17

What does "half kid" mean in this context? Stillbirth? Unborn child? A pet?

The context is from a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson.

Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations... Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier. Be perfect and amazing and crap out twelve-karat-gold nuggets before breakfast each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and a half kids goodbye.

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    1. Please provide a link to the source of the quotation. 2. Voting to close as any answers to this Q. are likely to be mere opinions: there is no definative answer. 3. "2½ kids" is sometimes used as a reference to an 'average' family size. – TrevorD Mar 13 '17 at 18:47
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    It's surreally referencing the average 2.5 children in the average family in the specified population, treating it whimsically as if every family had exactly the mean number of children. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 13 '17 at 20:45
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    My p-Chem professor used 2.5 children as an example about something. "After all the average family has 2.5 children. Can anyone image a family with 2.5 children?" I quickly quipped "Yea, My sister is OK, but I don't think my brother's all here..." Even the prof laughed. – MaxW Mar 14 '17 at 7:29
  • qv British TV show 2point4 Children – AakashM Mar 14 '17 at 12:28
  • I originally had a comment here about an explanation for this in "The Prehistory of the Far Side" but then I found it wasn't in that book. I would be very interested in knowing the history of the joke/expression though; presumably it originates in someone at some point making a joke referring to a specific census or survey or a number that was in the air, and the idea taking off, but I'd like to know what the earliest instances of the joke are and what census they refer to (if that can be found). I don't know if it is appropriate to start a new question or edit this one or what? – Oosaka Mar 14 '17 at 12:57
32

In a culture where we want everything to be perfect, 2.5 kids is the ideal (it's not just about average) family size. Your quote is about being perfect in every way, not about being average.

This can be found in polls of what people really think:

A recent Gallup poll asked Americans what they think is "the ideal number of children for a family to have" and found Americans, on average, believe that 2.5 children are ideal. (Gallup)

Of course this means that some people think that less than 2.5 is ideal and some think that more than 2.5 is ideal. The averaging comes from computing the average of these responses about what is perceived to be ideal.

So to have a perfect life (I like the part about the gold nuggets), why would you want an average family size? You would want an ideal family size.

In an average life, you only rent your beer, but you never defecate gold bars.

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    That's what you get when you take the mean instead of the median or (probably better here) mode... – Tobias Kienzler Mar 14 '17 at 7:14
8

No, this refers to the fact that the "average" American family has 2.5 children.

Basically, this passage is telling you to be average; perfectly and absurdly average.

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    I've read the book and no; this passage doesn't want you to be average. More like, being perfect. I'm sorry but the majority of the people got that wrong, and now you have the most upvotes. – Anoneemus Mar 13 '17 at 21:37
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    @Anoneemus: Regardless of what the passage "wants" or means, the passage is referencing the statistic of an average American family having 2.5 children, as J Preisser states. Also, given the usage of "unrealistic expectations" and mentions of defficating Au and having a fractional number of children, I am inclined to read the passage following the ellipsis as sarcasm. – sharur Mar 13 '17 at 22:26
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    "Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier," implies to me more of an ideal than an average. In fact, the average is 1.87 (CIA World Factbook) children/woman. – Mikey Mar 14 '17 at 5:31
  • @sharur Yeah, go ahead. Read the book; it's great if you lack the skill of being unapologetically yourself. – Anoneemus Mar 14 '17 at 5:41
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    @Anoneemus: I haven't read the book, but after reading your comments maybe the author is voicing an opinion on the conflation of "ideal" and "average"? Also, I don't think it matters what the actual average of children is; that's what the phrase "2.5 children" means, at least in the US. – J Preisser Mar 14 '17 at 14:59
2

2 1/2 literally means that if you average it up, you get 2 1/2 (so, for two families, one family with 2, another with 3).

Funnily enough, this plays out in cartoons. But in the cartoon world, to show the "averageness" of the American family, you get 2 children and 1 infant: cf. Simpsons and Family Guy.

-1

I think everyone here is misunderstanding what you mean. It's not a matter of an average. It's that you basically have 2 kids that are your own. The 1/2 kid is basically a close friend to one of your kid's and he/she is the friend that is basically always around or in your house. They basically spend a lot of their time at your place with their friend and view your place as a second home. The 1/2 kid usually stays at your house also as an escape from his/her home sometimes or if his/her parents are those that want his/her kids out of the house more often. He/She spends so much time at your house you begin to think of him/her like a loose family member. They may even be constantly joining you on family activities as they spend so much time around and you let them (because they're aleays around).

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    The text reads ... each morning while kissing your selfie-ready spouse and two and a half kids goodbye. So the child's best friend is basically adopted and lives 24/7 with your family? – Mari-Lou A Jul 10 at 5:47

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