Parenting, Playboy and a Trip to the Grocery Store…

Grateful Blog: Day 58: I was still sick today, stuck inside listening to the radio and there was a raging debate on the school shooting inOhioand just what drives kids to do that sort of thing. I don’t know. It’s really saddening. And I have nothing to offer because it’s baffling to me and frankly I never had kids so I feel like I’m grossly under qualified to comment. But occasionally I do wade a toe into the parenting side of things when I’m given the opportunity. But the results are highly mixed.

To wit: When our nieces and nephews were younger, I used to dig when my wife and I would take them roller skating once every grand so often. That was cool. They loved it, we loved it. It felt like as much of a night out for us as it probably did their parents (until we brought them got back from spinning in circles for 3 hours, loaded up on ice cream). Of course then there was that ‘incident’ where my nephew was inAlaskafor over a year, in some remote town. He was all of 21 and of course perfectly corruptible. I don’t know what it says about me but I can admit it now. I sent him a year’s subscription to Playboy for Christmas. He seemed to appreciate it so I seemed to be worth my $15. Given how remote the town was I think the postage alone was twice that. It was probably inappropriate or just plain perfect or maybe both. His Mom and Dad thought it was funny anyways and potentially useful if it kept him from fraternizing too much with the locals gal. But I know, it’s a slippery slope…

Anyways, I tell those anecdotes only to point out that I’m not ENTIRELY curmudgeonly although I certainly aspire to such lofty heights. So recently I was in the grocery store and there was this kid, oh maybe 7 or 8, who was walking down the aisle, arms spread wide, probably playing some sort of bird or fighter jet in his mind. He was ducking, dodging, buzzing and swerving and ultimately took out a few signs. Just plum knocked ‘em right over. He looked back briefly at them, then towards his Mom (who never saw), then back at the signs, and kept going. This wasn’tCarthagein flames or carrying a loaded Glock to his elementary school, it was just a couple of DUMB grocery store signs. Dumb signs that needed to be picked up by someone I might add.

I happen to see the kid on the next aisle down, where his Mom stopped to eyeball something on the shelf. He was still careening over, under and through a new jungle of ‘2 for $5.00’ and ‘Buy ONE get ONE FREE’ signs. I passed by him and while his Mom wasn’t watching I said to him in this real conspiratorial tone: ‘Hey Kid!’ and he looks up at me wide eyed and I said ‘You knocked those signs over!’ and of course he gives me his best ‘What me?’ look. Then I said real authoritative-like ‘Look, you knocked over the signs, I saw you do it. So I tell you what: Go do the RIGHT thing. Put the sign’s back up. I’ll wait here with your Mom till you get back’.

So I don’t really know tonight about the how or the why of school shootings. I know it deeply saddens me and I know it took a long time to get here and it’ll take a longer time to fix it. I don’t think it has anything to do with roller skating or Playboy or grocery store signs or me becoming curmudgeonlier as I get older. I just know I’m Grateful that more kids weren’t hurt in Ohio today, that Playboy doesn’t automatically renew my nephew’s  subscription on my credit card (anymore) and I’m Grateful that kid put the sign’s back up. Cause frankly, if he’d have called my bluff, I had nothing…