Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sucky Parents.

Sucky parents come in a vast array. You've got the really sucky ones that inspire things like "Push, the novel by Sapphire" (and why is that how you always hear it referred to as this? Why not just "Push?" You don't hear "Franny and Zoey, the novel by JD Salinger." Kind of weird.) And there are the sucky parents that ignore their kids and aren't there for them when they need them. Or the sucky parents that push their kids really hard to be perfect. The list of categories could go on forever. The kind I have in mind this morning, however, are the kind of parents that let their kids do anything so long as they are semi-quiet so that they don't have to pay attention to them and can have an adult conversation.

At a brunch restaurant where there's always a wait, a couple with two children were speaking with another childless couple. They were waiting outside. The mall strip had surrounded all of the trees with decorative black river stone. Not the small stuff -- the big stones that are almost as big as ostrich eggs. The youngest of the boys was wallowing in the stones. Rolling in them like it was a bed of feathers and he was on ecstasy and couldn't prevent himself from enjoying the amazing texture. Then it occurred to him he could pick them up individually. What do you do then? Well, when there's no one of authority to tell you not to, apparently the answer is throw them. Throw them at nearby parked cars. At passing people. At your brother. And when your parents, who are in clear view of you but you seem to be wearing an invisibility cloak that works only on them, continue to say nothing, you elevate your game. The kid was beaming these rocks at the building, windows (luckily dad didn't pay very much attention to the kid ever and so he had very bad aim from never having played catch with the old guy in the backyard) and more people. I was just standing up to go have a little conversation with the parents when a woman coming in said to him, "That's a rock. You hit the building which was one inch from my foot. It would have hurt. Just as bad as if I took one and threw it at you with all my might and energy. Maybe you should find something else to do."  No parental reaction, but the kid did find something else to do. He went back to rolling in the rocks like he was waiting for a lover to come and make out with him a la From Here to Eternity. Thank God for strangers.

It takes a village, they say. And the reason? There are a lot of jackasses out there that don't do their number one priority job of raising their kids themselves and force others into the position of having to do it for them.

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