Monday, April 23, 2007

What Is The Sound Of One Boy Yapping?

Our baseball team had its first scrimmage this weekend. As I could have predicted, it started raining about an hour before the scheduled start. Several of the parents called, clearly hoping it was going to be canceled, but I'm nothing if not stubborn, and damn it, I wanted to see some baseball.

Most of the boys showed up. After the rain had lessened from torrent to downpour, we bolted from our cars to the field. The parents dutifully followed, huddling together for warmth under umbrellas and trees. When my youngest complained that he was cold, I told him to go stand in the outfield and hold up his aluminum bat so that the lighting wouldn't hit the rest of the kids. We weren't actually playing in a thunderstorm, even I'm not that stupid (or at least the team mom isn't), but it did keep him from bitching at me for a few minutes.

And what a weekend for for that it was. It started last Thursday, actually, when he was begging me to buy him something. I'm not quite sure what he wanted, I wasn't paying that much attention, but he annoyed me to the extent that he got "The goddamn money tree isn't in bloom" speech.

My other kids know me well enough that they'll usually be quiet for a few minutes when I'm off on this particular tirade. Not my youngest, however. Like I'm stubborn? He's worse, by a factor of 10 or 20. I think he gets it from his mother.

In any event, halfway through a long and involved lecture on Snag Family microeconomic theory, he starts in with, "I know you have enough money to buy it for me. I saw that letter you got from the bank." Meaning my retirement account statement. That'll teach me to leave the mail on the counter.

I tell him, "That's the money I need to retire someday." I doubt I'll ever use it because my kids will be the death of me long before that day, but I like to dream.

"Oh," he says, "you want to retire. I guess that means you're too lazy to work."

"Jesus Christ. That's right, I'm too lazy to work when all I do is haul my sorry hide into the office every day so I can buy crap for you and your brothers. Like the golf clubs you want for your birthday, which at this rate you're never going to get. I'll give them to some poor kids instead."

"See," he replies. "You hate me. You like the poor kids better."

At this point, he's more right than he knows, but I'm not going to acknowledge that. Instead I tell him, "Knock it off. I coach your soccer, your basketball, your baseball, I spend a freaking fortune on you. You're the most spoiled kid I know."

"Katie doesn't like you." This apparent non sequitur is a reference to our black Lab's presumed solidarity with him.

"I don't care," I tell him. "She has rabies anyways, like Cujo. We're going to have to put her to sleep soon, before she attacks you."

"You can't. We'll put you to sleep first."

"Good," I answer. "You'll be doing me a favor. Then you can take my money and go buy a better dad."

He pauses for a minute to contemplate this attractive possibility. It's the best part of my day so far. Then he starts in again.

"I bet you won't even buy me Tic-Tacs. No, you need the 87 cents to retire."

Enough. I turn up the music, and the Raveonettes temporarily drown him out. To think my mother recommended taking him to a speech therapist when he was two "because he doesn't seem to talk very much."

Besides being stubborn, he makes a hobby out of nursing grudges. It made for a tiresome weekend. Every time he was denied a hot dog at the park, a basketball at the sporting goods store (where, incidentally, he got his new golf clubs), or any other bright and shiny thing that caught his attention, it was, "Oh, you won't buy that for me. You want to retire." Said with a tone that one would normally reserve to accuse someone of molesting farm animals.

Then came the scrimmage. We weren't out there long, it was raining too hard for that, but everyone got a chance to bat. When it ended, we headed home for dinner. As he got out of the car, he looked over, gave me a smile, and said, "Thanks, Dad. That was fun."

Which is the reason I did it.


Anonymous said...

"...You're the most spoiled kid I know."

Oh dear God, you are a Baldwin, aren't you!!?! :)

Chuckles said...

Soccer, baseball, basketball and FREAKING GOLF?!?!

Sounds like the kid needs a lawnmower. He can earn his won damn money. I saved up for two years when I was in 7th grade to buy all the parts for my first computer. Mowed lawns, babysat kids, pulled weeds, walked dogs. All in addition to all the yard work and other chores I did at my house for free. WITH NO ALLOWANCE. Kid has it easy.

And I walked uphill both ways in the driving snow in the summer to school. Or something.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the kid. Katie doesn't even like you.

And Chuckles, AG never had an allowance and AG never worked until she was 18 and in college! Seriously, don't be afraid to remind parents that you can divorce them and buy new ones. It always worked for AG and look at how great AG is today.

Snag said...

I'm not a Baldwin, except for that charming twinkle in my eye.

See, Chuckles, the thing is with three of them around the house, the more I can get them dispersed, the easier my life is. It's self-preservation, much like bribing a police officer in a particularly corrupt city.

And AG, you of course raise an excellent point about your own greatness.

Anonymous said...

I had to stop by and see if Chuckles was over here beating you with a duck...

Anonymous said...

Beating with Ducks is against the rules, J-Lo.

Pigeons and hawks are however permitted.

Chuckles said...

Nah, we have plenty of ducks and geese in my neighborhood and they all poop all over the sidewalk. I am sure we are all aware of my stated opinion of sidewalk defecation.