Maybe it’s because I just turned 30 and I’m officially a curmudgeonly old man, but now that I’m a parent I’ve noticed the vast majority of kids today have absolutely no respect or manners.
Never was this more evident than this weekend’s excursion to Chuck-E-Cheese. Oddly enough we were there for my friend’s surprise 30th birthday party (don’t ask, it was slightly odd). But it worked out well for me and MJ because it meant we could bring Will with us. But had I known what was in store for us, I probably would’ve gotten a babysitter for him.
First of all, we went to a location north of Boston and quite honestly, it wasn’t in the best area of town. Subsequently, this particular Chuck-E-Cheese didn’t have the highest caliber of patrons and it showed.
Will was awestruck at first so I had to hold him until he got used to things. After 15 minutes he wanted to get down and immediately he ran toward the games. The only problem was he got knocked down every two minutes from the rampaging hordes of out of control kids. These kids are sprinting through the arcade room and three times they knocked Will over. Each time I stopped the kids and asked them to apologize to Will as well as slow down. One kid, probably 7-8 years old, snapped “No, you ain’t my daddy!” at me and ran away. Another one asked me for a token. Yeah you spoiled little punk, I’m really going to give you a token after you just pummeled my son.
But the blame for this one is squarely on the parents. If they were even in the building they sure as hell weren’t paying attention to their kids. Meanwhile here I am keeping a close eye on Will. At one point he reached out for another boy’s lollipop and I quickly grabbed his hand and explained to him that wasn’t his and it was rude to touch other people. At that point Will turned to the boy and used sign language to say “please.” Will isn’t even a year and a half old, can’t even say the words please or thank you yet, and he’s already got better manners than these little Section 8 hoodlums.
Because I’m nosy, I tracked a couple of the kids because I wanted to see where their parents were. Turns out they were sitting at the table next to us. When I made my way over there I saw one woman with an awful weave paying more attention to her ridiculous looking Freddy Krueger fingernails than her four rude kids. The baby daddy (I know he wasn’t the dad, more on this in a minute) was too busy calling up his “boys” to set up a time to meet at the bar after he “finished with his girl’s damn kids.” He was also dropping F-bombs left and right in the presence of tons of kids. Class act.
I know this sounds racist, but it’s not. It’s an accurate representation of what was going on. And the bad behavior wasn’t limited to any one race. Perhaps the biggest laugh of the night was this lily white kid dressed only in a wife beater, basketball shorts and an ugly Red Sox hat cocked to one side. His wife/girlfriend was off with their older child and he was pushing the stroller. Except he left the baby in the stroller — all alone in the middle of the arcade — to go over and get a drink. I was floored. I stood by the stroller until he got back just in case.
Also, there was a robotic Chuck-E-Cheese mouse at the back of the building. Will was really into it. But then a gang of four kids jumped up there, pushing Will out of the way, and started swearing at the robot mouse. Then they demanded that it start talking and moving. When it didn’t comply, they started beating the mouse. I’m not kidding. They punched it in the face, the stomach, stole it’s hat and tried to pry it’s mouth open while making a pretend gun with their hands and pointing the “barrel” in the mouse’s mouth.
Meanwhile Will is at the age where he copies everything, especially the things that big kids do. So he starts punching the mouse too. I tried to tell him “gentle” and to give the mouse love but he was in monkey see, monkey do mode so I had to take him away.
These parents who allow their kids to run around unchecked should be ashamed of themselves. Their kids are unwashed, foul little miscreants who don’t know the meaning of please or thank you. But it’s not their fault, they’re just following the example of their deadbeat parents who obviously don’t possess said manners themselves.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I was a kid I was punished if I didn’t say please or thank you. And when I got older, I got in trouble when I didn’t hold doors open for people. Manners ruled in my house and my parents demanded politeness from me and my brother. So are manners just a thing of the past or was I just in a ghetto Chuck-E-Cheese with the lowest common denominator?
I really hope it’s the latter.
The one good thing was Will found a Bob the Builder tractor that he spent about 30 minutes on. It was very cute. And he pulled out his “Oh Face.”
We also spent some time at the beach and Will loved it. Well, he loved most of it. Check out this picture of my wife pulling a Michael Jackson and dangling my son off the edge of a sea wall.
And finally, enjoy the cutest albino child in the world experimenting with the sea.