Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Night with Button-Bright

Of all the things that a parent must do, is there anything worse than a sleepover? Not only do you have to put up with some horrid spawn for an entire night, you’re virtually powerless when they go off the rails, and society frowns upon putting them in a sack and tossing them in a river.

This weekend we hosted another child overnight. In addition to confirming my decision to have a vasectomy, it gave me an abiding dislike of the parent of the other child. I’m sure she’s a wonderful parent, it’s just that her son is, well, kind of a doofus.

See, the other parent was in a bind and needed somebody to watch little Doofus overnight because of a work function. So like all conniving parents she created the idea that little Doofus wanted to come have a sleepover with my son. After brainwashing Doofus into this idea, she suggested it, and like fools we agreed without consulting the boy.

When I told him about it, my son asked if he could have a sleepover the same night at somebody else’s house. This was the first sign of trouble. Apparently, he doesn’t care for Little Doofus.

The second sign of trouble was when it became apparent that little Doofus was in love with my daughter, to the point of wanting to eat, drink, and go to the bathroom with her. She took it all pretty well, except the whole bathroom thing.

Her first stalker at only 8 years old. Should I be proud?

I kept telling her she could solve that by punching him, but her school has taught her to be nonviolent and resolve things by “negotiation.” It’s no wonder we can’t get Iran to give up nukes, if we’re teaching kids that it’s not okay to punch people who try to go to the can with you.

But I digress. We quickly discovered Little Doofus’ favorite phrase: “I’m the guest, so…”

You can follow that with whatever you want: I get to go first, I get the biggest piece, I get to pick my nose, whatever. I don’t know where this piece of lifestyle advice came from, but it forms the cornerstone of Little Doofus’ world view: guests pee on your leg and tell you it’s raining.

He’d been there an hour when my son was begging me to let him go play at somebody else’s house. I had to admit the logic was pretty sound: Little Doofus liked his sister better anyways, and that way my son could be a guest and do whatever the hell he wanted, too.

I begged Wifey to let me take the boy over to another kid’s house, maybe a kid two countries away, but she wouldn’t let me. She didn’t like Little Doofus either and didn’t want to be stuck with him..

We sorted out Little Doofus as best we could, telling him that we still had to share and all that crap. I was never so glad for bedtime to come as I was that night. I would have drunk away my sorrows, but Wifey (who is a teetotaler) beat me to the booze.

The next morning, we got everybody up and ready to go to church. My son, knowing that Doofus’ mom would collect him there, got up at 5 AM and was trying to convince us to hit the road “so we can get there on time.”

I thought it was a good plan, but Wifey wouldn’t hear of it. Killjoy.

When we did finally get to church, Doofus’ mommy was nowhere to be seen. The service started, there was plenty of music and blah-blah, but still no Madame Doofus.

“If she doesn’t show up,” my wife whispered. “I’m going to kill you.”

“Why me?” I asked.

“Because I can’t kill Doofus.”

“That hardly seems fair,” I said. “Why don’t you kill Madame Doofus?”

“Because she’s not here, dipshit!”

Finally Madame Doofus rolled in, about fifteen minutes late, and her little angel immediately rushed to her to tell her what an awful time he had.

But wait! It wasn’t over! After church, Doofus sidled up to me with something and told me that my son had “given” it to him.

Listen, I know my boy, and he doesn’t give away his toys, particularly not to children he’d rather see beaten by a playground bully. Particularly not the object in question. So I asked Doofus, “what will he say if I ask him about it?”

“You don’t have to ask him,” Doofus said. “He told me to tell you he gave it to me.”

Curiouser and curiouser.

Notably, after the bonding of the previous 24 hours, my son was physically as far from Doofus as the room would allow, in the far corner of the room, hunkered behind a row of plastic chairs with guards posted out front. He had left strict orders that Doofus was not to be admitted.

“Let’s go see, then.” I drug Doofus over and informed my son of the situation: “Doofus here says you gave this to him. Is that true?”

“What?” He looked at me like I had three heads sprouting from my shoulders. “That’s not supposed to leave my room! What’s it doing here? Where did it come from? I didn’t give that to anybody. Give it back now, you dirty thief! GUARDS! OFF WITH HIS HEAD!”

He was actually gesturing at me, but since his guards consisted of Wifey and the girl, I felt pretty safe. I informed little Doofus that there’d been some sort of misunderstanding, and that I didn’t think this arrangement made any sense. I made sure to put the item in question in my pocket, because you can’t be too careful about these things.

Doofus tried one last tactic: “You know, I was the guest, so I should get to keep that.”

“I’ve got a better idea,” I said. “Why don’t I get you a nice, frosty glass of lead paint to drink? It’s paint-tastic!”

“Dad!” The girl yelled. “Don’t do that! It’s poisonous!”

Damn kids. What are they teaching them these days?

Sticky-Fingered Doofus ran off, upset, never to be heard from again.

“And don’t come back!” Wifey yelled after him.

“Yeah!” Yelled the boy. “And stay away from my sister!”

While I don’t necessarily approve of yelling it, I heartily agreed with the sentiment.

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