Bagpipes Vs. Brian Regan

Bagpipes Vs. Brian Regan

So this weekend I went see my anniversary present. My sweetie-baby-cutie-wifey-pooh got me tickets to go to see Brian Regan in concert, or the stand-up equivalent, for one of the ten sold out shows in Salt Lake City. It would appear that along with casseroles, JELL-O, and using profanity like “Oh my heck!”, the predominant culture in Utah has a great deal of love for the comical musings of Brian Regan. Now if you don’t know who Brian Regan is . . . well, first off I’m baffled that there might be people out there who might know who I am who have no idea who Brian Regan is. And second, look him up on YouTube, or Netflix, or simply Google the man and listen to his standup, chances are he’ll make you laugh.

That is unless you happen to be a bagpiper. During the show Brian did a little bit about bagpiping, equating at the end of it that there is no real way to differentiate between good and bad bagpiping because they sound pretty much identical. People laughed and clapped and we all moved on to enjoy more jokes. In fact I would not have given the bagpipe joke another thought if it hadn’t have been for the sound of bagpipes being played in the distance as we all walked outside after the show.

At first I wasn’t sure if this was happening on purpose or if it was just sheer coincidence. Its downtown Salt Lake, and when an event is happening there is always a street performer that turns up for a chance to work the crowd for a little spare change during the mass exodus from the performance to one’s car. As Angela and I got closer the piper, the first thing that happened is every teenager that had just been to the show couldn’t help but say the exact same thing, “Hey guys, is he any good? I can’t tell.” Then they all laughed at their little joke, ignoring the fact that they had all just been to the same show where that exact joke had already been told.

It wasn’t until we were on the sidewalk walking past this performer, who was in full Scottish attire, that I noticed something odd. He had no tip collection device in front of him for people to express monetary appreciation for his musical skills in playing the bagpipe. Then to seal the “this is no coincidence” notion I had, he finished the song he was playing and in a loud boisterous scoff said, “Take that Brian Regan!” and started playing a new song.

And that’s when it hit me; this was Regan’s third to last show, which meant that there were seven audience packed performances where that joke was told, and apparently in one of those shows this avid local bagpiper was there. I could almost see him laughing away at all his jokes, until, at first mention of bagpipes he caught a case of laughter sobriety. This man realized that the funny man on stage is daring to match wit against the glorious and near sacred musical instrument “the bag o’ pipes”. I can only imagine that being covered by a wave of laughter all he could do is hold a hard straight face, or perhaps even going so far as to say “Oh no you di’int!” except in the Scottish way, so something like, “Och awa’ and dinnae talk pish!”* (translation: We don’t believe you.) Although, it was Utah, so he probably just sat quietly and then when he got home he called all his bagpipe playing friends and strongly expressed how unfunny Mr. Brian Regan was and that he would not be wasting his money to see him ever again.

* A thank you to Chewin’ the Fat’s skit called Taysiders in Space for that line.

Still there must have been something a bit more to it than that because this guy refused to let it go. He even went out of his way to get the time of another one of his shows, and then in full Scottish regalia, donned his bagpipe, and on a frosty January evening set up just before the show ended and fervently bellowed away on his pipes just to spite a comedian for daring to kid about a bunch of pipes connected to a bag of air.

I can appreciate his passion toward wanting to make a point; I’m just not sure he went about it the right way. I don’t imagine Brian Regan ever caught wind of this one man pro-bagpipe demonstration at one of his shows, and if he did, in truth it’s really just more cannon fodder the whole joke in the first place. Plus, it does create a certain element of concern about the personalities of bagpipers in general.

I know what you’re thinking and I agree, but sadly it only takes one person to screw it up for everyone else. Not everyone obsessed with Jody Foster wants to shoot a president, but whenever one of them now expresses their love for her, there’s always someone in the room who is going to wonder. Just like from now on, whenever I meet someone who loves bagpipes, I’ll always be sure to steer conversation clear of Brian Regan . . . you know, just in case. Still, I probably should have given him a dollar to thank him for the Smirk, and for the reminder to not take things too seriously.

Image Sources:
Google Images, keywords: Brian Regan, playing bagpipes, and tip jar.

