We Are Family: Top Three Dysfuntional Relations

4 Feb

All right, all right, I know some of you loyal readers out there are going to accuse me of being a pony with only a handful of tricks to my name, and I’d probably agree with you if I cared at all for having my job explained to me by the people who return day after day despite their griping about recycled jokes and tired content and MS Paint. But I have to say this three-part blog template is vastly preferable to rattling on ad nauseum for two or three thousand words about the same story, and if you search your feelings, young Padawan, I’m sure you’ll come around to my way of thinking.

And if you don’t, well…as the neophyte L33T HAXX0RZ say on the interwebs these days, GTFO.

Oh, look it up.

There’s something immensely titillating about standing atop my own personal Mount Sinai like some kind of urban Moses dispensing Old Testament judgement on the unwashed idol-worshipping masses arrayed before me, and in the interest of indulging myself even further than I typically do, I spent the majority of my morning pursuing stories about dysfunctional family relationships – one of my very favourite kicking posts. I’ve said before and I’ll say again that people should really be licensed before they are afforded the privilege of producing progeny, and if you take nothing else away from today’s stories, I hope you’ll join me in forwarding this platform to your local government, constabulary or brute squad.

If You Don’t Start Drinkin’, I’m Gonna Leave

They say alcohol is the pinnacle of social lubricant and I’d be inclined to agree. My experience leads me to agree with the great Frank Kelly Rich of Modern Drunkard Magazine: put a bunch of sober people in a room and you’ll get strained conversation at best – add a few bottles of good scotch and you’ve got yourself a party. Although I’ve written in the past about the dangers of overconsumption, I’m also a staunch supporter of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle. Drinking with my father, for example, has led us to a better mutual understanding of one another as men and has positively influenced our relationship as father and son. In fact, I heartily endorse imbibing with your parental units – you’d be amazed at the kind of interpersonal work that gets done over a few vodkas or a good bottle of cognac, and it makes for fabulous blackmail material later on down the line when you produce the pictures of your mom dancing on a table wearing a lampshade whilst doing her best Cher impression. Chances are your mom doesn’t understand Facebook and her unmitigated fear that her sewing circle or book club or whatever might one day be privy to that incriminating evidence of her losing battle with a handle of cheap champagne makes for excellent leverage when she wants to write you out of the will in ten years’ time.

Thanks to my German/Irish heritage I was introduced to the joys of the juice fairly early on in my life, and though I don’t necessarily agree with the arbitrary Age of Majority implemented by most major governments, I do have to grudgingly admit there is a line of common sense that dictates how young is too young to take part in the very grown-up world of bleary hookups and bludgeoning hangovers. And I think we can all agree that while nineteen or twenty-one might be a bit late in the game, five might be a bit out of order.

The first instalment of Fucked Up Family Dynamics brings us back to Australia. Victoria resident Kylie Eastwood obviously read her AA literature and discovered that “drinking alone” was one of the top ten signs you might be a drunk, so in order to validate what the Herald Sun called a “liters a day” drinking habit, she decided to share the experience socially. More specifically, she sat down at a table with a bottle of homemade grappa across from her five year-old son and played “one for you, two for me” until her kid was so sloshed he could barely stand or speak. When the cops showed up they performed a breathalyzer on the hard-drinking toddler, who blew a .09 BAC before, one assumes, calling the officer a twat and vomiting on his shoes.

Horrifying as this story might be, it only gets better. When Eastwood was hauled in front of a court to answer for this latest in a long list of alcohol-related offenses (including but not limited to leaving her kids – all under age 10 – at home alone while she went out on the town, and refusing a breathalyzer when she was pulled over for a DUI), her poignant defense was that she “just wanted to have a drink with her son because he likes his alcohol.” I imagine at this point her lawyer pulled a Pontius Pilate, washed his hands of the whole boozy mess and went down the pub for a pint.

Intrigued by the idea that such an upstanding contributory member of Australian society was not sterilized outright and possibly sent to some other penal colony (historical humor), I did a little digging on this pinnacle of motherhood, and it turns out the Australian court system is, to put it kindly, spectacularly incompetent. To put it unkindly, they are the legal equivalent of a pack of slap-happy feeble-minded bleeding hearts who probably punish their children’s disobedience with candy and video games and a written apology for their failure to provide more.

