Wednesday, June 14, 2006

rites of embarassage

One of my uncles once told me that one of the most important tasks of parents is to routinely embarrass the hell out of their children, particularly during the teen years. I'm not a parent, but dig this:

Sean used his considerable skills of persuasion and emotional manipulation to procure from me a generous offer. I would end his agony and make it possible for him to see his "lady friend" tonight. The trade off? I drive him to her home, a little over a mile away, to inspect the scene and to meet whatever parental force is on the premises.

So we're driving toward Sean's promised land when, after a couple of questions, he finally comprehends the fact that I intend to meet this girl's mom. He's silent for a block or so. I glance over and see that his face is buried in his hands, his mouth agape. I can't help but laugh.

As we near her house he asks what the plan is, how it will all go down.

"I'm just going to go up and meet her mom and leave," I reply.

"Shouldn't I go up first and set the stage?" he pleads.

"No. It's best to just get it over with."

"So what's my role in this?"

"You're role is to be embarrassed. I'll handle everything else. It'll be over in less than three minutes."

We drive a couple of blocks in silence.

"I'm prob'ly gonna get dumped tonight," he pouts.

"That ain't on me," I chirp.

At last, we're parking in front of her house. I stride up to the front door. Just before I knock Sean says, "Now I'm gonna have to marry her."

I begin to respond to this, but then the absurdity of it dawns on me, and I display my palm to him and look away. "Please!" I say.

Turns out the girl is all smiles, friendly and sweet. She gives no hint that she'll be dumping Sean tonight.

The mom seems a little tired, but she's cool with it.

As I turn to leave, I notice Sean leaning against the porch rail, his head sunk low, looking utterly defeated.

Mission accomplished. I guess.

3 comments:

pomegranate said...

so awesome!

Lee said...

Bravo, Joe!

Brooksider said...

Sweet! It sounds like this is a natural continuation of the Annie Leibowitz view of playing board games with children: they are easy to beat and fun to cheat!

And now humiliation – sweet!