Play Time

Joey spit on Calvin.

We can all agree that Joey is a bit of a dick.

Joann told Calvin to stop playing with Joey forever. I told Calvin to punch Joey in the nose.

We're both pretty wrong.

Running to mommy every time some dick does something dickish is an inadequate and unsustainable response, but worse would be teaching your child diplomacy through violence. My response is a bit more viscerally pleasing especially when I imagine how smug I would sound trying to explain to Joey's dad that boys will be boys, while secretly beaming with pride that some boys are better than other boys, but in all honesty, Calvin would never throw a punch in Joey's dick face, so the idea is moot.

Joey bothers Joann because he's mean.

Joey bothers me because he brags about his dad all the time.

Joey says his dad is a genius.

Joey says his dad has a million dollars.

Joey says his dad travels the world and speaks five languages.

Joey has a very high opinion of his father and by extension, a rather low opinion of everyone else's.

Once, not too long ago, Joey and Calvin were interested in playing an old game on the Nintendo 64, but the game wouldn't work.

Calvin wanted to buy the game for his Nintendo DS, but it was $40, and the minute it was brought up I could see my little mastermind trying to figure out how he could get us to fork over the cash before the sun went down.

Now I'm no scrooge, but I will not now, nor ever, fork over $40 for something that is already in my living room.

So I told them I would fix it.

Which I did.

For I am a child of the 80's and 90's and there is no video game cartridge that I cannot fix with a Q-Tip and some rubbing alcohol.

But while I was donning my regal awesome dad can do anything cape, Joey piped up and said that if I can't fix it, his dad could, because his dad was a computer engineer when he was younger.

At first, I was shocked.

Then I wanted to punch little Joey in his dick face.

Then I wanted to tell him that when I was younger, I was an award winning actor, and by extension, had lots more sex than his father.

But I held my tongue, swabbed the connecting pins on the cartridge, held my breath, and flipped the "On" button.

They say there are no atheists in foxholes, which may be true, but mostly because atheists value life too much to go to war. But the sentiment is true that when we face our greatest fears, even if we reject the ephemeral with every atom in our bones, our hearts will evoke the name of god, and this was my little prayer:

Dear Jesus,
I haven't always been kind. I haven't always been good. And I never have nor will I ever have faith in you, but please, please Jesus, don't let Calvin watch his dad fail in front of his douche bag friend.



And the game loaded up.

And I crawled out of my fox hole with the sun at my back, secure in the fact that I will live to fight another day.

But even as I write this, it occurs to me now that there is in fact something much worse than watching your father fail in front of your douche bag friend, and that can only be raising a douche bag kid.

I'm not sure how Joey's father feels about his progeny. I'm sure there is a mountain of pride that every father lays at his son's feet, but even if he's oblivious to his son's spitting and hitting and calling names, I do know for a fact that his mother knows.

And it breaks her heart.

The legend of jerk face Joey ran like wild fire through the cul de sac gang and there were very few children who wouldn't run in the opposite direction.

But boys wanna play.

And though Calvin's arsenal was quite extensive, you can't sword fight with a tree for very long, so when Joey came calling, there was clearly no reason to keep him at arms length.

That evening, I walked over to the Joey stronghold and knocked. The door was opened and I introduced myself to Joey's mom. She was very nice, but at the same time looked very weary as if she hadn't been sleeping well. I told her it was time for Calvin to come home and have dinner. She looked slightly alarmed.

"But they're playing so nicely together." she said.

I understood immediately. You don't wanna break that magic. I let her know he could stay until she feels like kicking him out or it gets too dark. She smiled appreciably and closed the door.

"She knows." I thought.

She knows her son is the neighborhood bully who spits at kids and calls them names and tells all kinds of white little lies to make himself sound more impressive. And she knows the lonely sadness gets deeper and darker as the boy putters around the house with nothing but his video games and low self esteem, and there's nothing more important to her that her son find a friend, a boy his age, to break stuff and share adventures. Otherwise . . . otherwise . . . the consequence is unthinkable. Otherwise, he'll grow up, and she won't like him very much.

The worst tragedy of all is for your children to become sick, but a close second is to watch your children grow up to be douche bags.

Calvin will never spit back or punch a kid in his dick face, but its not because he's a coward, its because he knows right from wrong and he wants to make sure he has someone to play with.

Even if it's Joey.

No comments:

Post a Comment