t’s not going to come as a surprise to those of you who have followed this space over the past several years, when I say that I’m an idiot. This idiot monicker didn’t happen overnight. Oh no. It happened after dozens, nay, hundreds of idiotic decisions, actions, purchases, and general idocy. After 47 years, all of those moments add up to an unequivocal sum – I am an idiot.
I tell you that to tell you this story. My son is 16. He is not yet an idiot. He has decades of idiotic decisions to make or not make. Heck, maybe he won’t grow up to be an idiot. But if family genes have anything to do with it, I wouldn’t bet against it.
A few weeks ago, my boy went with his friends downtown and enjoyed scooting around on those Bird scooters that litter the sidewalks in that area. They spent hours darting around the mean streets of the downtown loop and he came home with a glint in his eye. “Dad, I’m going to get a scooter.”
Now, this rung a bell inside my memory banks when I’d told my parents that I was going to buy a Game Boy. Or when I was going to buy a treadmill. Or when I was going to get a pinball machine and/or a stand up video game. My parents, bless their hearts, never said “no.” They never tried to stop me. They only blinked their eyes and said, “well, that’s a horrible idea.”
So, then, I blinked my eyes at my son and said, “that’s a terrible idea.” This is a child who just came off of three grueling months of rehab for a sports injury and his first major decision was to buy a toothpick on wheels. One with a motor.
It gets funnier. Because of course he wasn’t necessarily asking for permission, he was begging for forgiveness because he had already ordered it. It was to arrive the next day.
The next day, I worked late and didn’t get home until after dark. There was the litter of a large cardboard box in the living room. Scraps of styrofoam and packing peanuts all over the floor. On the couch, a forlorn 16 year old boy sad with his head in his hands. I almost hesitated to ask. But I persisted.
“Did you get the scooter?”
“Was it awesome?”
“Um. It was the first time I rode it. Then it stopped working.”
Turns out, he had purchased a scooter off of Amazon that had a 2.5 out of 5 star rating. You could sell Make America Great underpants and it would have a higher than 2.5 star rating. The scooter had crapped out after only an hour of use. He would be returning it. The voice in his head finally synced up with the voice of reason and realized he’d rather have $300 cash than a scooter, so he is returning for a full refund.
I can’t mock him. I can’t say I told you so. I can’t even have (much) joy that the son has learned an important life lesson. I can only wonder how many lessons he has to learn until he matches his dad in the “bad decision” category. Something tells me that this won’t be the last column written on his quest to match his old man.
(Follow our man Chris Kamler on Twitter as @TheFakeNed. You can also find him on YouTube by searching Rambling Morons, on Snapchat, and on Instagram)