Copyright © 2012 Richard Timothy

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

With Utah’s birthday coming up, July 24th to be exact, I thought I‘d get a little jump on the topic of Utah. I have a great deal of appreciation for my state, and by state I mean Utah, the state I live and not my mental state… although the same could be said for that as well. Utah is quite diverse, geographically speaking. When you begin talking about the people, a lot of the diversity is a result of visitors, and people experiencing layovers at the air port.

Still, when you look at the land, Utah does have some beautiful national parks, forests and mountain ranges. Some are teeming with evergreens, rushing rivers and speckled with red and orange stone, arch carved and always thirsty for water. In the northern part of the state you can always expect a nice ensemble of seasons.

Apart from the raw breathtaking beauty of the state, there are also little nuggets that seem to help others appreciate the state as well. Things like snow, for those of the winter sport inclined. The Sundance Film Festival brings with it a spotlight and red carpet for Utah once a year. We even have a professional soccer team, oh yeah, and a basketball team that was relocated from New Orleans decades ago… which explains their name, because let’s face it one of the things Utah is not known for is their Jazz, well they are, just not in the Louis Armstrong sense of the word.

Then there are the things about Utah that you are a little unprepared for. Things like the Gilgal Sculpture Garden. As a standalone name for a garden it’s rather opinion free. When you find out there is a sculpture of a Sphinx there that has the head of Joseph Smith, you begin shacking your head in much the same way you might shake up an Etch-a-Sketch when you need to start over again on your picture. Joseph Smith was the chap that created the LSD religion, the dominant religion for the state. To make a comparison, I guess you could say it would be a little like going into Vatican City and finding a garden with a sculpture of a giant Sphinx with the head of Saint Peter on it… ok so maybe there is one. I have no idea. I’ve never been to Vatican City. Still, either way it’s one of those things that strike you as a bit odd.

Or there is the unhealthy obsession and addiction that mainstream Utahans seem to have with Jell-O. I have no idea where this intense connection to a wiggly green gelatinous food-like substance comes from, but there is also an unrelenting impulse to put shredded carrots in it.

Then there are things that are just odd enough that you are compelled to say, “Yeah, started here in Utah, sorry about that!” A friend sent me an article this morning of one such event. The article made me want to take the time to let you know that we in Utah are sorry about this. I give you… the Candwich! A man by the name of Mark Kirkland, from Salt Lake City, Utah is going to be unleashing a product that is a sandwich in a can.

I was touch disturbed when I first saw this because the first place my mind went was that it was a thick puréed liquid that was supposed to taste like the picture on the can. You can all relax a bit, I read the article to make sure. It’s a meal stored in a can. It has all the makings for a sandwich they show on the front of the can, in the can. Take the strawberry PBJ one for example. The can contains a packet of peanut butter, a packet of strawberry jam, a bun in an air tight sealed bag, and a taffy treat. The peanut butter and jam ones seem harmless enough, as long as you avoid looking at all the preservatives placed in it to ensure it had a shelf life of over one year. Thus giving Twinkies a run for their money as the longest lasting food source after the apocalypse, which will probably be a result of releasing this product into the world?

Let’s just hope they don’t put the word fresh anywhere on the product. There is no way a one year old sandwich is going, that is of course unless it grows a hand while in the can and get a little flirty when you set it free for your own personal consumption.

The one that disturbs me and almost triggers a gag reflex in me if I think about it too much is the BBQ chicken one. Keeping BBQ chicken in a sealed bag that is stored in a can, which is not required to be chilled or refrigerated in any way and has a shelf life of one plus years… well you can call that a number of things, but I’m pretty sure chicken isn’t one of them. Even more disturbing is the thought that if it catches on you know they’ll be adding more and more flavors. I mean if it does catch on, what’s next? Maybe they really will start creating liquid meals for mass consumption, which only pushes us one step closer to the portrayal of humans in Pixar’s WALL-E.

When I think of the great things about this nearly rectangular state, I am proud of Utah. Still, when it comes to being the state that is remembered for giving the world the sandwich in a can, well, it does deflate some of that pride. I guess we’ll have to see where this ride ends. Until then we can always thank this state. For those of you that live here I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being our home.” And to those of you not living here might I recommend, “Thanks Utah, for being you. So we don’t have too.”

What are your thought about the whole Candwich product?

