I have come to the conclusion that there is a double standard in our world, which no one talks about. Much has been said about the economic issues between races and sexes in the workplace, and the double standard of various religious groups in parts of the world has been protested for thousands of years. I’ve even seen a research paper on unfair oppression placed on locally branded potato chips.
You’ve all seen it. National, name-brand chips are always placed on store shelves at eye level. Local brands are at the bottom and usually hidden in the shadows. How the heck are Fresh-N-Crunchy’s ever supposed to make it big if no one can see them to buy them. I like Fresh-N-Crunchy’s! I want the world to taste them. Yet, the local stores are taking kickbacks to keep them out of the public’s eye. I can only imagine the amount of money, in small unmarked bills, which must have changed hands to keep my favorite snacks among the downtrodden. It’s a conspiracy I tell you. It’s totally unfair, and no doubt against all rules of common decency. I’m sure space aliens are somehow involved because… Sorry. I was gone. I’m back now.
So, where was I? Oh yes, the unspoken double standard. Okay, so my children are now teenagers with all the problems associated with this phenomenon. Their antics have seriously caused me to rethink why I didn’t get a dog instead of having children. But this is now eighteen years beside the point. They are here and I have a responsibility to deal with them appropriately.
The thing is they refuse to deal with me appropriately. As the father I should be lord of my house. Before some of you start writing letters, I believe in sharing the workload. I help my wife with all the household duties, and feel good when I do. The thing is my kids don’t seem to understand the concept. They like to eat the food but have no idea that there is a moment of clean-up which goes along with it.
With this, my older son is the worst. His good grades from the past have made it possible for him to leave high school early three days a week. Good for him. The thing is he always comes home hungry. I tell him to make himself something. I mean how hard is it to use a microwave? But he has ten thousand reasons why he can’t prepare his own food. Sometimes I take pity on him and warm up the stuff, and he returns the favor with even more stories about of how he has no time to clean up the table. I must admit, it is quite entertaining.
All this being said, a couple of weeks ago he got himself a job at the local burger joint. I was proud of him but my wife cried because her baby was growing up. Oh well, you can’t please everyone. Anyway a few days ago I managed to stop him and ask what exactly he did at work. His answer? He made food for the throngs of hungry patrons of the establishment. Roughly translated, he fried burgers, prepared chicken nuggets, and made fries. He was even seen with a knife slicing lettuce, onions, and tomatoes for the actual sandwich makers. In short, he was making food!
I was perplexed. The was a young man who had trouble operating a can-opener, and he was actually cooking. First, I thought, who was he and what had they done with my son. Then I realized his grades were still great, so what the hell. If they had brainwashed my boy, was it really all that bad? I mean not all social programing has to be necessarily evil. Does it?
Then the next day arrived. I was happy in my easy chair contently reading a book when he came home. “I’m starving,” he belted out. I relaxed a bit more and told him to make himself something.
You should have seen the look that I got. It melted my glasses and my polyester shirt, leaving me with second degree burns on the upper half of my body. All I can say at this point is, “Thank Heaven for cotton underwear, or else I would have gone from bass to tenor in the choir.” Enough said about that.
Anyway, so much for the brain washing theory. Apparently, home is different. There must be a teen-stupid gas circulating throughout my house, because he still can’t operate the can-opener or microwave. In fact, he was also quite hostile about it. Well I succumbed to fear and opened and warmed a can of soup which satisfied the beast. Then while he was eating, I noticed something else. He had a small scratch on his left hand. Where did that come from? I wondered aloud.
“This,” he murmured. “I got that while I was taking out the trash.”
I almost fainted. I didn’t think he knew the meaning of those words. I was going to be snarky and ask how many folks begged him to do that, but then remembered he’s bigger than I am. So, I wimped out and said, “The bag must have been heavy and the scratch hurt a lot.”
He informed me that it wasn’t so bad. He got the injury by doing a bit of horseplay and throwing the bags over the fence and into the dumpster. Next, he spoke of the fact he emptied the trash several times a night. When the can filled up, he simply tied it up and took it out. I was completely baffled. He had never done that at home. In fact, when I had my shoulder repaired, I personally saw him walk past an overflowing can many times. I hinted about that and he said, “Hey emptying the trash is no big deal.”
So, there was a change in him and I could only think of one reason. No don’t be so naïve to think he was gaining responsibility. He was learning the value of cold hard cash. The most basic of all rules. Don’t do anything if you don’t get paid for it and never ever volunteer. Therefore, I am stuck again. Not only is he even less willing to do stuff at the house than before, with the job, he isn’t home as much. Consequently, I have lost the comfy chair once again.
You know, they say an education will get you more money, but in this case, I think the money gave my son an education.
I wonder if some college offers a degree in that.