It turns out that in Australia, the ability to take care of the five-month-old love child you spawned with a seventy year-old man for a period of thirteen months while pregnant and only having consumed alcohol once during said pregnancy reflects a positive step forward, which leads me to the inarguable conclusion that the Australian legal system has its priorities seriously ass-backwards. They expend uncounted resources ensuring their children don’t have access to violent video games, but they’ll let this boozy trollop sire frog-spawn after frog-spawn and encourage them to join her in binge drinking – and they won’t even punish her for it.

Kylie got off with her third suspended sentence thanks to the enlightened judgement of Magistrate Clive Alsop, who is clearly a prime candidate for Tuesday’s offer of an Alex James Ice Pick Lobotomy. I’ve got a certain amount of patience for people battling with addiction, but I also actively encourage people to pick their drinking partners wisely – if your cohort is violent, misogynistic, or not yet old enough to tie his shoes without assistance, it’s time to take a long, hard look at your life. And then, potentially, jump off a bridge. Magistrate Alsop expressed concern about the effect on the children if their mother was jailed – to which I must reply that “staying sober” is one effect I think could lend a point or two to the “pro” side of this equation.

But take heart, liquor lovers – just because you can’t drink with your toddlers doesn’t mean you can’t use them to help illegally stock your beer fridge. Don’t believe me?

Bremerton Boozer Burgles Beer By Bringing Baby

We all know babies are good for some things: picking up chicks, selling for a profit on eBay, and vicariously living out your failed expectations of yourself by forcing them to live your dreams are just a few. But it turns out that infants also make great fall guys for heists. Good heists always need fall guys, because most criminals are so phenomenally sophomoric in their implementation of plans they need someone to – as it were – take the fall when the plan inevitably goes tits-up. And who better to complete this tortured breast analogy than a mammary-suckling newborn with no cognitive skills to speak of and no real way to escape when the rest of the hoodlums hop into the getaway car and are promptly reduced to particularly gory Swiss cheese by the arriving SWAT team?

Enter the unnamed hero of our second foray into Family Fuckery, a 22 year-old father (and how I loathe to string those words together) who was apparently so short on cash, doubtless due to funnelling all his money into providing nothing but the best to his Oops Baby, that he decided it necessary to try and pilfer some ill-gotten watery American beer from the local QFC, using his child as a combination distraction/ad hoc smuggler.

It was 2:20 on a Saturday afternoon when the unnamed deadbeat entered the store, idly skimming the row of Penthouse magazines before casually making his way to the beer fridge. The story didn’t specify what kind of beer he chose, but I’m willing to put money on Bud Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon or Beast. In any case, he deftly snuggled his ice-cold six pack into the stroller next to his illegitimate child – and upon reflection he probably could have hidden considerably more had he invested in one of those monstrous luxury strollers favoured by the snooty rich types who live a few streets over from me and are frequently seen decked out in matching designer exercise gear, highstepping around my neighbourhood on their way to pick up their daily low-fat-cappo-mocha-upside-down-latte-with-a-hint-of-nutmeg while their newborns instinctively steel themselves for a life in which genuine parental affection will be replaced by divorce-related guilt payoffs and the newest X-Box (irrelevant tangent).

Anyway.

Douchebag Dad made for the door, hoping his cleverly-concealed hops beverages would be looked over in favour of the clerk making disgustingly saccharine goo-goo-ga-ga noises at the little overdeveloped foetus, but sadly it was not to be. The sharp-eyed clerk ignored the uppity little zygote and keenly noticed the would-be crime in progress, at which point he rightly assumed the easiest way to keep the man from hauling ass would be to hang on to the stroller – even if he didn’t mind leaving his kid behind, he surely wouldn’t leave the beer he was risking legal repercussion to secure.

