Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Have you ever looked back on your childhood through grown up eyes and realized you had a ‘friend’ that you have absolutely no idea how you even tolerated?

These kids are usually complete ass-hats who survive in your little circle of friends only because each one of you thinks everyone else likes him, so you don’t want to say anything.

I had a friend like that.

One of the things I thought that was most unfair as a kid was that this friend would get into trouble with his mother, and invariably blame it on me…sometimes when I wasn’t even there.

You know the kinds of things I’m talking about. He falls off a tree-swing and rips his new shirt, and I made him do it. He gets caught with cigarettes or other teenage contraband…and they’re not his, I’m making him hold them for me. He has a party while his parents are away, his house gets trashed…and the party was all my idea, and it was my other friends, ones he doesn’t even know, who trashed his house.

This would usually result in an irate phone call to my parents, and I’d get punished.

What was totally unfair was that the opposite wasn’t true. He’d push me in a river or something, and when I got home, soaking wet…I’d tell my mum that it was his fault, and I’d still get punished and told ‘I should have more sense’.

For years I thought my parents invented the saying “If he told you to jump of a bridge, would you do that?”

Let me just state for the record, I don’t hold a grudge against my own parents for this. When a parent calls you and says your son did something, you tend to believe them. Plus, logically, if someone you called a friend was such a complete and utter douche, you wouldn’t be friends with them.

Unfortunately, common sense and logic don’t kick in until well after your teenage years. Plus, if a friend tells you to do something you know will get you in trouble, you really should have more sense.

Long story short, my parents were responsible parents who taught me to accept the consequences of my actions, not to be a sheep and above all, that I was responsible for how I acted regardless of peer-pressure or outside influence. His parents were reactionary assholes who would rather believe anything than the fact that their perfect little angel was really an ass-hat troublemaker.

What I really don’t get is how his parents never once suggested that he should be strong willed enough to not to every stupid thing I supposedly told him to do. It’s like they believed I had some weird voodoo power over him that he was completely unable to resist. I’d tell him to do something, he’d do it, so it was entirely my fault.

Anyway, what sparked this little jaunt down memory lane?

Well, today I had a revelation. I was watching a podcast, and the host said that in order for his viewers to recognize each other in public, a great way to do it would be to print the show’s logo and staple it to their face.

Obviously, this was said it a completely sarcastic way, it was an obvious joke…but my first instinct was to think:

“Damn, that’s the kinda thing that could get this show shut down…all it would take is one dumb kid with his dad’s staple gun…”

That’s when the revelation hit me.

I always assumed that people like my friend’s parents were in the minority. Just one or two fruitcakes in a pile of normal people. Most people realize that the ultimate responsibility for their actions lies at their own feet, right? I mean, I can’t really deny responsibility for a crime because I saw an actor pretend to do it on TV, can I?

Then I realized…these people aren’t a minority at all. They’re the majority. They’re in control of our legal system, our government and our media outlets.

Think about it.

A dumb teenager watches a show like Jackass, tries to recreate a stunt and gets hurt. Some idiot watches a movie and tries to see if he really can dodge bullets and ends up in a wheelchair. Some idiot tries to use his new toaster in the shower and gets zapped.

What’s the outcome? People want Jackass taken off the air, want guns and violent movies banned and ask why it wasn’t explicitly mentioned in the manual that taking a high voltage piece of kitchen equipment into the shower is a bad idea.

Basically, parents have been switched for lawyers, who call innocent parties and blame them for getting their (kids) clients in trouble.

No one ever gives the dumbass who jumped off his garage roof holding an umbrella a clip around the ear and a lecture on how they should have more sense. Instead, it’s all about who ‘made’ them do it. Who ‘influenced’ them. Who the ‘bad apple’ is that’s leading them astray.

It’s not the people who do a stunt safely, under controlled conditions with professional supervision who should get in trouble because some idiotic 15 year old tried to do the same stunt in his backyard. It should be the people who allowed their kid to get to 15 years old without giving them enough sense to not be a dumbass who should get in trouble.

Long story short, it all comes back to people like my friend’s parents:

Why actually think for yourself and accept responsibility when you can deny reality and live in a magical dream-world were everything that you do wrong is someone else’s fault?

1 comment:

OzzyC said...

Opposite side of the same coin...

The parents who are trying to do the right thing are hamstrung by the results of our current legal system... If you try to step up as a parent, you have to worry about the man coming to your door and hammering you for child abuse. /rant