My Dad Said No
Social obligations start at such a young age these days. My kids have more social obligations than I do, and that is saying something. It’s go go go, all the time.
Soccer, ballet and tap classes, production rehearsals, violin recitals, school, play dates, homework, gymnastics, etcetera, etcetera. Jeez, I am tired just thinking about it.
Remember when we were children? I remember spontaneous play and soccer, occasionally. Mostly, I just played. If someone asked if I could spend the night or do, just about anything out of my parents sight, the answer was no.
Oh yeah, my dad was the original helicopter parent. I believe his exact reasoning, when I asked if I could spend the night at my best friend’s house, was “No mija, if the house catches on fire, they are going to grab their kid first. I’m sorry. I don’t want you to get burned. Do you?”
My answer, “I guess not.” But in my head I was wondering why the hell all of these people’s houses were catching on fire and if ours was fire retardant. And would my dad actually let someone else’s kid burn? Maybe I shouldn’t be having people spend the night. It was risky business.
But sometimes the phrase, “My dad said no” came in pretty handy, like when you didn’t really want to go in the first place. I’d pretend to ask my dad, feign disappointment and give the other kid the bad news. After all, it wasn’t my fault that my dad said no.
Meanwhile, the kid felt sorry for me for having such a giant asshole for a father. Don’t you wish you could have a “get out of jail free” card for social obligations like that when you are an adult?
Good news; you can. You can employ this exact tactic as an adult to escape social obligation, only remove Dad/Mom and insert my baby, toddler, kid, teen or husband.
It’s called the blame game, baby, and you can get out of almost anything, if you know what you are doing. Don’t look down your nose at me; I know you’ve done it. Take notes, this could come in handy.
Want to come over for a family barbecue? Wow! I’d love to but the baby is prone to bursting into flames when in the sun too long. Maybe if the next one’s at night? Damn baby vampires!
Want to come to my going away party? Oh man! Is that tonight? The kid is teething, the wife is menstruating, and I’m pretty sure the dog is about to kick the bucket. Maybe next time, little buddy. Damn, dog!
Want to come to my fortieth birthday party? Seriously? I thought that was next year. My kid has a recital that night. I can’t miss it. I’m the videographer. Damn, needy kids!
Can you help me load my moving truck? Ooh, I would love to but I already promised junior that today was the day that I would teach him how to drive. He’s been waiting sixteen years. Sorry. Damn teenagers!
See it’s easy. It just takes a little imagination and determination. But remember, what goes around comes around and the next time you need help loading the moving truck, someone else’s dog might be about to kick the bucket.
Would you ever use your kid as an excuse to get out of a social obligation?
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