By Chris Slater

I’m laying in bed one morning a couple summers ago as my phone rings. It’s my mom. I’d better answer, or I’ll never hear the end of it.

After we exchange pleasantries and get the basic information out of the way, there’s a pause. I fill it with information I learned a couple days earlier: “Did you hear Kelly is pregnant?”

kelly1My mom squeals with excitement. Kelly is my old high school and college girlfriend. The first girl I dated, first girl I held hands with, first girl I kissed, first… well, you get the idea. From the age of 15 until 23, we were together and inseparable. At that point, talking to my mom on the phone, Kelly and I were both 29 and friendly.

I knew what was coming from my mom, and luckily she can’t see me roll my eyes over the phone.
“Oooohhhh, that could have been your kid,” she blabbered on. “You know, this is probably the closest I’m going to get to be a grandmother. Why don’t you want kids?”

I would tell you the rest of the conversation, but it’s at that point I stopped listening.

• • •

I’ve been a bit of an anomaly with my friends and loved ones, in the sense that I’ve never wanted to get married or have children. I don’t know if that’s a selfish thing. I’m not one of those “career first” hyper-motivated types. I’m literally the laziest, least-driven person in the history of people. I’m honestly shocked every day that I get of of bed.

Maybe it is selfish? I don’t like living with other people, and I don’t like kids. Does that sound selfish? I guess if you look at the broad idea of marriage, it’s a good thing. Why wouldn’t I want to split all of my bills, get a tax break, have a warm body to cuddle with on a cold night, and so on? Then I actually look at what I’ve experienced in my life, and I don’t know if I’ve ever interacted with a married couple who was truly happy and enjoyed their lives together. I’m sure they exist somewhere, but I’ve only seen divorce, anger, and resentment.

With that said, I’m never one to assume. You know what they say about people who do that. In this space, we’ll look at the pros and cons of marriage and having kids. Maybe it’ll change my mind.


Pro: Tax Break. Depending on how the arrangement works, you could wind up either paying less to the government, or getting more back each spring. I’m a fan of money.

Con: Somebody is always there. When you’re married, you live with another person and share a bedroom with them. Their stuff will be in the bathroom next to yours. Just seems like a lot of clutter to me.

Pro: Wedding presents. There’s going to be a ceremony with all eyes on you. There might even be an open bar. And, people will buy you stuff. Probably not stuff you need, but it’s still better than nothing.

Con: You probably can’t have sex with other people. Most people in a traditional marriage believe in monogamy. ‘Til death do you part (or until you get a divorce). That means you are beholden to that one person for the rest of your life (or until you get a divorce). That doesn’t seem very fun.

Pro: Split the bills. It would be nice to only pay half of my rent each month. Somebody else contributing funds to the overall bottom line is a great idea in theory.


Pro: Continue your lineage. Ancestry dot com is pretty cool to look at, and you wouldn’t want to be the reason your family tree ends.

Con: They’re so loud. Like, really, have you heard loud kids? They’re the worst. Crying, happy, excited, scared, it’s always so loud.

Pro: Somebody to do chores. I’m sure my mom was so excited when I was old enough to start vacuuming the carpets and scooping the cat litter. And, I wouldn’t mind laying back and relaxing while somebody else took out the trash.

Con: Germs. Kids will touch anything, and then touch anything some more. They eventually get old enough to wash their hands regularly, but even that isn’t a given.

Pro: No more prying. People telling you to have kids finally leave you alone.

Con: Responsibility. Kids are a lot of work. And time. And money. And energy.

• • •

kelly2In February 2017, I was living in Luray, Virginia and working at the newspaper there. I had applied at the newspaper here in Charleston. So, I came in for the interview – spoiler: I got the job – and then spent the weekend with my mom in Princeton.

She was asking about Kelly and if I’ve seen the baby. I hadn’t seen Kelly since one night in 2014 when we randomly walked past each other on Mercer Street and caught up for a few minutes. We text often enough to know what’s going on in each others lives. She had previously sent me a few pictures of her baby and told me to forward them to my mom.

I send Kelly a text letting her know I’m in town and if she wants to bring the baby over so my mom can see it.

Kelly comes over with months-old Elizabeth. She and I tell old inside jokes from college while my mom holds the baby and talks about how amazing and beautiful it is, even though it’s just sitting there being a baby.

