELLO, pregnant with twins. I’m spooky like that.

    I inseminated her with my mind powers. Inseminated? Whatevs.

  2. Holy. Shit. Balls.

  3. Yup. That is what you do. However, staying silent for x number of years until the diagnosis comes down (cause I bet your Barbara is pretty smart) might gyp that baby out of some early services. Awkward? Hell yeah – but maybe positive?

    • Why am I hearing that awkward, awkward silence all the way in Chicago????

      • I heard it here in Colorado too.

        • Yup. You betcha. Thing is, Barbara is not in ANY WAY (I assume everybody understands this) all about “fuck those mongoloid idiot bastards,” it was just ONE OF THOSE SITUATIONS where you feel comfortable talking to people because you’ve been hanging out with them for weeks and weeks and you know, you just kind of think maybe this person needs to open up?

          I don’t understand it. Some dude could show up with a a penis grafted to his forehead and the most I would do would be to ask him if he wants some coffee.

          I’m quite the pussy in real life.

  4. In a previous life I was a teacher, a kindergarten teacher to be exact. This was back in the 80′s when preschool wasn’t widely attended and kids weren’t prescreened like they are now. I had the unpleasant task of informing a small number of parents that their kids were outside the “norm.” Not. Fun.

  5. So wait – was the kid retarted or not?

    Not that it matters, but let’s be honest: Down Syndromed kids have a *very* distinct look.

    Instead of outright asking, I am much more subtle in my information-finding approach. And by subtle, I mean rude.

    I stare. And stare. And look away. And stare again. This is genius. Why? Because one of two things will happen: either the mother/father/accompanying adult will say something along the lines of “It’s rude to stare at kids with disabilities”, (thus giving me my answer), or they’ll quickly walk/run in the other direction with their kid. When this happens, it’s time to accept that you’re not going to find out the answer and move on to the next disabled-looking child.

    Because God knows there’s a lot of them.

    • Yes. This kid has a *very* distinct look. Barbara’s friend has confirmed this. They don’t give a shit either way. To qualify that: they care, and they felt like maybe they could get to know the woman better by letting her know that they are cool with the shit, and obviously it backfired.

      I dunno. My best friend in high school had a handicapped sister. We never really talked openly about it, but I got the feeling that staring is the lesser of the two evils. There are enough people who say shit as well.

  6. Yeah, that reminds me of the time I made a similarly moronic assumption … and, unlike, Barbara the even more moronic decision I made to not only hint at it, but to actually say it out loud, point blank. The single most embarrassing moment of my life. (It’s here, if you’re interested.)

  7. Oh. My. GOD. My stomach is turning just thinking about that. Barbara and I would be a great Foot In Mouth Team. We could catch each other’s slips with “what she meant to say was…”

    I need someone like that because my gaffes are frequent and bad, but my attempts at recovery are worse.

    I would have said something like “oh no I just thought your baby’s retarded but I guess he just looks retarded but is just ugly but no its .. no its not him its me.. I just, I like retarded babies.. I mean I..”. My attempts at recovery are retarded.

    • Yeah. This is like the first time I have heard about Barbara having to insert her foot in her mouth. So therefore I posted about it. No. Really. She has said some things where I am all “WTF?!?!?” and then she’s all, “No, they were totally cool. See? They gave me their bank account numbers!”

      Shit like that.

  8. Yeah, I’m with Maria on the distinct look. But I would never ask. Not even hint at it. Because I just am not good at knowing how to act around disabled kids/people. I want to just act like everything is normal and I usually do, because really, they are normal kids, they just have some limitations. And who doesn’t in some way, right? But there are also things that need to be taken into consideration. Sometimes speach issues. Sometimes issues with loud noises or kids who don’t want to be touched. And you have to respect that, so you also kind of have to know. I always wait for cues from the parents, though. If there is something I need to know on how to interact with their child, I would expect them to tell me. I don’t think it was rude of Barbara, though. I think the mother was either being dense, wanted Barbara to come right out and ask it, or has her head in the sand about her child’s condition. I’m curious as to what happened after the mom was like “huh?” Did Barb just run away?