Turns out Daddy want to have his beer and drink it too, and a tug-of-war ensued in which Baby got thrown out with the proverbial bathwater when the stroller took a tumble. Dad made a dash for the door, but at the last minute his one surviving neuron fired and he remembered his kid was still dumped out on the floor, so he rounded on the clerk and clocked him in the face while trying to recover his wayward child and his hard-won booze. The clerk got the upper hand and took Daddy to the floor where he sat on his head until police arrived. Meanwhile Daddy’s accomplices who were apparently waiting in the Getaway SUV rushed in, grabbed the baby and departed just as rapidly, leaving their buddy stuck under the ninja clerk to face criminal charges. They were even kind enough to drop the kid off with its mother, who promptly called the police and confirmed the identity of Daddy. He’s currently in the slammer awaiting trial – he’s been charged with second-degree robbery, because apparently shoplifting turns into something more sinister when you bash a dude across the face. Who knew?

As unpleasant and ultimately futile as this crime turned out to be, I have to award the guy points for innovation – I’ve heard of drug dealers using infants to smuggle drugs before, but using a baby as a cover to steal shitty sub-par beer from a convenience store? That’s either solid criminal thinking or comedy gold. Or both. And people ask me why I have so little faith in humanity.

Now that I’ve managed to either alienate or ingratiate myself to every parent in my readership (I’m never sure which) I have to give credit to the other side. There are two sides to every story – it’s like me bitching for days on end about the Toronto Transit Commission when I really should have given due course to the asshole commuters who make my life just as unfathomably frustrating as any Commission worker ever has.

With that in mind, let me go on record here: kids are fucking terrible, and as much as I castigate bad parenting, being a bad son or daughter is just as reprehensible. So in the interest of keeping this blog as bipartisan as I humanly can without cutting myself into two distinct personalities with a table saw, I give you the Worst Son Ever.

Tell Me To Do Chores, Will You?

Let’s face it – nobody really enjoys household chores, myself included. Taking out the garbage is a smelly, unpleasant job, especially in my home where the garbage consists of fruit peelings, empty bottles of scotch, used condoms and old cheese (hint: one of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn’t belong – and a cookie to whoever points out which one). Doing dishes is the bane of my existence as my roommate is a pretty talented cook, but between him and his girlfriend they can utilize every dish, pan, plate, fork, pot, mug, vegetable peeler and spatula in the entire place just to make Kraft Dinner. Laundry is a trial of Sisyphean proportions when I have to deal with Methuselah’s Washer and Dryer located in the basement of my fourth-floor walk-up, particularly when there’s only one of each in a building with sixteen apartments – I frequently get all the way down there only to discover one of my hateful neighbours has decided to wash their stinky child’s entire wardrobe in five consecutive loads, relegating to me the dubious distinction of That Asshole who wakes up the entire main floor by doing my laundry at 3am. And I’m saying all of this as a grown adult; it’s probably even worse for kids and teenagers who’d rather be beating one another over the head with rocks or having a wank over the Sears catalogue, respectively, than cleaning toilets or mowing the lawn. And sometimes, the desire for fun over toil lends itself to slight overreaction; see below.

John Caudle is your average fourteen year-old American boy, if you discount the part where he’s mad as a sack of porcupines dosed with ephedrine. You see, John – much like me – rather dislikes household chores. Dislikes them to the point that he’s willing to argue with his mother and stepfather over the tedious but ultimately important task of Cleaning His Room. This, in and of itself, is unremarkable. What is remarkable is the steps young John took to ensure he would never, ever have to clean his room again. Specifically, I’m referring to the occasion where he stole his stepfather’s twin .22 caliber pistols and shot both Stepdad and Mom. And I don’t mean shooting into the ceiling Bruce Willis style to make a point (and, incidentally, a rather involved drywall repair); he shot and killed both of them – first Mom at the apex of the argument, and then Stepdad when he came home from work. Little Johnny then proceeded to spend the rest of the day watching movies and playing video games. One can only assume he didn’t clean up the blood.

It gets better. The next morning he drove his dead stepfather’s truck to school (which I’m sure made him the toast of the ninth grade) where teachers and friends reported he was “happy as he’d ever been”. Now that’s a bit ambiguous, isn’t it? Maybe he was never that happy. Maybe he was a mopey little prick. Maybe he spent math class doodling blueprints of his school with big red Xs on the spots where he planned to put the bombs. Never thought of that, did you Classmates? Well perhaps you should, since your little friend Johnny just showed up with his mother’s fucking dried blood still on his hands. Just saying.

