Hey, let’s rap about some real life stuff, you guys...
So a couple of weeks ago, I bought a car for dinky little trips I have to take for work. A junky little 2002 Chevy Cavalier with over 170,000 miles on it.
I admittedly don’t know much about cars. I like to pretend I do to seem macho, but if someone put a gun to my head and told me to point to a head gasket or a camshaft (Are those things? They sound like things) I would probably wind up dead.
So when I bought this car, I didn’t give it the thorough inspection that someone like, say, my dad would. That’s to say; I didn’t check this thing out well at all. The car ran, the radio worked, the tires seemed fine, and even though there were a few rust spots on it, it seemed like a good deal for $1,000.
Fast forward to yesterday, when, after watching it overheat multiple times while idling, I brought the car to a local mechanic who told me I would basically need to replace the engine if I wanted to get more than a month out of the thing. I don’t have the money, nor the necessary strange motivation, to put a new engine into a 2002 Chevy Cavalier. So I’ll be putting it back on craigslist to sell either for scrap or to someone who will take it ‘as is.’
Why do I bring this up here? Welp, last night I went through something pretty much all people have gone through in their life. I called my parents and, although they had the very best of intentions, they made me feel like even more of a jackass about this whole situation.
By the time I called them, I knew full well I had screwed up big time with this little foray into automotive consumerism, but that didn’t stop my mom from proclaiming, “Well why didn’t you check this and that!?!? We told you to check the this and that!” And when I started to lose my temper and tell them I knew I should’ve checked this and that and I didn’t need to hear them lecturing me, my dad went with his tried and true, “Oh yeah, you know everything! You never want to hear it from us no matter how much we try to help you!”
They had every reason to do this. I hadn’t listened to them, and I’d found out the hard way that I should’ve, it’s happened a million times before. What bugged me was that it seemed to them I still hadn’t gotten the point, even though the $1,000 hole burning through my wallet and my relatively angry tone said otherwise. In the end, we all wound up yelling at each other until they hung up on me.
Then it hit me.
They’ve seen me poop my pants.
Over the course of my adolescence, as an infant and toddler, I pooped my pants probably three to five times a day. Factoring in the occasional blooper in pre-k and kindergarten, I’d put a rough lifetime estimate for pants pooping at, like, 7,000, give or take. Who was there for every bout of pants pooping? My wonderful parents.
Now, after watching someone poop their pants 7,000 times, I don’t think I would trust them to cook a frozen pizza, much less carry out a task like buying a car. So when I put myself in my parents’ shoes, watching this notorious pants pooper, half a country away, trying to buy a car and failing miserably, I couldn’t blame them for always second-guessing me.
You see, no matter what I accomplish in life, to them, I’ll always be the pants pooper. I could become President of the United States, and on a phone call from the Oval Office my mom would probably be yelling, “Why didn’t you put this in the bill!?!? We told you the bill wouldn’t pass without this in it!!!” All because in the back of her mind, she knows, ‘THIS GUY COULD POOP HIS PANTS AT ANY SECOND, I’VE SEEN IT!’
It’s been a pretty rough week for me; the car thing isn’t even at the top of the list. So when I cooled off and came to my senses, I realized I’d been yelling at my parents for a lot of frustration that didn’t have anything to do with them. I wanted to call them to apologize. Dad beat me to it.
He said he knows I’m trying to figure stuff out on my own and he doesn’t mean to be patronizing. All he wants to do is help.
I told him I understood and was sorry too. Then I tried to compare the situation to an episode of Modern Family. At which point he graciously told me to stop talking. Which I did, thank God.
So the next time you find yourself in a situation like the one I found myself in last night, no matter which side of the battle you’re on, remember these things:
Parents, please realize that even though you’ve watched your kid poop their pants, by the time they’re 25, most of them know when they’ve messed something up and having it repeated to them isn’t going to make it any better.
And children, please remember that you’ve pooped your pants and your parents have had to clean up the mess. And they’re never going to stop trying to do that.