Dupré: The Real Momma’s Curse

Published 5:10 am Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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Me to drive-thru attendant: Ma’am. That lady you just served ahead of us – did you realize how important SHE was?

Attendant: Why do you ask that?

Me: She zoomed all the way across the concrete lot, and without stopping at the stop sign, zipped in front of me into the opening of your “capture drive-thru”. However, she had to back in and out a few times to get in.

Attendant: *light chuckle*

[Side note: In the same amount of time for her to accomplish this utmost rudeness we could have gone, as we were already in place to turn into drive-thru, and we would have completed our drink order and been on our merry way by time she even got to the menu board]

So, what do you give a grumpy old man who has it all?  How about some fodder for a newspaper article – a true story about nimrods who think that they own the roads and may do anything they wish because their mommies erroneously made them believe they are always right, and they’re entitled to whatever they desire, or to do whatsoever they please.

I used to tell students in my classes, “Your desire for {whatever} doesn’t give you the right to have {whatever}; Someone’s permission does – you either pay for it or ask for it.”  I would get looks from some kids as if I had just grown a second head sprouting from my buttocks

Young Mr. “Get Off My Lawn” Man used to make fun of those who liked to follow the rules and expect others to do the same. My own parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents had gripes that planted a fertile field where familial jokes and impressions grew tall and bountiful over time.

I loved to pop wheelies on our brand new Sears Craftsman riding lawn mower until that fateful day when I was caught in “mid-wheelie.” I just couldn’t understand why in the world my parents were so furious at my “harmless” fun. Now I understand about transmissions, engines and costly repairs. My parents made me understand without loss of life or limb, though the lesson stung a little (mostly in the tuchus).

But WHEN did I become THEM? I can’t say that it’s when I became a parent; I see oodles of folks that prove parenthood doesn’t equal wisdom. My favorite Keanu Reeves line from any of his movies is, “You need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car, even to catch a fish… but they’ll let any {BEEP} be a parent.” [Okay, I lied; that’s only my second favorite – #1 is “Dust. Wind. Dude!” spoken by Ted “Theodore” Logan – “Wyld Stallyns Rule!”]

I can’t say that it’s when I moved out of my parents’ house. I did that at age 17, and I was still very much a cocky and arrogant little man-child, and was so for several years to come.

I also can’t say I became like my elders when I got sick and disabled. There are cranky people of different ages without the ability to cope with today’s entitlement spirit, uncaring attitudes, genuine meanness, and all other manner of foolishness. Conversely, there are elderly with the sweet spirit of angels (insert celestial choir here: “Aaaaaaah!”) who are the picture of serenity on Earth – NOTHING like me.

Perhaps, I’m like the lower mammals (several ladies can attest) with an instinct implanted before birth, but being born at a very early age, it just took many years manifest to create all that is “Me, Fabulous Me!” My parents and elders were imperfect, though good people, and with flaws (thankfully many of them quite hilarious).

I don’t know why now, except maybe it’s because of all those people I laughed at for following the rules, doing the right thing and being responsible. Thank you honorable ancestors. Amen, and amen!

Are you always “right”?  Is your desire to be that next putz in the Dunkin’ Donuts line causing you to do things that would make you to wring your child’s neck (if they were someone else and not your “sweet baboo”)? Are you in your child’s teacher’s face, arguing every point and making excuses for their behavior and lack of effort that are as flimsy as that nightgown you wear to Wal-Mart? [My “non micro-managing” boss just looked over my shoulder and told me I cannot say that last statement. ‘Shhhhhh! I’m about to defy her!’] Are you constantly finding “an angle” to get away with something that would make your grandma slap you silly? Are you going to let your child pop wheelies on your brand new riding lawn mower and pat him on the head for how cute he is?

Well, guess where your kids are going to learn a lot of stupidity – guess where they likely ALREADY did?  Although sometimes a bad egg can come from a good nest, there is a cliché that says The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It’s only a cliché because it’s true! I defer to the Wisdom of Willy Wonka:

Who do you blame when your kid is a brat? Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese cat 
Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame. You know exactly who`s to blame
The mother and the father.”

And then there is another song I often think of as my “middle age” becomes more of a distant vision in the rearview mirror – Harry Chapin’s “Cats in the Cradle.” In the song, the son keeps saying, “You know I’m going to be like you, Dad.” And later, when the Dad gets to be my age, he sadly laments, “He’d grown up just like me.”

Are you REALLY comfortable with the influence you have had in the lives of your children? Or are you going to find them zooming across the highway thinking that they are the most important thing on the road (and NOT that one-ton pickup that’s about to suddenly teach them otherwise – permanently). Or are you going to see their names expertly printed in Gotham 9.5 Bold typeface in the newspaper’s Police Report due to the lack of desire to follow the rules, thinking that others will always take care of their troubles instead? I don’t wish that upon any of you, but yet, here we are. Children certainly don’t need you to be dictators, but they don’t need your friendship. They need guidance.

I am relatively comfortable in the influence I have had in the lives of my kids. Although, I am more comfortable because my children have the influence of my ex-wife. I would not have the children I do now, if not for her. [Gotcha, that’s a double entendre! You see, without her I couldn’t have had th…well, you get it, right?]

So wait your turn for your damn coffee. Back-up that teacher. If you bother to set curfew, or any rule, enforce it. Respect others in your own dealings. Kids will learn from your actions. You see, your momma didn’t put no “Mother’s curse” on you. You’ve been doing all that your own “darned” self. [My “non micro-managing” boss just looked over my shoulder yet again and told me I cannot say damned self right here, so I took the time to change the damned into darned, because damned might be too damned inflammatory. ‘Shhhhhh! I’m about to defy her – AGAIN!’]

Now let’s all hold hands and sing the Oompa Loompa song…

Who do you blame when your kid is a brat? …”

It’s okay if your voice is no good; you can do an interpretive dance instead.

Gary Wayne Dupré is enjoying his second career as the Administrative Assistant for L’OBSERVATEUR and can be reached at gary.dupre@lobservateur.com or 985-652-9545. He’s an old man, so STAY OFF HIS LAWN!