Sunday, October 31, 2010

You need a license to drive...

...but if you're the woman I encountered today you may freely reproduce without any sort of quality control whatsoever.

Mind you, I probably deserved the punishment for taking the younglings to Chuck E. Cheese on a Halloween Day Sunday.

The place was virtually empty, tho, and the littles had a great time running around playing games and getting tickets redeemable for cheap plastic crap and candy. And Mojo really needed the break.

As I was sitting with Little Miss at the "Chuckster's Extreme Club I.D." machine (which makes little plastic cards with kiddo pictures on them) I noticed a tall kid - probably 13 or 14 years old or so - coming up to the Peep who was playing on the submarine game nearby. I couldn't make out what was going on, exactly, but I could tell that Peep was giving the older boy one of his game tokens. This happened at least twice before I went over and stood behind him. The big kid continued to hang around in a rather scavenging fashion. Eventually I had to take Missy to the toilet, and when I returned most of the Boy's tokens were gone.

I was pretty chapped, but considering I had no hard evidence, and the scam was over, I didn't consider pursuing it any further. We cashed in our tickets, went to the cheap-plastic-crap counter, and were collecting our plastic snakes, vampire teeth, candy, and other oddlots when an Asian woman came up to the Chuck Worker to point out the same tall kid as having scammed HER son out of his tokens.

OK. So this wasn't just a one-off, and I thought that the least I could do was let the little rat know that his slick little game wasn't as slick as he thought. I went over to the table where he was standing with a couple of other, younger, kids and several adults.

"I just thought you should know that cheating little kids is pretty low."

The kid just looked startled. "I didn't..." he started, when a worn-looking blonde woman got up and moved between me and the kid.

"What do you mean?" she began in an angry voice.

The kid, though, was obviously still trying to talk his way out, a fine young con man in the making. "I was...I wasn't taking...I was giving them tickets..." he offered, until the woman - obviously his mother - told him to move away and sit down, and turned back to me.

"How old are you?" she asked me. I just looked at her. What the hell did that have to do with anything? I thought. "What do you mean, coming over and talking to my son like that? Did you think of finding his mother and talking to me first?"

She was right up in my face at this point, angry and accusative, clearly more incensed at my impudence at confronting her spawn than whatever dirty work he had been doing out of her sight.

I looked down at this angry woman, and half a dozen thoughts chased through my head. Why should I come talk to you, woman, first, last, or otherwise, since it seems that you had no interest in what your progeny was up to? What possible good would it have done, since it would seem to be your "upbringing" that produced this conman whose moral compass seemed to have been permanently pointed at "self-interest"? How does this come to be about me, and you, you idiot harridan, and not about your larcenous spawn? Who would even consider you any sort of resource or authority for parenting, since the failure-of-your-birth-control-device was out on his own stealing from children too young to see through him while you were sitting around bullshitting?But she was going on; "What do you think, that I should be with him every moment..?"

This was ridiculous. I had said what I needed to say to young Bernie Madoff, and the ridiculous indignity of standing in the middle of the tacky Chuck E. Cheese "party room" arguing with a woman too dim to be embarrassed by her own faulty by-product was bearing forcibly on me. As I turned and walked away, however, I had the mild gratification of hearing the Asian woman lay into the Mother of the Year about her larva's thieving progress through the Chuckster's playroom.

The real absurdity was when I returned to the cheap plastic crap counter to collect my own younglings the woman had pursued me. She leaned down and tried to make up to the Peep in motherly tones so sweet as to induce insulin shock in a diabetic.

"I'm sorry, little man..." she cooed, "...I promise I'll get your tokens back..."

I was disgusted. So this was her "discipline"? The "apology" came not from the little bastard but from mom, Diane Downs herself?

"We're done here. C'mon, kids." I shepherded my two out the door.

I drove away disgusted with the woman, her offspring, and myself, for not telling her more forcibly what a waste of good oxygen she and her kid are.

But, honestly, to what point? My brief collision makes it fairly clear that this woman has neither pride nor shame, and her kid is clearly an immature sleazeball who will not learn anything better from his parent, whose concern is only for her own self-love.

What the hell can you do with people like that?I have no idea.


Ael said...

You should be grateful for the learning opportunity for your children.

Learning how to spot and deal with a con artist (and associated hangers-on) is an important life lesson.

If a few plastic tokens were all that were at stake, double joy! In a few short years, kilo-bucks (or more) will be the stakes. The lesson will be the same, but the losses would be greater.

Pluto said...

I'm a little surprised at the Peep's choice to keep things quiet. Both of my kids would have started screaming at the top of their lungs if confronted by such an unequal situation.

I'm not saying my kids would have been right in their handling of the situation, just that it would have been a LOT noisier.

Of course, my kids were REALLY hooked on the plastic crap sold by Chuck E. Cheese. There is definitely joy in having your children outgrow certain aspects of their childhood.

Lisa said...

"larcenous spawn" -- she had no idea what she was up against. Pity she ran interference or you might have taught the future Madoff a thing or two.

Agreed: It is stunning the poor parenting out there, and the poor "larvae". I remember a column in my Wonderbooks (I think), "Goofus and Gallant": There is a right way to comport oneself. The best we can do is teach our own the correct way, and to be aware.

Red Sand said...

Wow. Nasty parenting situation going on there. Mind you, I fear I'm headed for the Complaints Receiving line soon. How does one become good at the parenting?