You teach your children some fashion sense
And they fashion some of their own
- Gordon Downie

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Time for a Rant

I try hard to make sure that this blog is a postive place. I have so much to be thankful for and I have very little to complain about in my life. Recently, my uncle passed away and I chronicled his his influence on me in Homage. My uncle was not afraid to express his opinion. He was a brilliant man and it was difficult to aruge with him because he was so passionate and so intelligent.

This post is, in some ways, a tribute to my uncle. There are many many things that drive me crazy. I'm not saying I'm perfect. I have my faults - you need only talk to my lovely wife, children, students or colleagues to find them out. Sometimes, however, it is important to express your opinion in no uncertain terms. This one is for you, Uncle Hutch.

As I mentioned, I'm not perfect. I may well be guilty of some of the transgressions outlined below. Either way, I hope that people read this and reflect. If you're not guilty, my apologies for wasting your time and I hope you laugh. If you are guilty of some of these faux pas, well, now you know how I feel. In no particular order, here are some of the things that make me furious.

Let's start with people who are incapable of blaming themselves. You know what? I screw up all the time and I'm the first to admit it. Hello? Here are my thoughts for the parent who complains that the school has failed your child even though she has accumluated 150 absences in grade 1, 2 and 3. Get your kid to school. Read with her. Do the work your teacher sends home. Ask questions. Attend parent teacher conferences. Don't call a teacher with 25 years experience and ruin her day by threatening to phone the Mayor. Never mind the superintendent, just call the Mayor because he will march right to the school and fix things because you are a taxpayer and therefore the indirect boss of all public servants. That is some pretty quick thinking on your part.

People who do not see their children for who they really are equally frustrating. Often, I feel like saying
"I was unaware that the sun emanates from your child's rectum. Little did I know." I have also been tempted to mention "I had no idea a person's excrement could be odorless? What a blessing." It seems that these people whose vision is corrected by rose lenses are the same people who cannot stand to see their children fail.

Children need to fail. They need to be independent. Children need to solve their own problems. Parents who wade into organizing play dates, call other parents to arrange their child's social calendar and live their lives vicariously through their children are sad. I know that my kids are not perfect. I see them realistically. I hope that they learn to deal with failure and difficult situations. I refuse to be a rescue helicopter.

I am equally appalled at parents who won't discipline their own children. These are the people who let their kids wander, talk and whine during public performances, school assemblies and church services. When I was kid, I didn't dare move when I was a member of an audience or congregation. My parents reinforced that by staying still, listening and paying attention, I was doing the right thing. They didn't threaten to punish or reprimand me because they didn't have to. I sat still because it was the right thing to do.

It drives me out of my mind when one of my kids' teams goes out for a team meal (which is another rant unto itself) and the kids are acting like idiots because they are sucking back jugs of pop and downing sugar packets like they are shooters. Add to this the fact that the service is slow because we decided to bring 40 people to a restaurant at once to eat. What a stroke of genius. I can't imagine why the kids are bored spitless because it took them 30 minutes to get a drink and 60 minutes for an order of pizza bread. Oh, but since I am the coach of the team, somehow I'm responsible for the kids' conduct, regardless of where we are. So, when your future first round draft pick is using his spoon to fling creamers across Denny's at little old ladies with blue hairpieces, it's my job to tell them to stop because I've volunteered to be their coach? Uh huh.

I have a whole litany of traffic-related pecadillos. It seems to me that many people think the only reason for traffic laws is to make people work hard to pass their driver's test. Once people have their license, why would they bother using a signal light? How silly. Why on earth would anyone on the road want to know which way a vehicle is going to travel? For that matter, why would anyone want to read simple signs like "Slower Traffic Keep Right"? Heaven forbid you should move out the left lane when there is a line of 30 vehicles behind them on the Friday of a long weekend? I mean, we all own the road if we pay taxes, don't we?

My final target? People who play out their live's trials and tribulations on Facebook. I don't need to know you have menstrual cramps and I couldn't care less. I'm pretty sure you won't die. Most days, it hurts me to get out of bed, too. That's because I'm getting old and I really don't take care of my body. It's my fault. So, Facebook whiner, the way you feel is likely within your control and if it is that bad, why do you want everyone to know? I look at people like Terry Fox who ran 26 miles a day on one leg with great admiration. People who live in nice homes and have full bellies but still need to spew pathos on their social media need a profound reality check.

Enough. I have a whole litany of topics to address in future rants. I'm tired and grumpy. I better go to bed.


  1. Yahoo! Thank you, thank you! Well said.

  2. Yahoo! Way to go! You tell 'em!

  3. Well, rants are allowed. You've hit some of the biggies. I'm sure you won't let them eat you up. I like the one about drivers most. I hope you had a good sleep.

  4. Guilty of one for sure and maybe more if you would publish them all. Can't say it will get fixed but we'll see as the ticker keeps going. Good stuff.