Friday, June 09, 2006

Natural Selection

I'm not even remotely ready to be a parent. I readily acknowledge this. So, I probably have no business criticizing the way in which other parents care for their children. And yet, that's precisely what I'm about to do. On my trip home today, I saw two different instances of children in mortal danger. I had another post ready for today, but I want to write about this while it's fresh, so I'll save the other for next week. I'm absolutely awful at judging age, when it comes to children or adults, but I'll ballpark their ages, at, oh, let's say seven years old. The latter incident was the least serious, so I'll start with it.

As I drove through Lower St. Mary's, there was a single child standing on the shoulder of the road, beside his mailbox. He was holding a toy firearm and pivoting back and forth quickly, pretending to spray passing vehicles with bullets. Now, I could care less that he's pretending to kill motorists-- I used to play with toy guns myself, as did many other kids, I'm sure, and I think it's largely harmless fantasy, although I'd entertain arguments to the contrary. But why was he allowed to have his fun within a couple of feet of highway traffic, stumbling around and no doubt alarming passer-by? To use a clich├ęd line: just where were that boy's parents? I drove by there with a death grip on the wheel, ready to swerve away at a moment's notice. So, not only was he endangering himself, but he was also endangering drivers. Then again, maybe I was overreacting, as I may have been a bit on edge after what I'd seen only ten minutes earlier.

I was walking by the parking garage today on my way to my car, when I noticed two children at play. I barely gave them a passing glance, until one of them suddenly screamed as if he was being attacked. I quickly looked over to see him hanging from the garage's third floor (feet dangling just above the second floor's surface) and laughing. I have no idea what that was all about. I shook my head and continued to walk, but then I noticed what precisely the two were playing at-- they were hopping between floors of the parking garage. Now, this already struck me as pretty damn unsafe, since a slip could easily turn a dangerous one-floor drop into a mortal two or three-floor drop. However, the pair's mother was nearby, and I was several floors away, so it was none of my business.

Then, I saw one of them suddenly turn and run up one of the garage ramps at top speed, straight at an oncoming car. The car slammed on its brakes, squealed its tires, and slid to a halt just in front of him. He turned and laughed and ran right on by as if nothing had happened. If it had been going any faster, as cars in that garage often do at the end of the work day, it would have flattened him. Take a guess as to the reaction this prompted from his mother. Go on: guess. Let's see if you're right-- I sincerely hope not. She said, and I quote: "Brian, stop being silly." STOP BEING SILLY? YOUR SON CAME WITHIN A FOOT OF DYING, YOU IGNORANT WHORE.

*Ahem* She didn't even raise her voice. Maybe it's just me, but if my son came that close to killing himself, I'd get in his face and start yelling, and I wouldn't stop until I saw the fear of God in his eyes. Now, maybe that would be overreacting, and there's probably a more appropriate middle ground, but he'd sure as hell remember that, and I'd wager that it's a hell of a lot better than drastically underreacting the way she did. What is that boy supposed to learn from that? He was literally playing in traffic, and received only an off-hand admonishment for his trouble, which I'm sure will do very little to deter him from doing the same in the future. That woman is not fit to raise a cat, let alone a human child. Some people just should not procreate.

[Note: I apologize to anyone who might be offended by this post's title. I felt inclined to toss out a bit of morbid humour, and give myself a unifying thought to close on, but I found none of what I saw today even remotely funny.]


Blogger Stefan Robak said...

Rather than being disgusted by bad parenting caused by negligence, I was disgusted recently by parents who keep their kids on leashes. Not just those demeaning toddler harnesses either. These parents had a little leash around the child's wrist. And these kids were like somewhere between 6 and 7. I know kids aren't always easy to control but is it too fucking much to ask to hold on to your child's hand and/or watch him. Now I know you want to use those hands to carry merchandise not have to pay attention to you kid all the time but DON'T PUT YOUR KID ON A FUCKING LEASH.

Friday, June 09, 2006 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jordan said...

*cough* *shifty eyes* John and I used to be on leashes for a brief period... *cough* AWKward...

Friday, June 09, 2006 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Craig said...

