Tuesday 21 June 2011

Smug Dad

Remember back when you were in school and there was always this kid in your class who never really talked to you until after a test came back or something?  That kid would come up to you and feign interest saying, "So, how'd you do on the test?"  And no matter how you answer they always say, "Oh. Well, I did better than you."  Wasn't that kid a treat?  Well it turns out that kid grew up and became a parent and now his kid plays with mine. 


Frick met Preston in kindergarten.  At first I liked Preston because he favored quiet activities like drawing and puzzles when he came over to play.  For this reason he seemed to have a calming effect on Frick.  I even kind of liked Preston's parents at first.  They were young, hip and cool and most of the other parents we had met so far were at least a decade older than me and Daddy.  Those older parents seemed so smart and responsible that Daddy and I always felt juvenile and inadequate by comparison.  Maybe we would fit in better with parents who were younger like us and so we made the mistake of trying to socialize a little bit.

After a few conversations Daddy and I began to mutter to each other that there was something about Preston's Dad (let's call him Chet) that we didn't really like.  We couldn't really put our finger on it because Chet was always friendly and chatty but I noticed that Daddy would hide in the basement whenever Chet came to pick up Preston from a playdate.  There was just something about that dude that rubbed us the wrong way but we tried to ignore it because Preston was a pretty good friend to Frick and it's not like the little guy got to choose his parents. 

It wasn't until the track meet that I finally figured it out.

Frick's school participates in this city wide track meet involving all of the elementary schools.  At the age of six the boys would be participating in the race for the first time.  The kids who placed in the first twenty would go on to the semi-finals.  Frick was very excited because, like all little boys, he believed he had magic super-speed.  It was very disappointing to him to find out how wrong he was.  He was one of the last boys in his grade to cross the finish line.  He came to me after looking frustrated and disappointed with himself and as I was trying to comfort him with some speech about winning not being everything and doing better next year, Chet approached us with Preston.

"Hey Frick, how did you do?"

I was immediately on the defensive when I heard the tone of voice.  I recognized that tone of voice.  I should have been able to predict what he would say next.  When Frick answered him the reply was:

"Oh, well better luck next time.  Preston came in twelfth place, so he'll be going to the semi-finals.  Maybe he can help you with your running."

I stood there fuming at him as he walked away after having blithely destroyed my efforts to make Frick feel better about himself. 

What a dick! 

After that I started noticing just how much he pulled this shit.  How he would ask what extra-curricular activities Frick was enrolled in so he could brag about how much more Preston had on his plate.  How he would ask about Frick's plans for the summer so he could point out how very busy and unavailable Preston would be.  How he would go on and on about volunteer coaching Preston's soccer team to Daddy, who can't coach because he's too busy trying to pay the mortgage. 

And then there was the time we were at the park and Frick had a meltdown over whose turn it was to go down the slide.  When Frick has a tantrum it is truly atomic in proportion.  Apparently it is a symptom of his ADHD that he has a hard time regulating his emotions.

The only response when he's like this was to remove him as quickly as possible.  This however is easier said than done.  Frick was a strapping seven when this happened and I was pregnant with Frack so trying to get him to leave was no small effort.  As I fought and wrestled with my kid to get him into a standing position I could hear Chet saying:

"Preston, you should show Frick how a good boy behaves."

Oh man, them's fightin' words. 

I was literally shocked with rage.  This asshole was standing there all fucking superior because he really thinks he deserves credit for the fact that his kid happens to be super mellow.   I desperately wanted to punch him in his stupid smug face right then and there.  I prayed fervently that Preston would grow up into a juvenile delinquent and plague his parents with crime sprees and face tattoos.  And then I felt bad about that and asked God to just make him obnoxiously mouthy instead. 

Since then I notice the boys have grown apart.  Preston stopped inviting Frick over for playdates and birthday parties and Frick found other boys to pal around with.   I'm sorry Frick grew apart from his friend, especially since I liked him so much, but I have to admit I don't miss Chet. We've been lucky enough so far that Chet and his wife were the only friend's parents we haven't liked.  Since then we have learned not to make friends with people just because our kids happen to hang out. 


  1. Been there, done that.... I did not, however, take the "high road".... and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of putting that prissy, conceited bitch in her place.

  2. Oh man, please tell me you are writing about or have written about that. Must read!