I’ve been guilty of it at least a hundred times, just like my parents before me. And probably theirs before them.
Without discretion or logic, we’ve believed our children.
Such foolishness is akin to the crazy behavior that new lovers tend to exhibit toward one another. It’s a vacuum of carelessness and a false belief that everything will be forever perfect. When it comes to our children, however, we parents have been known to stretch their beliefs even further beyond the bastion of actuality.
In my business, I hear about such cases of falsely pinned trust on a regular basis. And almost every time, I’m taken back.
The undiagnosable bug
Like most others, I’ve tried every trick in the book of fake illnesses to avoid school — holding a thermometer to a light bulb, faking a wheeze and forcing a cough. Many times I’ve gone so far as to begin a day earlier with complaints of dizziness. I had the short steps and hazy vision thing down pat. But I learned that there is one ailment that folks will shy away from almost every time.
The stomach bug.
Warn Mom or the school nurse that you are about to puke, and they’ll immediately offer up sympathy. The act doesn’t work so well when you tell them that you’ll be needing extra toilet paper — or diaper rash ointment. For whatever reason, I’ve found that women will pretty much ‘go’ anywhere. And they expect guys to do the same.
Still, your kid will indeed try some of these methods to avoid his algebra exam.
My first attempts at cursing came early in life and very well could’ve been responsible for my lifelong love affair with spicy foods.
At Candy Land Day Care, where I spent quite a few pre-school months, Nancy the owner had her own piquant way of dealing with potty-mouthed children. She smeared salsa on our tongues.
Such an act these days would get poor Nancy sued for everything she owns. CNN would feature her mug shot and editors across the nation would pen Sunday opinion pieces slamming her actions. In all of the fallout, some parents would undoubtedly achieve their 15 minutes of fame by declaring their own children to have language as pure as the driven snow.
Listen up naïve parents! Your damn kids will do such a thing.
Fools’ names, like fools’ faces…
I first heard the old quote about fools’ names appearing in public places at age 10 or 11. In my otherwise clean and quiet middle-class neighborhood, my initials ‘AJ’ suddenly appeared on the pavement of a small creek crossing.
The art remained on the roadway for years, and I maintained my claim of innocence the whole time.
Truth is, every telephone number or vulgar word scribbled on bathroom walls … every monogram carved in the picnic table … every young love affair advertised with Krylon upon bridges and water towers was placed there by someone’s child.
So, when the school principal calls you and tells you that little Timmy left his mark on the overhead projector screen, don’t argue. Instead, just accept that your child would do such a thing.
My genius children
Ask a thousand parents randomly whether their children are academically gifted, and you’ll get one-thousand affirmative answers. We were in that wide-eyed group at one point too.
Our children, without a doubt, are astute. But, as my fourth-grade teacher Sylvia Trussell once told me: ‘It’s not your IQ. It’s your I do.’ I made concerted efforts to avoid doing very much, and so too have my children. After all, YouTube and texting the latest girl drama are so much more fun than calculus or IB English.
But I’ll be damned for buying the same bill of goods that I sold my own parents — the teacher doesn’t like me.
I’ve yet to find a teacher who’ll admit to not liking certain students, but I couldn’t blame them either way. There are times that I don’t even like my own children. But I still expect them to brush their teeth and wash behind their ears. Yet, we tend to buy such excuses for missed homework assignments.
Are we all just bumbling fools? Lazy parents? Inept?
Some of us are. But it usually boils down to wanting to be ignorant, since such a state usually results in bliss. But most of us eventually come around to reality.
If you’re not yet there, please allow me to echo your child’s teacher, coach, Cub Scout leader and your neighborhood Gladys Kravitz. Your kid — and mine, his, hers and theirs — would absolutely do such a thing.
If your idea of grits comes from the diner scene in ‘My Cousin Vinny,’ erase it. Of course, there are greasy spoons out there that use the dried instant type. And plenty of home cooks do the same thing. But there’s an easier and tastier way. Fresh. I prefer to grate corn straight from the cob, but the (thawed) frozen version also works well too. Add sharp cheddar, bacon and chile dusted shrimp and you have a Southern dish that’ll make a grits lover of just about anyone.
Chile-Dusted Shrimp w/ Fresh Grits
1 lb – Jumbo (21-25 ct) Shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 TB – Chile powder
1 TB – Vegetable oil
2 TB – Butter
4 cups – Corn
1/4 cup – Heavy cream
1 tsp – Freshly ground Black Pepper
1 tsp – Kosher salt
1/2 cup – Sharp Cheddar, shredded
5-6 slices – Bacon, cooked & chopped
Chopped Green Onions, for garnish
Coat shrimp with chile powder, then vegetable oil. Set in refrigerator.
If using corn from the cob: Remove kernels using a grater.
If using frozen corn: Thaw to room temperature. Blend slightly in food processor or blender.
In a large saucepan, cook corn over medium-high heat, stirring regularly until most of the liquid has evaporated — about 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add heavy cream, pepper and salt. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring regularly. Turn off heat. Fold in grated cheese.
Meanwhile, heat another skillet to medium-high. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 4-5 minutes.
Serve shrimp atop grits. Finish the dish with bacon bits and green onions.
Makes 5 rich servings.