My mom again talks about how she’ll never be a grandmother. Kelly agrees with her. And so do I. I’m going to be a content old man living a solitary, childless life. And I couldn’t be happier.

• • •

Do you have kids and think I made some good points? Married and think my views are insane? Or just an undecided person who thought I made some good points for and against both? Let everybody know. Leave a comment on the blog, find me on Facebook, slide into my DM’s on Twitter, or send me an email (

And, hey… thanks for reading.

By Chris Slater

I remember exactly where I was on Jan. 20, 2009. It was the first day of the spring semester at Concord University, during my fifth year of college. It was also the inauguration of the nation’s 44th President, Barack Obama. It was such a happy feeling that day; the mood was so upbeat. My girlfriend and I walked hand-in-hand around campus enjoying the moment. Televisions in every building were airing the festivities live as they happened. To paraphrase a fellow student’s MySpace status I saw that day: Things just felt… fresh.

Let’s fast forward to eight years later, and where I happened to be on Jan. 20, 2017. I’m sitting at a diner in Luray, Virginia with a friend. She and I are staring at our cheeseburgers so that we won’t have to look at the live inauguration on the two televisions in the room. I had just finished covering a protest rally, and quoted the police chief as saying he had been a little worried about all of the counter protesters carrying guns. What’s the opposite of fresh? That’s how the day felt.

donald-trump-picturesWhat did we learn from this last election? Did the right person win? I think that’s a rhetorical question. Did the most qualified person win? I think even the most ardent Trump supporter will admit that he was the least qualified. That was part of his charm. Or, whatever that quality he has is called.

Did the election tell us that the electoral college is bad? In what may shock some of my contemporaries, I will admit that I do see both some pros and cons of the electoral college system. Now, the big con — figuratively, and possibly literally — got elected as a result of the electoral college. But, imagine that we actually had two or three legit, qualified candidates who weren’t offensive train wrecks running. An electoral college system wouldn’t be horrible then.

While Trump is in office, we can try and gleam some insight and wisdom from him. The healthiest president in history couldn’t be a total idiot and get elected to the highest office in the country. Right?

There are actually a few life lessons that we can learn from Trump. If you ignore the comments about African countries and the allegations from several different women against him, he has a few admirable qualities that we should all try to emulate.

Be assertive

Trump didn’t become a billionaire, a reality show star, and president of these United States of America by being a pushover. If you want people to notice you, you need to have an alpha mentality. Find a nicer way of doing it than Trump did; don’t belittle people with nasty nicknames or mock the physically handicapped.

Take chances

In the course of acquiring those billions, Trump lost a lot of money. Airlines, race horses, an arena football team, and a university are just a number of failed entrepreneurial endeavors from Trump. He took a chance on those and failed. But, he took a chance on becoming president and look where we’re at now. Don’t look too hard, though, as it hurts to think about it.

Don’t dwell on mistakes

If you’re running for president as a Republican and mock one of the most-beloved Republicans for being a prisoner of war, that’s a pretty big mistake. If you’re caught on tape commenting that you’re allowed to sexually assault women because you’re famous, that’s a pretty big mistake. But, what did Trump do? He didn’t let it stop him. A verbal faux pas here and there shouldn’t be enough to make you quit following your dreams. Just, try not to refer to all Mexicans as rapists.

Stroke your ego

You need to know the importance of yourself. If you made a good deal, there’s no problem with letting people know. If you made the greatest deal in the history of America, that’s something to talk about as well. There is a difference between being positive and knowing your own self worth and being an obnoxious blowhard. Walk that line closely, but don’t cross it.

Create your own style

If you like the way you look, don’t worry about what others think. If you haven’t noticed, the president has a fairly ridiculous hairstyle. He has enough money to get a decent haircut, but he refuses. Why? Because it’s his look. He doesn’t care, and neither should you.

Million dollar loan

I can not stress enough how important it is to get a loan of $1 million from your family upon graduating college (and some say the loan was much higher). Donald Trump would not be the man he became today without that cash from his father. I’ve noticed that an easy $1 million you don’t have to work for really makes your dreams much easier to attain.

• • •

Do you have any other tips for success from our president? Leave them in the comments section. Any other thoughts? Let me know here, over at Facebook, send me a tweet, or hit up the email (