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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dad Shoots Laptop

Down south here, we pride ourselves on being polite and friendly people, but there's a point beyond which you just best not push us.  Once you cross the line, that's it, and Katy bar the door.

There's an old, very old, joke my father used to tell about a man who was walking down a country road and found a farmer sitting in his wagon, taking a big load of corn to market, and the mule who was supposed to be pulling the wagon was in the traces but had sat down in the middle of the road. The farmer yelled, begged, pleaded, and cursed at the old mule, but nothing he said would make him budge.

Finally, the farmer got down off the wagon, picked up a two by four, walked around to the front and and blam! hit the mule a good smack on the head right between the ears. Then the farmer got back up on the wagon, the mule stood up, and began to pull the wagon.

The passer-by asked the farmer, "Say, friend, why'd you hit the mule like that?"

The farmer replied, "Well, he's a good mule, and he'll pull this wagon all day long, anywhere you want to go. But first you have to get his attention."

I'm sure most of you by now have seen this viral video made by a completely exasperated dad, Tommy Jordan, of Albemarle, North Carolina, in which he has come to the point of metaphorically knocking the mule in the head:

Which has generated a lot of criticism from dainty-minded ain't-it-awful types all around the country - but your Head Trucker mainly just finds it very amusing. Even though I've never raised a child, I can totally relate to a man who has lost all patience with ingratitude, flippancy, self-centeredness, and egregious disrepect. I tell ya boys, if I was in his boots, I would have been very tempted to do the exact same thing.

I'm reminded of the joke above, and the saying I quoted here on the Blue Truck from RuPaul a while back: "I always try to come from a place of peace, love, and understanding . . . but sometimes you just have to break it down for a motherfucker."

The only thing that concerns me is that Dad may have wasted nine bucks' worth of bullets. If the girl is so oppositional, so out of control, that she has driven him to this act of desperation - and I see it as an act of love, he still actually cares about the person she is and the person she will be - then probably nothing he does or says will reach her. Rebellious kids are nothing new, I could take you back through history all the way to the ancient Greeks and show plenty of examples of that, and it's probably a necessary stage of child development when you hit your snotty teens - and of course, we were all snotty brats for a while there, weren't we.

But there is a terribly ugly, I-don't-give-a-fuck and you-can't-make-me attitude among a lot of young people today that is just above and beyond anything that's come before. I'll spare you the recitation of cases I've observed at close range with my own eyes, but it's a serious problem and says a lot about the dark side of our modern culture. It's something in the air, and probably has a lot to do with all the out-of-control adults that programming and media people just love to show, over and over, to make a buck by appealing to the lowest human instincts.

I hope Tommy's action will get the little girl's attention; but the way things are these days, who knows. She may still end up a few years from now, like many another out-of-control teen queen with two or three illegitimate kids by two or three drugged-up, lawbreaking dudes, and then you and I will be paying her rent money and grocery bills for the next two or three decades.

I'm not exaggerating about that; I could tell you stories. It's a sad thing, but I admire this guy for at least trying one last time to break through that hard-headed, hard-hearted stupidity. I hope it works.

PS - I also very much admire Dad's attitude in this note he left on his Facebook page - it shows he's a man of integrity and real principles:

(read it after the jump)

Attention Media Outlets:

While we appreciate the interest you're all putting forth to get in touch with us regarding the video, we're not going to go on your talk show, not going to call in to your radio show, and not going to be in your TV mini-series.

Some of you think I made an acceptable parenting decision and others think I didn't. However, I can't think of any way myself or my daughter can ...respond to a media outlet that won't be twisted out of context. The Dallas news TV news already showed that in their brief 5 minute interview with the psychologist.

Additionally, there's absolutely NO way I'm going to send my child the message that it's OK to gain from something like this. It would send her a message that it's OK to profit at the expense of someone else's embarrassment or misfortune and that's now how I was raised, nor how she has been raised.

So I say thank you from all of us. If we have anything to say, we'll say it here on Facebook, and we'll say it publicly, but we won't say it to a microphone or a camera. There are too many other REAL issues out there that could use this attention you're giving us. My daughter isn't hurt, emotionally scarred, or otherwise damaged, but that kind of publicity has never seemed to be to have a positive effect on any child or family.

If you're a news outlet that wants to ask us a question, feel free to so via email. I'm sure by now my email address is easy enough to find. It might take me awhile to get to a response because I'd have to sort through the ‘Die you bastard’ emails to find it, but we will respond if it’s something that we feel merits it. Otherwise, sorry... no interviews, no talk shows, no call-ins.

If we respond to anything, it will be on here, and it will be in a way that our words can't be misconstrued or edited for appeal to specific audience or shock value.

Now, I'm going to try to get to work for the day.

Best of luck to all of you out there... and PLEASE give my phone a break.


BadgerBear said...

I may be one of those dainty people. I was appalled that the dad used his gun to settle the issue with his CHILD, and clearly with still a little bit of steam behind it. Sure, it's Albemarle - I'm from near there, so I know what it's like - but really. So what was the message to his daughter? Screw up enough and I'll shoot YOU?

Russ Manley said...

Naw, it's likely that the girl has seen dad shooting guns many times before. And he made no threat to harm her, if that was his intent, she'd already be a statistic. I doubt that the sight of a gun shocked her in the least. Like most modern oh-so-with-it kids, she probably thought, Oh Dad's just being a jerk, whatever.

Of course, I don't know the family personally, and neither do you. But Dad struck me as a familiar type in these parts, a hard-working, responsible parent, who really wants the best for his kid. I hope one day the little girl will recognize that too.

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