Saturday, March 20, 2010

Stay away from my kid, you creep

Mom, Dad and a kid who looks a bit too big to be sitting in a high chair are sitting at a table at what looks to be a moderately-priced restaurant when mom has to leave for a moment- no doubt to "powder her nose," as it were.

Owen Wilson's brother informs us that "an innocent evening out is about to go very wrong."

Well, of course. How on EARTH is daddy going to be able to take care of his kid for five minutes? I mean, who does he think he is, MOM?

As too-big-to-be-in-that-chair brat starts screeching, letting the entire restaurant know that, once again, two selfish pricks decided that instead of springing for a fricking baby sitter, they would treat the world to an evening with their obnoxious bundle of Oops, Owen Wilson's brother whips out his AT&T phone and quickly downloads a cartoon. Wilson's brother hands the phone to clueless, desperate dad, whose efforts to calm his insufferable little brat's attention by making funny faces and jiggling his keys have of course fallen flat.

Naturally, the sight of the cartoon on the nifty AT&T phone sends the little monster into a zombie-like state. Dad has learned a valuable lesson which he will no doubt carry into his kid's formative years- - if you want your offspring to stay out of your hair, give them a cellphone with cool Apps. If you want them to be seen but not heard, give them Unlimited Talk and Text. If you want them to occupy absolutely none of your time, keep them hypnotized by glowing little gadgets.

In the Bad Old Days, Daddy might have had to develop some kind of relationship with this kid. Maybe he would have been forced to learn his son's favorite Dr Seuss or Richard Scarry books. Maybe he would have begun the process of teaching his son how to act in public in a way that does not cause discomfort for others. Thank God, those days are over! Now when you put the kid in the family SUV, you can pop in the copy of "Finding Nemo" right after you buckle him in. When you get to the restaurant, you can download cartoons to keep him transfixed while you do your adult stuff. Heck, when he gets just a little older, you can give him "personal time" with his own hand-held TV. Until he hits eight or nine, of course, which is around the time you'll be wanting to encourage his lifelong obsession with his phone.

And it all starts with Owen Wilson's brother handing over cellphones like a fucking drug dealer offering a free fix. I want to see a parody of this commercial where the dad informs Wilson that he doesn't really believe in responding to bratty behavior with instant gratification, and that he can shove his "helpful" suggestion up his ass. Because, oddly enough, this Daddy would like to model decent behavior to his son- and contrary to AT&T's opinion, cell phones really aren't adequate substitutes for human interaction.


  1. OMG! I'm glad I'm in China and don't have to see this garbage. While cell phones are everywhere here, the Chinese generally cherish their children and pay attention to them.

  2. I think "Bullshit" is a little strong- you've just had a different experience, that's all.

    My mother or father would have taken us into the parking lot until we calmed down. They had enough respect for the rights of others not to subject people trying to have a nice meal to antics of their kids. The idea of encouraging the strange man at the next table to entertain us probably never occurred to them.

  3. Would it kill these people to read a book instead of playing with their cyber-toys? "The Machine Stops" seems quite appropriate at this juncture.

  4. Judging from what I see on my daily walks, yes, it would absolutely kill some adults to put away their fucking toys for a few minutes and give some attention to their kids. I see the same scene replayed over and over again- kid asking mom or dad questions, mom or dad mumbling half-responses while their eyes are glued to their little screens and they tap away. Eventually, I imagine the kid "gets it" and learns to keep quiet during their "quality time" with mommy and daddy.

  5. My parents would've slapped us into next week, which is exactly why we would never have behaved like this kid to begin with. And, no, they didn't hit us often. They just made us acutely aware that they were willing to do so. That was enough.