One could argue that grown men who still live with their parents remain on a leash. ;>

Saturday, June 10, 2006 6:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Aiden said...

And i moved out 2 years ago.

Sunday, June 11, 2006 7:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Pfft, I had one of those little wrist leashes when I was a child and it wasn't that bad. Now I don't necessarily think you still need them by age 7, but for 4 or 5 year olds and younger I don't see a problem. It just isn't possible to be constantly holding on to a child when you're out in public. Occasionally you have to pay for a purchase (be it merchandise or food) or do something else that requires both hands. Ideally, your kids would not run off at that time, but sometimes, they act like *shock* 4 year olds and do what they want. And man have I seen some 4 year olds run really friggin fast. Although I infinitely prefer wrist leashes to full harnesses. The latter is probably taking it a bit far.

Oh, and I would also be really pissed at Mom who let her kids run at cars although I wouldn't use the word whore...(I don't really like that word).

Sunday, June 11, 2006 1:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

I, on the other hand, love the word whore, and commend Jordan's use of it.

As someone who's worked retail (INSIDE A GROCERY STORE no less) I've seen my fair share of incredible negligence. I hear stories about it every day from my girlfriend, also, because she works at the mall.

The trick here, is that we start reprimanding people for their stupidity. It's been far too long since that's honestly happened. People are worried about hurting the feelings of others. We're too fucking sensitive. If I had almost hit that kid, I like to think I would have gotten out of the car and told the mother off... and then told the kid off.

I think leashes are fine... kids who are even 7 are too young to know it's demeaning. Usually it's not out of contemt for having to deal with a child as much as it is paranoia that the child will get hurt.

Of course, parents that hands-free about childrearing have one major bonus on their side. Their kids will inevitably get hurt and the kids will learn not to do stupid things. That never happens anymore. Kids are so molly coddled and sheltered from doing stupid shit that they do things without thinking about the consequences.

It only took breaking a window with a rock once to learn that it was a bad idea to huck rocks. Unless she's the kind of parent that sues people for having attractive windows for breaking or something.

Anyway... I'm rambling. I agree with you Jordan... although I think that kid with the toy gun was probably fine and was just a product of your previous encounter.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 3:13:00 PM  
Blogger Stefan Robak said...

Well, perhaps my opinion will change if I become a parent and I don't disagree entirely with your pro-lease arguments, but I am still mighty uncomfortable with the use of leashes.
Now, I'll concur that kids are hard to controll. At age two, I had snuck out of my rooms several times and threw a tomato at my dad and drank an entire bottle of vanilla extract. My parents eventually (literally) tied my into my bed. I understand, as I was a danger to myself and others.
Nonetheless, I think that you'd be surprised that kids won't always be looking for an escape exit from the parent every chance they get. I'm not saying they're little angels, but at the same time, I feel leashes are for extreme cases (judging from stories, John Glenwright was, in fact, a candidate.
But what really pisses my off about leashes is just looking at the parents sometimes who seem to be using leashes as an excuse to not pay attnetion to the kid. As if the leash solves all the problems. Hey, he doesn't have to be far away from you to get himself killed.

Monday, June 19, 2006 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Like when they sit on the escalator.

All I'm saying is that it's more of a safety issue. They want their kids to be safe. They DON'T want to turn around and see their kid running into the street.

I'd like the see the prosti-tots at the Regent mall be put on leashes. Each of them, brutally demeaned, and without their cell phones. Occasionally whipped for making snide comments about others.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the attitudes of today's youth? All that fucking 'be their friend' parenting. Fucking horseshit. I feared my parents... as it should be.

Monday, June 19, 2006 1:25:00 PM  
Blogger Jar Yee said...

HOLY CRAP. Your post gave me the chills. Seriously.
I cannot understand how parents can calmly react to things like that?! A story that I recently experience during my practicum:
A student took $500 from his kitchen counter and was passing out $100 to each of his friends at school. The parents eventually figured out that their money was missing and traced it back to their son. Their reaction? "I don't blame anyone, I don't hold anyone accountable...." WHAT?! What about your SON!?!??!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 11:14:00 PM  

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