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: Utah, Joseph Smith Sphinx, Candwich, and Wall-E humans.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Happy Almost Independence Day

It is Saturday the 3rd of July*, which in Utah can only mean one thing… fireworks! Yes in the state of Utah any holiday that falls on a Sunday, save Christmas, is celebrated by the state on the Saturday before. It’s kind of a catch twenty-two though. (I would have included Easter in that, but Easter is a Sunday holiday so it’s not like it’s going to get celebrated in a different day for some reason.)

At one end of the spectrum it’s the power of the people controlling and choosing when to celebrate… at least it would be if there was a vote. I know it’s what the majority would vote for, which might be the rational for there not being a vote. At least I really don’t remember a vote, and democracy though assumption is not a government that I’m terribly supportive of. Hence part two of the equation, the perpetual and relentless lack of the concept, separation of church and state. I’m not saying that it’s like Vatican city… ok so maybe I’m saying it’s a little like that. There is a very strong church based control of the laws that get passed in this state.

It is getting better though, we even get the occasional alternate lifestyle supporter, and once we even had an a politician in office in Salt Lake City itself who was openly active in that alternative lifestyle. You’d never see it happen in the rural towns, still Utah is not a completely dark age state. Oddly though, the liquor stores are all run by the state. So all of these hard core religious politicians want to make sure they have control of the alcohol in this state, even though they are against the consumption of alcohol. I have heard, which may or may not be true, that it is the taxes on alcohol that helps pay for the schools, which to me means that if you want smarter children in the state if Utah, you really need to drink more. In fact I think for the rest of the wine parties we have each month I am going to start them off with a toast to the education of Utah’s children. It will be in good spirits and everyone will be drinking with intent and purpose.

I don’t believe there are any dry counties in Utah, so I don’t feel we are quite that archaic. I guess when it comes to Utah all I can do is quote the immortal words of one Bob Wiley from ‘What about Bob?’ fame and say, “Baby steps…” We’ll get there eventually, maybe not in my lifetime, but eventually. Until then I’ll keep celebrating Independence Day on the 3rd instead of the 4th during those years that the 4th falls on a Sunday. Likewise, I’ll continuing ignoring all state hosted New Years Eve celebrations that take place on the 30th of January instead of the 31st because the 31st falls on a Sunday… because that is just plain stupid and in my book utter sacrilege.

One of the things I learned today while out and about, going to a late movie during the same time that the official city run firework shows are going off is the perfect time to catch a movie. You can arrive five minutes after the movie has started and still get your choice of almost any seat in the house. We even caught a few colorful fireballs filling the evening sky on the drive home as well. It was like our own little double feature.

One thing about July in Utah is it is unofficially the official firework month. They legalize fireworks for the month of July for two different patriotic celebrations. The first is the 4th, which is the birthday party for the US. The second is the 24th, which is the day Utah officially become a state, hence the birthday of Utah. On both days there are firework celebrations and the state feels compelled to let the people of Utah light off fireworks during these three weeks without any legal repercussion… as long as you don’t set anything or anyone on fire that is. Granted these are only the state sanctioned and legal fireworks that are allowed, which are sold at the various firework booths that start popping up in grocery story parking lots throughout the month of July. For the more adventurous folks, they will drive about an hour out of their way to cross the state border over in to Wyoming were they can purchase illegal fireworks and bring them home… and quite probably

I have mixed feelings about fireworks, mainly because it’s a very literal variation of the old adage “burning your money”, which I’d like to think I’m against. Lighting off fireworks is more like lighting a hundred dollar bill on fire and watching it burn over an hour long interval, but this really only happens once or twice a year. Still, fireworks seem like a bad investment that I’m just not that interested in making.

Besides, I know that a portion of my state taxes are always going to help fund the state hosted firework shows each year, which does make me a little grumpy if I stop to think about it. Let say that the average firework show costs a hundred-thousand dollars (which is a made-up figure that I have no way of knowing is even remotely accurate). Ironically enough, well, hypocritically enough anyway, I always find it comical that it is illegal for any civilian to own or shoot off any illegal fireworks, which are the big ones that shoot into the air and make big colorful explosions in the sky. Yet, it is perfectly acceptable for the city council to bring in and light off thousands of these illegal fireworks each year. I guess that’s politics for you. The main thing I get grumbley about is that we could use that money to help people in the state that are living below the poverty line, that are homeless and hungry. Instead, we light all that money on fire so people can “Ooooh” and “Ahhhh” for about an hour.