    • She didn’t run away. There was just this long silence and then somebody probably said “So…you want to engage in mutual oral sex?” or “Let’s go get a sandwich,” or something normal like that.

      I can only assume. The woman still swims / nurses / gets naked in front of them, and talks about normal shit with them, so obviously she’s not peeved.

  9. Such wise advise, my friend. When I was in college I worked with the 4 year old class in a daycare. There was one boy in the class that obviously had a minimum of Asperger’s, if not full on Autism. The signs were all there: he barely spoke, would never look you in the eye, severely behind in development, etc. I remember sitting down with the Mom and the daycare director to talk to her about the situation and how he might need to be in a school that was better equipped to teach someone like him. The Mom was outraged and said she had no clue what we were talking about and that her son was fine. It just goes to show how blind parents can be when it comes to their kids. Admitting to yourself that your child has down syndrome, autism, etc. often makes a parent feel like a failure; it’s way too painful, so they live in denial. Sad, huh? I’d rather admit it and get my child the help he or she needs, but that’s just me.

    Oh and as far as the whole pregnancy question? Good call! I’ve never made the mistake, but I’ve been there when others have and the silence and then proverbial “I’m not pregnant” that comes after is UBER uncomfortable.

    • I canNOT imagine having to break the news to a parent that the kid is autistic. Though I think, having met my fair share of parents at preschool, that what SHOULD ALSO BE BROKEN would be news about parents being total boring fucks or, only slightly worse, assholes.

      God. Thing is, everybody (hopefully, theoretically at least) wants the best for their kids, and the best thing an educator could say would be this:

      “You need to deal, dude, because, owing to the fact that you are a TOTAL COCKSUCKER, your kid is going to be royally fucked up at the latest by third grade. So deal. You’re welcome. That’ll be one hundred dollars.”

  10. OMG this is so true. You can never ask that. I have a cousin who is autistic, and it is super 100000% obvious, and he is an awesome kid, but you can’t even mention it to his parents. It is like fight club, the first rule is no talking.

  11. HA – I feel for Barbara – I’d have died.

    oh – I have died several times. I’m always sticking my foot in my mouth. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I told my husband’s friends wife – “Oh, I ‘d hate to have twins. They are so weird.” Yes, she was a twin.

    • Reminds me of the time when I was 12 and I tried to tell this guy who worked for my dad all of these Polock jokes. He looks at me and goes: “I’m Polish,” and then proceeds to tell me 20,000 polock jokes.

      I dunno. That sucks. I should post about my “I like my coffee like I like my women experience.” Fuck. Anyway, people should get the fuck over it. There’s a war going on. And starving people somewhere.

  12. Reminds me of that film I was forced to watch: ‘What baby? WHAT BABY!’ I actually felt sorry for Hugh. No wonder we guys die first…. I don’t hate babies, though the people who ‘know’ me think they know I do, but I’m fed up with people asking me when I’m gonna have a baby myself (Not the Schwarzenegger way…). I guess having a baby makes you want a lot of confirmation. Sorry ladies. I really couldn’t care less about your colleague’s sister’s neighbor’s baby. Enough said.

  13. Ouch!

  14. If a kid looks like he or she has Down’s (and I agree with the above posters, it’s fairly obvious), I just ignore it. Assume the kid has Down’s and move on.

    OTOH, if a kid is acting like a meth’d up kangaroo, I often find myself wondering if there are issues. Or if the parents are just incompetent coke heads. Usually, I assume there are issues and move on but sometimes I REALLY WONDER.

    Being on the flip side can be awkward too. I have a horrifying memory of my mother asking didn’t I think Oldest was gifted? The kid was two. I barely stopped myself from blurting out, “I don’t think he can find his ass with both hands.” I mean, really, TWO. Finding his ass with both hands would have qualified him for Mensa.

  15. So you’re feeling pretty good about it not being you with a foot in your mouth?

    I often admire my children when they ask open fearless questions. My oldest when she was four stared wide eyed at a lady who was a dwarf. (Probably still is.) The lady grabbed something off a shelf, my girl and her looked eye to eye, and my daughter looked up at me and said, “What is she?”

    I froze, totally unprepared.

    • OMG what did the woman do?

