October 2, 1997
I work with a guy whose voice sounds like a cross between Gomer Pyle and Dudley Dooright (an old cartoon character for those of you who might not be familiar with him). Naturally, I tried impersonating this voice, and experts have assured me that I do it very successfully. (Even my boss has said that, when she hears the voice, she’s never sure whether it’s really him or whether it’s me making fun of him.) And being the kind of person I am, I tried it in front of him. He found it as funny as everyone else, but unfortunately it gave him ideas. He’s convinced that, if I talk to his wife on the phone, she’ll never know the difference. I’ve tried to convince him not to let me do this. I’ve explained that, if I talk to his wife on the phone, I won’t be able to resist the temptation to do something like this: "Hi honey, how are…<strange guttural noises followed by a dramatically deeper and rougher voice> I’M POSSESSED." His wife has no sense of humor. She’s also, well, more than a little religious. Although he doesn’t believe me, I’m convinced that, if I did this, I’d be reading his obituary in the paper the next morning. Then again, it would be really funny. Ah, what the heck? I think it’s worth it, and there’s the assurance that, after he’s gone, his voice will still live among us. Oh, by the way, have a good weekend everybody. I’m skipping out early.
CANBERRA, ACT – Peter Fyfe, Director, Residences at the University of Canberra and father of two, has announced plans to outsource his children to a private enterprise specializing in child rearing as part of his family’s cost saving effort. Fyfe said that his request for proposals will go out very soon, and that he hopes that a contractor will be in place by Christmas 1997.
Fyfe says that he anticipates saving 25% of his child rearing expenses by hiring a company which specializes in the field. He believes that between the things that his kids destroy, the wear and tear the kids put on the family residence and vehicles, and the other expenses such as school and activities, he should be able to pay a private firm about 75% of what he currently spends on his children.
Although his children have expressed concern that being raised by non-parents would be impersonal and would deprive them of some of their current privileges, Fyfe has worked to alleviate their fears. He held a family dinner meeting to announce the decision and told the kids that mere parents don’t really know how to raise kids until the kids are grown. This is obvious because every grandparent on the street has advice to give to any parent they meet. A professional child rearing service would already know how to raise children and not make the mistakes of a rookie parent.
The outsource proposal requires companies to provide the children with benefits at least the same overall level as they receive at home, with some benefits (TV hours for example) expanding, while others (parental attention) declining. The proposal mandates certain "core" benefits, such as food, clothing, and schooling; but, leaves the non-core (music, sport, television) at the discretion of the contractor.
The outsourcing would phase in over a six month period, with the children initially spending daytime hours at their outsource site and sleeping at their parent’s home; but, as space becomes available offsite, the children will begin spending all their time away from home except when they are desperately needed at home (for example, when the yard needs "patrolling").
The children originally expressed dismay at residing off-site, but Fyfe told them that they would have weekly visitation to the house to retrieve any personal belongings, get new books, ‘perform’ on their musical instruments or talk to, their parents. This would also allow the kids to visit their pet (one dog), at least until phase 2 of Fyfe’s cost cutting spree, which includes outsourcing the family pet. Fyfe would not say where he came up with the idea of outsourcing the children, other than to admit that he and his wife were having a discussion about family finances which illustrated the need to raise the family in a "better, faster, cheaper" mode.
Although his wife was initially reluctant to have the children raised offsite, Fyfe convinced her to accept the scheme because she too was eligible for "outsourcing."