Shalampaxians name their babies after the first thing — other than mundane objects — the parents see after the child's birth. If more than one word is required to describe the object, all of the words are joined together to form a single name. The only stipulation is that it cannot be the name of anyone else alive at the time.
Due to the strikingly bland, barren, homogeneous nature of our island and the lack of creativity and attentiveness in our people, some parents go for years before they spot an unused name. During that time, the child is never referred to when out of sight. Within eyesight, people just point to him or her and say, "that one there, the one without a name, you know, the funny looking one," or words to that effect.
Because all Shalampaxians are eager to deny their parentage, we use only a single name, shunning family names as if they were fatal venereal diseases. Obviously, that analogy is somewhat inappropriate. Most Shalampaxians would rather contract a fatal venereal disease than admit to their family ties.
Infants are left all day in a human version of a kitty litter box (see architecture
). When a child reaches toddler age, the box is encircled with a fence that is too high for him or her to climb over. At that point, a toilet with a wide, flexible tube that attaches to the sewage drain is placed in the baby litter box, the parents and any siblings wear heavy-duty gas masks, and the baby litter box is no longer cleaned after being soiled. Under these conditions, toddlers tend to learn to use the toilet very quickly. When they've proven that they can do so reliably for several consecutive weeks, they are removed from the baby litter box, the box is sanitized and the toddlers then live normally with the rest of the family.
We think that the education of our children is our most important obligation. Unfortunately, nobody wants to actually sit down and teach those spoiled brats anything. Instead, from the time they're born, we put a television in front of our children and run a continuous loop of learn-to-read DVDs.
Once our children have mastered reading, we give them Internet access, load them up with a bunch of educational DVDs and show them the way to the library. We then give them a curriculum that we stole from a foreign school and send them off to learn at their own pace. They can ask us questions if they don't understand something or if they need a little direction, but other than that they're on their own. This seems to work and it leaves us free to do more important stuff, like watch reality shows on television.
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