Still, the little person inside me still remembers all of the fun I had based on bad decisions in the name of a good time. Things like holding firecrackers with my hands and throwing them into the air before the fuse ran out and they would explode. My favorite was the Roman candle wars we would have. Roman candles were twelve to fourteen inch long fireworks, about a half inch in diameter. One end had a stake that you would stick into the ground and then you’d light the fuse at the other end and ten to twelve little fireballs would shoot out of the end, burning a different color. They didn’t last that long and would burn out before it hit the ground, still you got ten of those in a row. My brothers and I would actually hold those things in our hands and then run around the back yard trying to hit each other with these baby fireballs. My dad just laughed at us and stayed close to the hose.

There is something hypnotic and inspiring about fireworks. I see it in the eyes of my niece and nephew when they watch them go off and fill the night’s sky with fiery colors. It’s kind of like watching them dream while they are awake. And there is my firework conundrum… inspiring and invoking imagination in the youth, and a huge waste of funds that could help those in need. Hopefully someday the state will find a happy medium. Until then I’ll try to keep this conundrum to myself and try to spend time with the niece and nephew when the fireworks go off and continue to donate to the food bank when I can. I guess that’s my happy medium for the time being. I hope everyone enjoyed, their 4th festivities, even if they happened to happen on the 3rd.

What are your thoughts on firework shows?

Image Source:
Google Images, key words: Utah fireworks, what about Bob, firework tent, watching fireworks, kids watching fireworks.

*I realize that I officially posted this on the 4th, but it was written on the 3rd. Sometimes things take a bit longer to post than I initially expected. Personally I blame hay fever and allergies, but the allergy medicine did play its role as well.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Charmed by Charm… and I even Caught a Plague

I am a bit plagued at the moment, and have been since Sunday evening. No, it is not because I have killed and eaten that damn bird that yes, still flurries against my bedroom window every morning. I will say, at least after a few weeks it’s finally starting to wear down. It now only attacks the window once every 20 to 30 minutes instead of the repetitious attacks that it was so fond of when I first decided that the window was a worthy adversary.

As for the plague, it’s not your traditional “I’m not dead yet” kind of plague. It is however a plague that I imagine everyone has suffered from more than once throughout their life. I’ve honestly lost track of how many times I’ve had it myself. This time is a little more aquatic in theme. I’ve been thinking in a rather repetitious way that I’d like to be… under the sea, spending some time in the shade of an octopus’s garden. Yes, I’ve acquired the infamous “song stuck in my head” plague. And this time around I’m stuck regurgitating an underwater tune that a quartet from Liverpool first sang about back in 1969. I think blaming my friend Kyle for this might be feasible. He’s the one that got me a ticket to the play that I heard the song at. Along with the blame I suppose I also need to thank him, because it was a really good show.

One of the theatre companies in Salt Lake is called SLAC, Salt Lake Acting Company, who just so happens to be turning 40 this next year… well done there. I usually make it to one show a year, and this year I even though I’m planning on going to their next show, I really had no plans on seeing the one I went to on Sunday. The play was called Charm. It’s a new play from a now local playwright named Kathleen Cahill. I believe she’s been in Utah for around three years now. The performance was even a World Premiere. Ohhh I know, sounds impressive doesn’t it? I think it just means that SLAC was the first place on this planet to officially perform the play. It is pretty cool to be able to have that as a snobbish theatre conversation piece. It’s like being that person that saw U2 perform in a pub in front of 25 people and purchased one of their demo cassettes because they thought they just might go somewhere. Or in short, this is one of my “I knew them before they were famous” stories.

One of those truly great moments in life is when you go to see a performance while in a state of ignorance. I had no idea what the play was about and I had no idea what to expect, and the show consistently exceeded any expectations I could have put on it had I known what to expect. I mean when you have no expectations for a show and then leave the show disappointed or unmoved, that is a tragedy. But for this performance, I walked out of the show jovial and assured in my belief that the world is a brilliant place. It made my good day a great day.

