Let’s talk about some recent behavioral issues that have come to our attention. I’ll go down the list.
1 – We heard a report from your cousin that in your room, after your mom told you that you that it was time to stop playing Battlefront, you called her order “asinine”.
I know where you’re coming from here. One time my mom made me end a game of Mortal Kombat 2 before I was able to pull off one of Sub Zero’s fatalities (opponent’s head ripped off, spine dangling). Your grandmother prevented this. I was mad. I went to the disconnected garage on the property we rented and punched out every window I could find. My father had to pay restitution for the windows and this ultimately soured our relationship with the landlord to such an extent that we had to move into a tiny apartment.
Likewise, your actions had far-reaching consequences. Your use of the word “asinine” caused me to look up the word “asinine” in order to understand what you were talking about, and to make sure it wasn’t some new swear. I’d like to keep this sort of thing to a minimum.
2 – A teacher reported that you and a nameless compatriot got into a heated argument during a choir performance. That sounds bad. I get that there’s more to it than that. You were upset because the nameless compatriot wouldn’t stop talking about a habit of his: he goes to random photos on Instagram, clicks the heart icon to like a photo, waits a little while, and then removes the like. So his victims get that flash of excitement when they see a notification. But then, when they check the photo on Instagram, there are no new likes. Rug from under their feet. He says that he likes to picture their disappointment, expressions sliding from expectant to hopeless. You said this was “monstrous”.
This reminds me of the time that I cracked up during a Christmas concert because my friend Ian retracted his neck into his turtle-neck shirt and said “My neck is like a turtle’s.” Kids will goof off. I was goofing off right before my solo. I missed my cue. So I’ve made mistakes too. While I was supposed to be singing, I stood and rocked silently, emitting occasional laugh-snorts for an entire verse of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. I couldn’t stop thinking about how his neck was like a turtle’s. Our choir director quit at the reception after the performance. These things happen. Her quitting wasn’t entirely my fault, even though during the five minutes that comprised her rant to a stunned group of parents and children—punch cups and red, cookie-bearing napkins stilled for the duration—she pointed at me repeatedly and said it was entirely my fault. Boys will be boys. I get it.
But seriously? Monstrous? To be honest, that prank is kind of dope. I’ve done it quite a few times since I heard about it, and it’s fun! Lighten up. You should have that kid over. He seems cool.
3 – Your mother says that she caught you printing ISIS propaganda. And I cut her off right there. She said that—my vision swam. I was like “What?” I felt I had gone wrong somewhere. But then she said that you were printing it out and burning it. And I was like “Um . . . okay?” Like “What’s the issue here?” And then she said you were doing printing out ISIS propaganda and burning it without asking permission. And I was like, “Right.”
Personally, I don’t think this is a big deal, but your mother does. So I do think it’s a big deal. Here’s the thing: I once soaked a roll of paper-towels in gasoline and lit it on fire in my garage. Basically for no reason. I don’t think we even had ISIS back then. As I was trying to put the paper-towels out by waving them around frantically, a chunk of flaming ash flew over and landed in the puddle of gasoline that the plastic gas can was sitting in. Long story short, the garage did not survive the inferno. I told you that the thing with the garage windows soured our relationship with our landlord? The thing with the garage burning down because I was playing with gasoline straight up curdled it. We were out of there within the week. Why was I talking about that? Anyway. Yeah. ISIS sucks. Ask permission.