Violence and the evening meal

Pulling the trigger on violence

“Hey pal, what’s up?”
“Hey! I got trouble with my damn kids.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. What seems to be the problem?”
“Last night they wuz shootin at cops and hoes all night.”
“I said…”
“I heard you. That’s terrible.”
“You’re tellin me. I tried to call them little pests to dinner but they would pay me no mind. I spent a lot of cash at KFC, but it’s all good.”
“Good, what do you mean good?”
“I mean I can eat that chicken again today.”
“But the kids…what happened to the kids?”
“Hell if I know. They were at it all night.”
“I said…”
“Yeah, yeah, I got it, but you must have terrible trouble with the police.”
“No, I don’t have no trouble. It’s those kids, they got the trouble, but I guess they’ll get the hang of it soon.”
“What…I mean, hang of it? What do you mean hang of it?”
“Well if you play them damn games long enough, you get the hang of it. You know teenagers, they’ll play ’em all night long if you let ’em”
“Games? Is this a game with them?”
“Yeah, everything is a damn game. I told my wife not to buy ’em, but she lets them have ’em anyway.”
“Wait…are we talking about video games?”
“That’s what I’m talkin about. The one day a week we can have dinner together and those little bastards won’t even get out of their rooms.”
“Why don’t you make them stop playing and come to the dinner table?”
“You must not have teenagers. They are hard enough to live with, I sure ain’t gonna make em do somethin that’ll cause me grief. They could grab a plate and join us by the TV but NO”
“How about some other night? You can make them sit down before they play games or do their homework.”
“Homework? Are you kidding? I ain’t seen ’em do homework in years. Anyway I don’t really have time any other night.”
“Oh, working late most nights?”
“Well, yeah, sorta. I mean, Wednesday is boys night out and Thursday is pool night. Friday we invite the super out cuz he’ll buy the first couple of rounds. Saturday I best do somethin with the wife or she gets pissed. Sunday there are games all day long. Monday I gotta rest so Tuesday is about the only day for the little monsters. Actually, they are big monsters now.”
“What about discipline?”
“That’s the wife’s job.”
“But the kids won’t learn anything playing video games.”
“Well they sure ain’t learnt to kill cops yet, if last night’s reactions mean much. I guess they got a few hoes.”
“Don’t you worry about them not learning respect for women by doing that.”
“Well, last week they wuz yellin, “plugged another bitch!” and I finally made them stop because their ma wuz gettin real mad.”
“So, she didn’t want to hear that language anymore?”
“No, she couldn’t hear her programs and that makes her real mad. I can’t have that. Of course, it’s partly her fault anyway.”
“It is?”
“Yeah, she buys em those damn games in the first place. If I get too mad at her she will buy that damn rap music too just to piss me off more.”
“Oh, I am beginning to understand the problem.”
“Damn right, it’s that rap music. It turns kids into evil little bastards. Want some chicken?”


Cover of "Brokeback Mountain  [Blu-ray]"

Cover of Brokeback Mountain [Blu-ray]

In the Academy Award nominated Brokeback Mountain, Jack Twist gathers his family for Thanksgiving dinner and turns off the television so his son will sit at the dinner table and eat. The father-in-law turns the television back on because the football games are on. Jack turns it off again and when the father-in-law starts for the TV, Jack yells at him to leave it off. He angrily explains that his wife spent all day cooking for the family and they were going to sit there and eat, not watch football. It is a powerful scene of Jack trying to do what he thinks is right for the family. It stuck with me, not only because of the power of that movie, but because I could picture us sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table and looking over at a silent television. I guess now I have the television going during Thanksgiving dinner, but I do not have kids learning something other than “grace” in the next room. I never thought of myself as “old fashioned” but maybe that is what you grow up to be, if you are lucky.

11 thoughts on “Violence and the evening meal

  1. Television? How about iPods, cell phones and all that “mobile device” stuff that has for all practical purposes, eliminated inter-generational communication. It’s depressing, a hopeless battle I have given up fighting.


  2. Rich, I’m gonna buy into the generational thing. Yeah, I’m gonna to do the ‘when I was a kid’ thing. Both parents worked full time. I was the oldest of three brothers. I pulled household duty when I wanted to be outside playing with my friends. Seemed like everyone else had a television before us. Gee whiz! Guess what? I still got to play outside with my friends. We played baseball, imitated our favorite cowboy and super heroes with toy guns and make-do costumes. We had some fist fights but things always cooled off. We reluctantly, very reluctantly ended our games with the dreaded, “Your Mom’s calling. Time to go in”. No rose colored glasses. Just the way it was. Cue up “Kids” from “Bye, Bye Birdie”. Still resonates.


  3. Please. It’s not the video games, and it’s not the mobile devices. It’s the parents’ job to keep control of their children. I had four kids, and raised three teenagers (their father had custody of one son — it’s a long story). And even with the distractions of the Internet and the TV (no video consoles were allowed in my house. Period. End of discussion.) not a one of them were allowed to tell me they weren’t coming to the table. They can all cook, sew, and clean up after themselves. It’s not “kids these days” it’s “parents these days.” It’s our job to raise them to be responsible adults IMHO.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree it’s not the video games, Maybe it’s parents who don’t enforce the rules or maybe younger people today just don’t think manners are important. I’m not a parent so I can’t comment much on this. Certainly, I have younger friends who constantly check their phones when they are visiting me. When I say younger I’m talking about people who are in their thirties and were not brought up with electronic media. I can understand this when someone is waiting for an important message but a lot of text messages don’t need to be answered right away.
    I plead guilty to dinner in front of the TV but when company comes the TV goes off unless the reason for the visit was to watch something together.

    Liked by 2 people

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