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The Column

In Loco Parents
11/3/02

As always, there’s a lot going on in the world, but nothing more poignant than what’s going on in Melbourne, Australia. You don’t know what’s going on there? Well where have you been? Obviously not in Melbourne.

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, which usually consist of Tetris and pornography, I discovered a heart-warming story. After five years of his supporting a child, a father learned that the girl was not biologically his own. Heartbroken, the man mustered just enough strength to say, “give me my money back.”

An unidentified Melbourne man is suing a woman he used to sleep with for the more than $10,000 he’s spent on what he thought was his little girl, after DNA tests proved that she ain’t. The man is allegedly remaining anonymous for legal reasons, but I think we don’t know his name because there can’t possibly be anyone in the world that cruel.

"I want it all back,” the man said. “Every cent for every toy, every blanket, every bit of food."

Isn’t that sweet? He means it, too. The man, let’s call him Mr. Insensipotamous, is suing to reclaim the money he spent on child support. But he’s included a few specific things in addition to those payments – like four visits to an amusement park, three Barbie dolls, a Winnie the Pooh play tent, a day of skating, and take-out food from McDonald's. And that bitch better give him back all those hugs he wasted, too.

The mother, who will earn a role on “As the World Turns” for her ability to convince the man that someone else’s child was his, has rightfully agreed to return the child support payments. But she doesn’t think that it’s okay for this guy to demand anything else, insisting that the good time the two had together is what matters. Lady, that’s just silly.

Of course, there’s the problem of worth. If you sue someone over the value of a three-year-old happy meal, you need to consider both inflation of the currency exchanged, as well as the devaluation of the mini-hamburger found inside. If this case ever makes it to trial, it’s going to take months to figure out just how much was lost over French fries. And the biggest question – which three Barbie dolls?

The problem I have with this is not that somebody is suing over something petty – that happens constantly. It’s that this jerk, and yes, he is a big big jerk, is suing because he believes he wasted time with a child. I pray that this little girl can not read yet, because if she knows that daddy is suing to reclaim her Winnie the Pooh play tent, she will be even more screwed up than she already got from meeting him in the first place.

I wonder what he was thinking while he took her to the amusement park. “Man, I hate this kid. If she weren’t the result of a drunken night with her mother, I’d ditch her behind the Tilt-a-whirl.” And while he was teaching her to skate, was he praying she’d slip, fall through the ice, and no longer bother him? Or maybe, just maybe, he was proud when she learned to walk, and said her first words, and called him “daddy” as I’m sure she did on at least a few occasions. Maybe when she gets old enough, she can sue for all the time she wasted on him. Even at minimum wage, the girl stands to make a few thousand bucks.

The common phrase is that blood is thicker than water, which is true. But thicker still are the bonds you can form by spending a significant amount of time with someone – oh, for instance, five years. Though nothing is quite as thick as this guy’s skull.

If you extend his apparent philosophy, he would rather spend time with his third cousin Wendell who snores while he’s still awake because hey – Wendell is family. Maybe the man is remaining anonymous because if the world knew who he was, he’d never get another date. Because unless someone came from his sperm, this guy doesn’t give a rat’s ass. That is, after all, the contents of a happy meal.

"I wouldn't have spent all that money had I known five years ago she wasn't my kid," said The Insensipotamous, before he roared and retreated back into his cave of selfish.

But there is a happy ending to this story. He’s never actually reproduced.

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