      Yeah kids are totally fearless. I remember when I was a kid probably 8 or so and asked my mom point blank what George Washington was really like. My mind did this weird connect thing between her sharing the same birthday with him and I guess I thought she knew him.

      She dragged my ass out of the store and we didn’t go back.

    • Why would I feel good about an embarassing situation my wife found herself in?

  16. Conversations like that are why I wake up every day and implore myself to learn to talk less.

  17. Yeah, ouch. I guess that’s why I ask few questions – to keep myself out of these kinds of situations, because I used to get into them too often.

  18. I don’t ask questions either.. I just notice shit and keep on noticing shit til I come to my own conclusion then I go talk to other people. I know I am rude like that.. its part of my charm.

    I found out later that a co worker of mine has Psoriasis. But before I knew that I talked to everyone but her. I don’t know which of the genius’s I work with asked her what she had so we all knew what she had but I kid you not it looked like some skin monster was eating her. Like severe acne .. kinda made me think she didn’t have good hygiene.

    I will never ask her point blank and I don’t like talking to her so problem solved.

  19. My friend dated a boy back in high school and he resurfaced a few years later. We were all hanging out and he… I don’t know, said something stupid or did something stupid. And so she said to him “Do you have a learning disability?”. To which he responded “actually, I do. I’m dyslexic”. Awkward.

    • Yeah. Dyslexia is NOT Down’s Syndrome. Dyslexics should get over themselves. I knew a guy once. He was earning over a hundred grand a year, back in the nineties, and he was all “I had such a hard life, I’m dyslexic.”

      And I was all “I’m earning 25K a year, I had a hard life, too. I’m white trash.”

      I know I sound like an asshole. I don’t care.

  20. I foresee myself getting into a lot of trouble due to shit like this. I am a very curious person—questions spew from my mouth faster than my brain can process the desire to voice them. I usually ask the question, wait three seconds, and then say, “Hold on, that came out wrong, can I try that again?”

    Hm, about the pregnancy thing… what about asking the woman’s husband/boyfriend/humping stick of choice if she’s preggers? A dude wouldn’t get all tied up in a knot over that, right?

  21. I’m the type who suspects that I’m retarded and no one will tell me. Swear to God. I’m suspicious because I’m a good speller, and I can, like, remember movie quotes and weather reports word-for-word exactly right. I can’t count a blackjack deck, but I’m still suspicious.

    • You may still have a mental disability—after all, it doesn’t mean you’re an idiot. I couldn’t be sure since you don’t mention what makes you suspect it, but your intuition is probably right. Never too late to get tested for it, so if you’re curious, you should. My friend Eric, who is 31, only recently got diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, and it’s helped us all understand him better to know he has it.

    • Shut up Fred. You are the biggest intellectual among us.

  22. RedShoes51 says:

    … and I sit here disappointed because I wanted to see the photo of the kid underwater…

    So it goes, huh?

    I remember David Letterman talking one night about going to the dentist… and how the dentist seemed to work around to telling Dave,… “err… I can fix that gap for you…”

    To which Dave said he replied, “What gap?”

    The next time I went to the dentist, he told me he could fix my gap… guess what I did? I SO enjoyed the level of discomfort that I caused that asshole!!! HAR!!!


  23. My son was having a DefCon 5 autistic stim-fest in Target last week and a woman asked “Is your son autistic?” I just smiled and said, “No, he’s just a crazy little bastard.” I mean, it’s pretty obvious my son has autism, so why not take the opportunity to fuck with someone’s head.

  24. I wonder if the other mom was just tired of the question and did that on purpose.

    Like when you stuff a pillow under your shirt and wait for someone to ask when you’re expecting, and you can get all offended and say, “I HAVE A THYROID PROBLEM, OK?!?!?!”

    Maybe that’s just me.

    • Wait. Do you do that?

      No, I don’t know. In Austria, most people who find out they’re carrying a Down’s Syndrom kid abort, so maybe that was why Barbara asked, I’m not sure. She’s not the kind who would have gone on to say that she SHOULD have had an abortion or damn them for not telling you sooner or anything, it was just weird.

      Kind of like when you think you know a guy well enough to tell him about the time you stuck your dick in an eggplant? You know what I’m sayin’.

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