The show was, as the program put it, “Magical, surreal and transcendentally goofy.” It was a mostly satirical look at the life of one Margaret Fuller. She was a free spirit that lived in the 1800’s (1810 to 1850). She was very well educated and had managed to accomplish a few firsts in her day. Here are a few things I think are worth knowing about Margaret:

  • She was the first full time book reviewer in journalism.
  • She was a supporter of woman’s rights, woman’s education and the right to employment.
  • She also encouraged prison reform and the emancipation of slaves in the US.
  • She became the first woman allowed to use the Harvard College library.
  • She became the New York Tribune’s first female correspondent covering the Italian revolution.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne friendship with her used her personality for the inspiration for the character Hester Prynne in The Scarlet Letter.

A fare share of this is touched upon in the play. At first I thought a lot of the claims were embellished, because that is what I’ve come to expect from productions about historical figures. I really didn’t think that all of these claims were true. The play definitely peaked my interest about Margaret, and got me researching and reading up on her life. Her early departure from her life was a true tragedy. She only lived 40 years, and was traveling back from Italy with her lover, their child and her newest manuscript. The ship crashed 100 yards from Fire Island, New York and went down. None of their bodies were recovered and the manuscript was forever lost. I know it’s sad, still… what a full 40 years.

Charm took a look, a very playful look, at the relationships between Margaret and Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne. The enjoyment of the play was only reinforced by the consistently strong performance by the entire cast. The set and props were minimal, and the movement and freedom it gave to the performers only added to my overall enjoyment of the play. I’d suggest that if you don’t have any plans between now and Sunday, and you live in the Salt Lake area, you should go check out this show. Sadly, it does ends on Sunday May 9th… so take you mom to it as well. I did do a little internet rummaging and it looks like Charm is part of the 2011 lineup at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. It’s a piece that is definitely worth the two hours you spend watching it.

All that being said, it was during the performance that I heard the tune Octopus’s Garden, which I’ve never really given a lot of listening to. I mean, I think the Beatles are ok, but I don’t love them. I only own one of their CDs and it was a gift from a friend back in 1995 I think. I’ve listened to it a few times over the years, but I really do mean only a few time, like maybe 6 times tops in 15 years. I did go to a Beatles cover band concert last summer, which was a lot of fun. It was an outdoor concert and they were playing with the Utah Symphony Orchestra. I rained a lot I remember, but there was something wonderful about dancing to the Beatles outside on the side of a mountain in a soft cool summer rain with a glass of wine in my hand… it just made for a good night all the way around.

The point is, because I was in such an excessively good mood because of the play, that, when song came on, I connected it with how happy I was at that moment. Now, and for the past few days, I have been continually singing that song to myself and smiling the whole time. Even last night, as I was laying in bed, exhausted and trying to fall asleep, I was half humming, half snoring the melody of Octopus’s Garden to myself. It is subsiding some, but even as I write this and am listening to Neil Young in the background I’m still humming and singing to myself… “I like to be… under the sea… in an octopus’s garden in the shade…”

What of some of your “stuck in your head” songs?

Image Sources:
Goggle Images, key words: Charm by Kathleen Cahill, sleeping birds, Margaret Fuller, and octopus’s garden.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Snow Day!

Damn snow! Yesterday brought our first big snow storm of the year, which resulted in about 12 to 14 inches of crystallized fluff violating everything with miles. For some of you, I’m sure that much snow is the breakfast equivalent of that thin layer of powdered sugar sprinkled over your order of French toast or flap jacks, you know, based on the big picture. But for me, let’s just say that fluffy white stuff just pisses me off.

I’ve always felt it was some sick sadistic cosmic joke that I was born in Wyoming, and have such an utter lack of appreciation for snow. I moved when I got the chance and eventually I got to Utah, and even though they claim, “the greatest snow on earth” it does not mean the most snow on earth. The winters here are a hell of a lot more mild than the ones I had to suffer through in Wyoming. Not to mention, the school system in Wyoming has no concept of “Snow Day.” In 12 years of going to school there, the only time we ever got out of school because of the weather was because it was 45 below and we got to go home half a day early. But the next day it was only 40 below so everyone was required to be back in school.

