As a parent, there are a few moments when you don’t know whether to be pissed or proud.
Listen to this bullshit, and tell me which I should have been.
The Boy was about 11 or 12. We bought him a skateboard and a brand-new shiny silver helmet. Like any good parents, after school we cast him out into the neighborhood to fend for himself.
It was a safe neighborhood surrounded by Mormon kids. They might maim each other playing with potato cannons and fireworks, but it would be from stupidity not gang activity.
It was getting dark and the Boy hustled into the house a little earlier than usual and quickly headed for his room.
A knock on the door. A parent I sorta knew was standing there with his 13-or 14-year-old son. The son had a bloody nose and bruises under each eye. The nose didn’t look displaced, but it could have been busted.
“It seems our sons had a disagreement,” the father said.
Ohh shit. I’m waiting for this guy to tell me he is a personal injury attorney with Goldberg & Osborne, and the papers would be filed tomorrow. Fuck.
I don’t know if the homeowners insurance is going to cover middle-school scuffles.
My boy shows up at the door (I can’t remember if his mother fetched him or not), but it was the 4 of us in the door way. I was about a head taller than the dad. His son was about half a head taller and a few years older than my boy.
“Apparently, your son headbutted my kid with his helmet…,” the other dad said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea that these kids start using weapons out here.”
We apologized. They apologized. The boys shook hands. Disagreement over, and we closed the door.
Jesus fucking christ, I never would have thought to keep my helmet on and just headbutt someone. My dumbass would have taken the helmet off and gotten the shit kicked out of me — again. My Boy’s a fucking genius.
I was trying to cover my smile with a look of concern and disappointment. I was failing miserably. The Boy kept looking at me funny — he could clearly see that little smile.
I’m sure we said some things about violence never solves anything… you do that in a few years and you go to jail for assault… blah, blah, blah.
I finally had to say. “What made you think of the helmet?”
“He was coming at me, so I just jumped into him with my head,” the Boy said. “It hit him in the nose, and it was over.”
OK, that sounds a little more like this half-ass Savage gene pool he’s swimming in. But it’s still 10 times smarter and safer than anything I ever did.
When I think back, I’m still a little pissed he got in a fight with a friend over nothing — and was the first to resort to violence. But I can’t help but feel proud that he used the advantage he had and didn’t get his nose broken…