Monday, January 4, 2010

With Every Dumb Thing, There Is A Story To Match

My co-worker is chomping on chips, within earshot, and I'm about to CRAWL OUT OF MY SKIN.  The sound of people eating makes me crazy.
Reminds me of a story.
Doesn't everything remind me of a story?  Well, as they say...I've got a million of 'em.
I remember the very first meal in which my husband, stepchildren, my children and I all sat down to eat together.  Those "firsts" are always interesting, right?  Assessment time. 
Half-way through the meal, I was cringing so hard from the sound of my step-children EATING that I had to get up and leave the table.  In retrospect, this was not a harbinger of good things to come, but, they were children, and I'm not entirely unkind, so, I eventually came around enough to realize that they had no idea that they were doing anything "wrong", because nobody ever taught them how to NOT be chomp food, or chew with their mouths open, or whatever.
Believe me when I tell you that teaching this became Priority #1. 
Shut your mouth when there is food in there. 
Shut it. 
And for God's sake, stop smacking!
This was about the time that my step-children decided that I was some kind of intolerable bitch who hated them.  Not entirely fair.  After all,  I wasn't passing judgement on THEM for not having good table manners, I was passing judgement on their parents!  Duh!  Kids don't know any better!  The fact that there might be awful (and perhaps even evil) people hiding behind those childrens' mouth-smacking table manners didn't occur to me until years later.
Remind me, in the future, to keep people with bad table manners at a safe distance.  Casual friends, yes, but no closer.  I say, if your parents didn't get around to teaching you the simple stuff, then I don't want to know where else they failed.  In the case of my stepchildren, well....their mom?  It was like she purposely did the opposite of "right" or "nice" just to prove that nobody could tell her what to do.  Worst parent, ever.  The only bad thing she didn't do was get them addicted to crack--lying, stealing, extortion, and every level of evil manipulation were openly taught.  Even my most valiant efforts failed to keep them from turning into nasty people.  I know me....I like to think that there is a good person in everyone, and that you just need to draw it out of them with tolerance, showing them the way, etc.  What do you mean, I'm the patron saint of lost causes?  I don't believe in Impossible!  People don't WANT to be mean or evil or nasty!  They just don't know any better!  So what if I'm just a step mother and it's technically not my job?
Man, did I ever have my hat handed to me on that one...last time I saw either one of those children, I could report barely a likable quality between them.  Yikes.  Don't worry--neither of them have anything nice to say about me, either, only, unlike them, I call them awful people because I still have all the scars from all the times they stuck a knife in my heart.  They just hate me because I managed to survive, despite their best efforts.
Please, use my sad, sad story as a cautionary tale to help you remember how serious this parenting thing really is.  We're not f*cking around, here.  You're making PEOPLE, OK?  Kind of a big deal.  When you screw it up, you're usually not the one who suffers--it's all the other people that kid comes into contact with for the rest of their lives.
Is my co-worker an awful person?  No--not even close.  She is a delightful, cheerful, caring and thoughtful person.  Would I ever live with her?  Hell no.


  1. "...if your parents didn't get around to teaching you the simple stuff, then I don't want to know where else they failed."

    A. Men. Amen.

    May I have that gun permit now that I can easily identify who to shoot?

    Thank you.

  2. You don't have your conceal and carry, IDB? What the hell? Coulda sworn you'd be packin'... ;-)

  3. It occurs to me that I should mention that both children (uh, they're both over 18 now, so I suppose I can stop calling them that...) quickly picked up on the table manners thing, and became more than acceptable dinner companions. It was just all the other stuff I "failed" to "fix".


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