I’ve had a few of my snow lovin’ freak friends suggest that I try winter activities to help me enjoy the winter more. I usually punch them then they make this suggestion, well at the very least I infer that then they get home I hope their mother crawls out from under their porch and bites them on the leg. Not to mention I have a winter hobby, to stay inside as much as humanly possible.

My problem with winter, and snow, and ice, and all the crap that goes along with it is the cold. If snow wasn’t, well, frozen I think I could actually find myself participating in some of those winter pastimes. Sadly, I have an immense distaste for the cold, actually make that the frozen… whether I mean, cold drinks I’m a big fan of, and were would be if we had not ice cubes for our margaritas on the rocks. I’ll tell you, we’d be drinking something else and there would be a lot more dignity in the world because there would be a lot less stories in the world that begin with, “No margarita for me, I don’t drink tequila any more…” Still, when it comes to a frozen wonderland, seriously Jack Frost, bugger off!

I get that snow is a necessity for this planet. And yes, I will concede that it is pretty, at least it use to be. It use to be that the first snowfall of the year would make me go, “Ohhh, pretty.” Not so much anymore. Not the first snowfall makes me go, “DAMNIT!” and I get all grumpy. Although, I can look at pictures for snow capped mountains or photo’s of winter scenes and agree they are pretty, but I’d never want to go there, at least while the snow was there.

So you can imagine my joy when I open the garage yesterday morning to head to work and saw 14 inches of snow covering my entire driveway. And for the record, this is nothing like putting a bee in ones bonnet, it’s more like putting a popsicles up your… no… sun… place, which I would consider much worse… unless of course you are allergic to bees, in which case, fine you win.

The snow shoveling would not have been that big of a deal if it were not for the fact that we live in a cul-de-sac, meaning the city will not plow there. It only took about 40 minutes to shovel out my driveway, which wasn’t that big of a deal. The problem was the road beyond it. It was just as saturated with snow, except for the area where the cul-de-sac meets the main thru road. The snow plows were kind enough to add an additional 8 to 10 inches of compacted snow right at that T section, helping to block any possible chance my car had of escaping the cul-de-sac so that I could get to work.

Filled with that, “I’ve got to get to work” feeling I started shoveling the road, hoping that in some small way it would make enough difference so that I could get enough of a running start to push though the fortress of snow blocking my waiting commute. After an additional thirty minutes of shoveling, my lower back was screaming a slew of profanities at me, and I conceded to Mother Nature, that relentless bitch, and called the day what it have finally become… a snow day. But not the kind of snow day that suggests that I would actually be engaging in day of snowish activities, no I mean the type of snow day where you do your very best to avoid touching any more snow than you possibly have to.

Once back into the house, called work. I told them I’d be working from home a much as I could and that I would not be able to make it in. I then downed five ibuprofen, ate a piece of toast, when upstairs, got out of my half frozen clothes and took a very hot bath and let my back soak in some liquid sunshine. Once I was warmed up enough, I took a little nap.

Once I got back up, it was time to work… in my pajamas and slippers! I listened to Frank without wearing any headphones and sang along at the top of my lungs. I ate lunch sitting on my couch, watching a collection of RiffTrax shorts. And I didn’t have to drive on frozen roads in traffic to get home when I was done. Yeah it was one of the best work days I’ve ever had. So, still with in some protest let me say, thanks nature. Your relentless, yet necessary, distribution of frozen water made for a pretty damn cool Tuesday, no pun intended.

What are some of your favorite ‘Snow Day’ experiences? If you got caught in this storm, how did your day go?

Image credits:
Google Images, keywords: snow day, shoveling snow, Jack Frost MST, and working-in-pajamas.

Utah… Sometimes you just have to say you’re sorry.

Hey Kid, Your Parents Suck! Part 2

In reading some of my replies, I suppose I should clarify, yes I understand there are always exceptions. What I’m saying is that if the exception becomes the rule then you’re a bad parent. But know I still love you, and people can change.

As promised, in follow-up with yesterdays post, here is a collection of some of my own personally witnessed crap-parenting situations. The first experience that always comes to mind happened a few years ago. I was personally attached to this situation and yeah, let’s just say that looking back, I could have handled the situation a little differently, but that’s hindsight for you, it’s only helpful after the fact, which makes it not very helpful at all.

