Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Time to Throw Down

Yes, I am fully aware that my posts sometimes run in themes. And I am unashamed. So, here's another on on the parenthood...thing. (I do, so, try to avoid the word "parenting.")

My sons love to hit me with hypothetical situations. Bear in mind, these are the hypotheticals of a nine and eleven-year-old. I get things like: "If the house were on fire, would you save us or the dog?" Of course, when I answer that I would save all of them, I get: "But if you had to choose..." When I say I would save my sons over the dog, I usually get lambasted and then have to sit through a sermon on how ridiculous it is that everyone, including God, thinks humans are more important than animals. It's around that point that I pretend to get a phone call or something -- rather than get into the labyrinth of logic that sprouts out of the fact that I really do, in many ways, prefer animals to humans...

Anyway, yesterday, my nine-year-old came in red-faced after having played with the boy across the street. Apparently, the boy left our gate open and my son said he needs to remember to shut it so that our dog doesn't get out and get run over by a car. The boy, no doubt trying to save face in light of his transgression, proceeded to explain to my son that he doesn't care about our stupid dog and that he would laugh if she got run over by a car.

When my son was relating this story, he began announcing (still quite emotional from the exchange) that he would "kill" the kid if he laughed after such an event.

Trying to be the enlightened father, I began to riff on turning the other cheek and whatnot. "What good would it do to hurt the boy? -- would it change the fact that we had lost our dog? -- is violence the answer?"

Then, a devil -- who looked oddly like John Wayne in True Grit -- popped up on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. And, you know what? I listened.

For the love of Pete -- how enlightened are we going to get?

"Come to think of it," I said, to my son, the Devil Duke grinning along with each word, "that would be the perfect time to lump someone up. Someone laughs when your dog dies, he does, in fact, deserve a good thrumping."

My wife froze with her soup spoon halfway to her mouth. (I don't think she could see the Duke on my shoulder.)

Because...I'm right, right? There is a time to throw down, isn't there? There comes a time when someone needs a physical message that his actions or even his words are not going to be tolerated.

The time is rare, but it does come.

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