Set Attitude to "Sass"
What is it with my kids? I know it's not unique, but they've developed a knack for turning everything into an argument.
I remember standing up to my Dad, once. Once. It was the first time I ever heard my conscience screaming. Normally, my conscience is there offering good advice. Once upon a time, it was in there covering its ass.
My father found me just out back and called me to the door. "Son, why haven't you taken out the trash?" Or cut the grass, or cleaned my room. I don't know what he was complaining about. All I know is, my conscience was taking a coffee break. My mouth was on its own.
Why didn't I do my chores? I have no clue. Maybe I was too busy coming up with another reason to get suspended from school. Maybe I was in the middle of planning my next pyrotechnical exhibition. Whatever the reason, I was 15 and decided that my father wasn't the boss of me. He wasn't a bad father. Quite the opposite. He was a great father. I, however, had the temerity to assert my independence from chores. I don't know what I said, but I'm sure it was along the lines of "Do it yourself."
It was a proud moment, but that was all it was. I was standing there in the doorway gaining an extra inch by standing on the door sill. I was engaged in a foolish bit of sass and my conscience was off buying an order of beignets to go with its cafe au lait.
In an instant, my father's fist lashed out and embedded itself in the wall next to the door. I turned to my left and there it was. Well, there it wasn't. All I saw was a big hairy Irish wrist and drywall.
The coffee break was over. My conscience was back at work and wondering just what the mouth had gone and done in its absence. No longer the gentle adviser, my conscience began screaming "SHUT UP! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! SHUT UP NOW!" My mouth was in full agreement.
And now I have the kids I was. They're all full of themselves and I'm checking the walls with a stud-finder. When discussing things with teenagers, you never want to break your fist for lack of knowing where the walls studs are located.