Saturday, February 11, 2012

“Up against the wall, redneck fathers ...”

You knew it was coming, didn't you? The obligatory and mega-viral “dad shoots daughter’s laptop for writing naughty Facebook post” video. You can also read his stimulating commentary on his YouTube page, or we can break it down for you here.

Basically, a daughter was angry with her parents for having to do chores (although, in her defense, it might be quite a list for a school night). She airs her displeasure with her parents by posting an angry, potty-mouthed tirade on her Facebook wall. She also blocks her parents from seeing the posting. However, Big Daddy is way too clever to be stopped by that (as he explains how). He proceeds to read her sordid tale, to the entire world, in this clip. Then he shoots his daughter's laptop with his gun. After all, this is Texas.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk about me.

For three of his teenaged years -- from halfway through eighth grade until about halfway through his junior year of high school -- my son Paul and I had a falling out. Aside from the occasional holiday visit, he refused to come every other weekend per the custody agreement. His mother considered it a matter between the two of us, and didn't involve her, if you don't count the aforementioned custody agreement we signed. Any father who ever lost his family to divorce knows that recourse to family court is generally a lost cause.

What continued to amaze Paul was that, for all the trouble he ever got into in those years -- drugs, alcohol, stealing his mom's car because she deliberately left the keys out against my advice in the hope of baiting him, that sort of stuff -- he couldn't figure out how I always knew what was going on. The truth is, I was in his life in ways he didn't know. Every new school year, I met with the assistant principal, and his teachers. I looked at textbooks, I went to parent nights with or without his mother. And I gave them my number and my e-mail address, inviting them to contact me if there ever was a problem. And when there was, he'd get torn a new one via e-mail.

And there were consequences. I never bailed him out of anything, leaving that to his mother, who had to pay for the empty suit passing as a lawyer herself. Seems his old man wasn't nearly as stupid as he thought or his mother had told him. The result? In 2002, Paul was a juvenile delinquent whose mother would have been happy if he just dropped out of school, got a job that let him sleep late, and eventually schlepped his way to a GED. Ten years later, in 2012, he is on an academic scholarship at one of the finest design schools in the known universe, and moonlighting practically full-time as a bartender.

The father in the video doesn't have much more class than his daughter, and he's fortunate enough to live in a state where you can shoot someone just for stepping on your property. But the one other thing he has going for him, is an attention span. Most parents really don't have a clue what goes on in their children's lives. They are shocked -- SHOCKED, I tell you -- when they discover their little twelve-year-old Suzy was found by the police puking her guts out at a keg party, hosted by a friend whose parents were in the Poconos "just for the weekend."

Me, I give the credit to good Saint Joseph, who was my intercessor in all the years that my little Party Dog was pursuing his wayward path.


RobJ said...

As a teenager, I also had a falling out with my dad, who was the noncustodial parent after my parents' divorce. I didn't see him for 1 1/2 years, even though I had a stronger relationship with him than my mom.

Your situation was different than mine, but I think we can agree that divorce sucks.

M.Z. said...

My wife showed me the video because a bunch of her friends liked it on Facebook. About the first two minutes were mildly entertaining. Then it became "What's the point?" About four minutes in I resolved that whatever faults the daughter had, the father had them in spades. If there is anything worse than children acting entitled, it is parents acting entitled. Why the hell should his daughter appreciate that he buys her things? Even parents who beat their children buy them things. Granted, I won't get the opportunity to blow my son's laptop up, but that will be because my son has no need for one. The rant is just one long string of first world problems. Life is not that difficult.