It Must Be Nice to Have Readers Who Pay Attention

In front of me on line at the Primark department store is a sixteen-year-old Irish girl with her infant son in a stroller. The boy is screaming, sobbing, and repeatedly says "Mama, mama." She completely ignores him as she piles a bunch of frilly lingerie onto the counter. Finally, his crying attracting the attention of others, she tries to jam a pacifier into his mouth, which he spits out, to begin sobbing "Mama" again. She pays and wheels him away. I pay a minute later. I can hear the baby's cries the whole time I am at the register, and while riding down the escalator. When I emerge into the street the girl and the still-sobbing infant are ahead of me.

I could swear I heard her lean over to the stroller and say, "I've read fecking Bryan Caplan, and he tells me none of this will make any difference to how you turn out, so shut your fecking gob."


  1. My father during the brief time he worked in France (about 12 to 18 months or so) told me that French parents typically do not respond immediately to children crying and quietly assure others, "Don't worry, he'll be alright."

    It was explained that it is a very precise exercise in building patience in children.

    1. Prateek, I can assure you, this girl was NOT working off of any strategy other than, "I'm so sick of this little brat."


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