Monday, August 29, 2011

The Penalty for Transgressions

I recently asked my dear readers to come up with blog ideas for me, because I'm tapped out. In return, you get no money and no reward of any kind. But you get your username printed here, and I'll link to your blog or website if you have one, and that's kind of cool in a no-money kind of way!

Here's a suggestion I got from user Midgetturtle:

Hey Bob, tell us about the special kind of torture your parents exacted when you came home inebriated. Then tell us how you plan to punish the transgressions of your little angels when they come in at 2:30 smelling like booze :D

First off Midgetturtle, thank you so much for your input! Second, I love your name. I love midget anything, especially midget mullets, but a miniature turtle sounds kind of cute, too. As long as it's not a miniature snapping turtle.

A miniature turtle with a mullet would rock, though. Think about it.

Anyway, onto the request. What did my parents do when I came home inebriated?

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Answer: Nothing.

OK, so "nothing" was the short answer. The long answer is that I didn't really go out a lot when I was in school, and if I did then I usually wasn't drinking. Between studying, soccer and dating, I didn't have a lot of time to do much else. The only extra-curricular activity I did outside of soccer was to join the debate club, and I had a great time yelling at people about nuclear proliferation, abortion and the single-child policy in China. (We lost most of our debates, by the way, but we had fun.) And friends don't let friends debate drunk.

Basically, I was a perfect angel.

Now, had I lived with my parents while I was in college... well, that's a different story. My parents might have disowned me! It wasn't that I was drunk all the time - I wasn't, as I've never been a big drinker. But we had some parties that just got totally out of control. And because we lived right off campus on W. Parker at the South Gates of LSU's campus, the LSU cops thought we were the Baton Rouge cops' problem and vice versa.

It was amazing. Man, I miss college.

So I never came home drunk, but there were definitely some nights when I did come home late, though. And I usually never called my parents every few hours to tell them where I was like they wanted, because I usually always stayed in the same place that I told them I was going in the first place. So that made my parents nervous. And when I did come home, my mom was always waiting up on the couch for me, and she was always pretty ticked off. Had I just called, everything would have been OK. They just wanted to know that I was safe.

As a kid, the first few times my mom got mad at me for being out late, I couldn't understand why she was angry. "I'm 16!" I thought to myself, even though I was probably 18. I always forget what age I am. "I should be able to stay out past curfew with no repercussions at all, dagnabbit!"

But, let me get serious for a second here.

One time I was severely annoyed at having been chewed out about being home late, and vented to one of my friends. My friend said, "My parents don't care if I stay out late. It's great. I can do what I want, when I want, with whoever I want, and they don't say a thing." My friend was living in a guest house outside his parents' house, was failing out of school, was getting addicted to drugs, was dating a disgustingly horrendous girl, and I had seen his father literally kick him in the ass in front of a group of people because my friend didn't want to play basketball with his dad. It was a downward spiral, and I could see it happening right in front of my face and couldn't do anything about it - except distance myself from him.

And that's when it hit me:

My parents stayed up late and chewed me out because they care. I had never realized it before, but I had friends whose parents didn't give a shit about them. That was a completely foreign concept to me. My parents were so loving, so encouraging, always there for me... just thinking about not having that support system really put things into perspective for me.

So, Midgetturtle, to answer the other half of your question: What will I do if my kids come home at 2:30 in the morning smelling like booze?

I'll chew them out. They'll be grounded. I'll make the next day miserable for them - I'll vacuum while they're recovering from their hangover, I'll make them eat disgusting food for breakfast so they puke, and I'll play loud music just to annoy them.

But I'll also give them a big hug and say a prayer to God that they made it home safely. And hope that they at least have the decency to call me if they're going to be home late next time, or to call me if they need a ride.

Not that any of that worked on me. But, you know, it's worth a shot.

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