So my wife and I went to dinner with some old friends. It had been a long time since we had seen them, and I was looking forward to a catching up with them and seeing how life had been treating them. We decided to meet downtown at a local micro brewery/restaurant for dinner. We both arrived around 7 and met up at the front door.

I wasn’t expecting them to bring their four kids, but when I saw them standing next to their parents I actually thought for a second that maybe things will be ok. That thought lasted about 10 more seconds, and then the mom said, “These guys usually eat around 5 and are getting ready for bed by now, and the baby is teething.” My stomach sank and I started clinching my mouth shut, and that’s how I stayed most of the night.

Seriously, who the hell does that? I wanted to give both parents a “stupid slap”. You know the slap. It’s the one you instinctually have to stop yourself from giving someone when they say or so around you that is completely devoid of any rational thought. I imagine this is exactly how McCain felt during his campaign every time Palin began talking to anyone unscripted.

Once seated at our table the mother began verbally expressing that it would be nice if the restaurant had crayons or a kids menu to color or something for her kids to do to keep busy until the food is served. They have brought no snacks for the kids, or anything for them to play with while they waited, and then had the audacity to express that it should be the restaurants responsibility to entertain her children. Talk about deferring you basic parenting responsibilities over to the damn food industry. Personally, I blame Chuck E. Cheese.

My wife was kind enough to get the kids some saltines from a waitress for the kids to eat while we waited for your food. She also got out some pens and paper out of her purse so the kids had something to do. The baby was being held while we waited for food, but once the food arrived, it was placed in a high chair and ignored as we started eating. The baby started to cry at this point.

Everyone around us was starring at our table due to the growing volume of the baby’s cries. The mother just keep talking louder and louder to talk over the crying child. I had had enough. It was re-goddamn-diculous at how consistently awful their parenting had been the entire evening, something needed to be said. So, I opened my mouth and out came, “Can you do something about that?” and pointed at the baby. Everyone at our table stopped talking and just starred at me with half open mouths of half chewed food. I continued, “I mean, can’t you hear that? Why don’t you try holding it or something?”

My wife choked a little on her food, and started squeezing my leg with what I personally thought was excessive force. The mom elbowed her husband who stood up, grabbed the kid and disappeared for the rest of the meal. Was it a bit of an asshole move? Perhaps, but I felt a lot better. Not to mention, it was much quieter, and I think everyone else in the restaurant was grateful as well.

My wife and I now laugh about it, but we never bring it up when we get together with those friends. Was that situation an exception to the rule? I have no idea, but the few times they have brought their kids over to our house… let’s just say not a lot has changed, but I have gotten a little more tactful in how I present things to them.

As for other situations I’ve witnessed, let’s make a list:

  • If you show up to an R rated movie at 9 PM or later… actually make that any movie, I don’t care if it’s rated G! If you show up to a movie theatre with an infant at a late showing of a film, not only are you a horrible parent, but you’re also an asshole. (Ok so maybe this is one of my bigger pet peeves.)
  • If you are of the church going disposition and on some holiday weekend, like Easter for example, you decide to jack your kids up on two pounds of chocolate before church and then get angry when they misbehave. It’s your damn fault! And if you ignore them and let them run all over your place of worship during whatever your preacher person is attempting to convey, you are a crappy parent.
  • If you go to a funeral, wedding, or any type of ceremony involving reverence and quiet, and you think for a second that your high strung kid(s) will behave and sit quietly anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour without making a sound, so you decide to bring them along expecting things to be just fine, you are a daft parent.
  • And if, after you bring your kid(s) to one of these ceremonies and you realize that the kid is not going to sit still and you just let the little monster run around without any supervision, and ignore that they are disrupting the ceremony, you are not only a worthless parent, but you should have your baby producing organs surgically impeded so that the world never has to suffer from another one of your accidental pregnancies.
  • And finally, if you take your kid(s) to a restaurant, for the love of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (feel free to replace that with your deity of choice), do not let them wander around alone, walking up to random tables, and staring at strangers. It makes everyone at those tables very uncomfortable and they will hate you and your child. Please, let’s stop all the negative waves! Keep your kid where it belongs, in your supervision at your table!

Damn! I sure get pissy when I talk about this stuff… still, I’ve said it. I feel better. Thanks.

What about you? What lands on your list of bad parenting? Leave a comment and let me know.