It’s a sad, sad day when I have to do a round up, an aggregation, of all the ridiculation (I know it’s not a word—go with it) in my house. For those of you who don’t know, about a year ago I introduced a series called Dis MuthaFucka Right Here or DMFRH. Now, when I introduced this lovely little segment, The Boy was my primary target: he offered superhuman levels of ignorance. Since then, DMFRH has expanded to Shawn T and Tony Horton of P90X and Insanity fame, me, and a fledgling travel agency called Blue Sky Journeys (which is now is perpetually “Under Construction.” Good ahead, look it up. I can wait. Heh heh).
But now that school has been out for 6 weeks, my kids—both of them—have decided to increase their DMFRH quotient to superhuman levels. Here are a couple examples:
It’s hot in Seattle—I know for my southwestern friends, the 90 degrees we got was balmy to you, but in the super-moderate Pacific Northwest, we’re roasting. So my wife bought a pool (inciting event). As you can image, there are rules around the pool: don’t be stupid, don’t drown each other, stop trying to teach the dog to swim. And stay out of it when we’re not there.
It’s summer, it’s the Fourth of July weekend and we decide to cut out and get some lunch and run a couple errands. Because my kids are older, my wife and I can slip away and do stuff like get a meal at restaurant that does not include Happy Meals or a Playland or a ball pit. Wonderful, right? The Honey Badger wants to go swimming. We say, “Hey, we’re on our way home. Be there in 30 minutes. Wait for us!” Cool.
But when we pull up, there are kids (KIDS—plural) walking into my backyard with towels and googles, Zinc on their noses, suntan lotion and hurricane glasses of Kool-Aid and Capri-Suns. I jump out the car, holler at the kids walking into my house, “Go home! Party’s over!” Walk through the back gate and kids are in the pool, music playing, cold-kicking it. I am confident I had a Bill Bixby, green-eyed, shirt-busting moment. Her friends saw it without me even saying anything: these cats grabbed their flip flop and towels, dropped their drinks and ran out the house talking about “Kayla said we could!” My child comes up out the water, like Bo Derek in 10 and says, “What? It was only 30 minutes.”
DMFRH cool had a pool party and she’s 11 years old. It was the second time in 10 years I had to leave my house because I was going to kill a child.
The pool is retired for the summer.
The Boy is bored. He’s taken to recording his Xbox gameplay using a Capture card and uploading it to his YouTube channel. Now, on the surface, this sounds pretty impressive, right? Industrious. Inventive. Things you normally don’t hear about The Boy. To support this endeavor, my wife gets him a new and improved Capture Card—it essentially takes what comes out his Xbox and sends it to both the TV and the his computer so he can record videos and add his voice. Not too shabby, right?
Until he has to hook it up.
Guys, you probably know this innately but everything you buy comes with instructions. EVERYTHING. TVs, cereal, shampoo. It is a requirement at this point because people are stupid. McDonald’s has to tell you the hot coffee you just ordered is hot because they got sued behind not telling someone the hot coffee they ordered was hot. Your blow dryer has a warning not to use in the shower because that’s the quickest way to get your hair dry—in the shower. And every piece of electronic equipment tells you how to connect it to other pieces of electronic equipment. Why? Because people are stupid.
So what I get is The Boy coming downstairs, telling me he tried to hook up his Capture Card but he can only get audio and no video. Before I even move, I say, “Did you look at the directions?”
“I couldn’t find them so I used YouTube.”
I couldn’t find them so I used YouTube. Dammit.
I’m telling him everything I just told you: there HAVE to be instructions. He finally finds them IN THE BOX but can’t figure out how to connect his stuff. Now I’m standing right next to him. He pulls the paper out and says to me, “I can’t really read instructions.” You can’t read? I look at the paper. People, there are NO WORDS ON THIS SHEET—it’s just pictures.
“You can’t figure this out?” I say. “It’s just pictures. It’s the oldest form of human communication. Cavemen drew pictures—are you telling me the caveman is smarter than you?”
“LOOK AT THE PAPER!”
He does. He still doesn’t understand. We talk about inputs and outputs and how data might move from his source system to the peripheries. He gives me slow nods and blank stares. And I hook up the Capture Card.
And when my daughter handed me a screwdriver and told me she couldn’t figure out how to turn it on, I had a stark realization: between the inability to listen and the lack of critical thinking skills, my kids are absolutely going to die in the zombie apocalypse. Both of them.