Johnny was later pulled over by police who, unsurprisingly, couldn’t contact his parents. Turns out police were already at his house though, after his grandfather discovered the results of his little tantrum laid out on the floor. The boy is now in jail awaiting trial, and the jury’s still out on whether he’ll be tried as a grownup.

Okay. Wow. Okay.

My first inclination is to hang this kid up to dry – try him as an adult and let him find out what happens to cute-yet-feral little boys in Big Person Land, especially when Big Person Land is populated predominantly by large angry men who haven’t seen a woman in twenty years. It might sound harsh, but there’s something irrevocably fucked up about a kid who can murder two people in cold blood because he didn’t want to take out the trash. Oh, I suppose we could argue all day about whether or not stepdad was diddling him on the side or whether mommy loved him enough, but the fact that he spent the rest of the day chilling out with the rapidly-cooling bodies with no apparent ill effects suggests to me that maybe, just maybe, there might have been some faulty wiring in that unbalanced little brain of his.

But on the same token I have to bring up this tired old chestnut in the interest of giving the opposition equal time: why the hell did Stepdad have pistols hanging around in the first place? I know the vaunted Amendment gives all Americans over the legal age the right to bear arms, but you’d think with an angsty teenager hanging about casting you sideways murderous glances every time you ask him to dust the parlour, he might have been somewhat more careful with the placement of his firearms. A locked cabinet comes to mind. Or, you know, not owning guns. Again, just saying. Not saying they deserved it, but just saying nonetheless.

Anybody want to place bets how long it will take before somebody starts blaming Call of Duty, MTV or Hollywood for this latest jewel in the Crown of Unbelievable Shit Kids Will Do?

So What Did We Learn?

Sometimes it”s hard to “learn” anything from these posts, I think, other than “Alex James Has An Uncomfortable Obsession With Tragedy”, or perhaps “Alex James Is A Heartless Prick Who Mocks Other People’s Pain”, or even “This Website Sucks And I Think I’ll Go Read Gawker Instead”. But in the interest of having my Jerry Springer Final Thought moment, I’ll give it a shot anyway.

The wheel keeps on turning, as they say, and fucked-up parents breed fucked-up kids. The weird part is that it seems to be somehow normalized across the population graph: you can point to dozens of cases personally where perfectly normal parents were blessed with a baby Ted Bundy, and countless others where great kids come out of downright criminal parental situations. I figure there’s a sprinkling of good people in a sea of assholes, and those good people wind up getting dispersed more-or-less evenly throughout the world – seems to me I meet cool people wherever I go, despite the overwhelming prevalence of the aforementioned assholes.

I’ve said what I need to say about parenting before, and I’ve made no secret of my distaste for children; I sometimes wish, though, that I could scroll through Digg first thing in the morning and find stories about functional family units living a generally happy life that doesn’t end in some kind of Hammer-Of-God tragedy or on an episode of Intervention. Of course, if I head down that road, next I’ll be pining after kittens and ponies and rainbows, and rainbow-coloured ponies made out of kittens. And you don’t want that. Believe me.

3 Responses to “We Are Family: Top Three Dysfuntional Relations”

  1. Shayla February 5, 2010 at 9:44 AM #

    Yeah, sometimes parents are so awful it’s just disgusting. In Cuba, we saw this woman who came with her two daughters (aged approximately 7 and 13), but she spent the entire week publicly making out with this random guy she met down there — as in while lying together in reclining beach chairs or straddling him on a bar at the beach bar. As in, WHILE HER KIDS ARE RIGHT BESIDE HER, SOMETIMES TALKING TO HER. It was just gross. I also watched her two kids go to the bar and order cups of beer to bring back to the room for them. Eww.

  2. Shayla February 5, 2010 at 9:45 AM #

    *straddling him on a chair, not a bar. She wasn’t THAT gross.

  3. Neil O. Foley February 26, 2010 at 5:03 AM #

    I’ve got trouble with seeing your site correctlly through the newest version of Opera. It looks ok in Explorer 7 and Firefox though.Have a really great day.

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