I seldom enjoy reading comments posted at the end of news articles. If I want to lose my faith in human nature, the comments posts are the first place I go to find the worst in human values. Even in a news article as innocuous as “Puppy Saved From Fire,” by the fifth comment down the commentaries devolve into a rant about some hot button issue, such as immigration, religion, or politics. I never realized so many people hold illegal immigrants, Wiccans, and political leaders accountable for everything, including puppies on fire.

The comments I read following an article about “brat bans” was no different. The article explained how establishments such as restaurants are refusing to allow children on the premises. Most of the comments mirrored my opinions: restaurants are not screamatoriums, booths are not playpens, and cutlery is not for flinging at my head. A few comments contrasted, rallying behind the cry of “discrimination:” against children, against well-behaved children, against well-behaved model children that rescue puppies from fire.

In the context presented, discrimination turned into a dirty word. It was in fact a misapplied word; one more suited for the context might be “miscrimination.” It was not used by commentators to fight oppression, rather misused by parents to whine about inconveniences they were afraid to face, such as additional dinners at home with their screaming little rug monsters. Or worse yet, paying more for a babysitter than they would for their mediocre entree at TGI AppleGarden. Forget minorities, the poor, and the homeless; nothing victimizes a group as much as stealing their children's right to scream in my ear or catapult foodstuffs and pointed utensils at my body.

By these writers' definition, anyone who has a differing opinion will always be oppressed somewhere at some time. By that definition, I'm constantly discriminated against: By my employer who doesn't care why I do not like driving in a congested trickle of Chicago traffic. By carnival ride operators insensitive to my motion sickness. By makers of “one-size-fits-all” hats that do not fit my extra-large head. By computer manufacturers who are indifferent to a Linux guy in a Windows world. By Chuck E. Cheese, who will not allow an adult like me to play in their ball pit.

But, unlike the whining commentators to the news story, I see the balance. For every “adults only” restaurant, there is a Chuck E. Cheese. For every 21 and over show, there is a matinee. For every adult swim there is a kiddie pool. Unlike those comment posters, I understand the difference between rights and privileges. I understand when privileges are abused, those privileges might one day disappear. And unlike those correspondents, I recognize I discriminate also. I get to show my fair share of prejudice in essays like this, against people who do not recognize sarcasm, those who have no sense of humor, and those who whine about losing the entitlement to bring their bawling brats into a classy restaurant...when they should be fighting for their own right to jump into the Chuck E. Cheese ball pit.