We went to another birthday party today. Since school started last September we have been on the birthday party circuit. Almost every weekend since then we have had a child’s party to attend to. Since the children are young you find that the parents stay for the entire party.
It is kind of nice as it gives you a chance to meet people and learn a little bit more about the children in your child’s class and the families that they come from. Today I figured out that one of the mothers and I went to the same Hebrew school and are fairly certain that we were in the same class, but it is 27 years ago so the memory is a little fuzzy.
Twenty-seven years, how the hell am I old enough to remember that far back, heck the problem is that my school career goes back farther than that.
None of us ate any cake at the party, so we had a bit of hankering for sweets. We went to Coldstone Creamery where I enjoyed this. It was excellent.
We sat outside and enjoyed our ice cream. It was a nice day, but for one thing. At the table next to us a group of five 20 something men were acting up. They were going beyond the “boys will be boys” bit and just being jerks, especially to a table of girls next to them.
I must have made a face because one of them made eye contact with me and tried to engage me in conversation. He was trying hard to upset me, as he was trying to do his best to impress the other boys. For a moment the 18 year-old boy I used to be showed up. He whispered suggestions of how to end the ceaseless chatter in my ear. I paid him almost no attention. I could almost hear him shriek when I refused to entertain his ideas.
Truthfully I figured that the guy would be more interested in someone other than the family guy, but the wackjob kept jabbering away and I began to be concerned that he was going to work himself up to the point at which he would try and force it to escalate. It was just a feeling, but an uncomfortable one.
Had I been there with one of my crew it would have been different, but the family was there and their welfare is paramount. So I packed us up and headed off for greener pastures, no sense in testing the limits here.
It took some effort to do so, by this point I was interested in showing him what a family man is made of. I even considered trying to trip and accidentally stick my ice cream in his face, but I was concerned about the two troglodytes with him.
It occurred to me that I could go Three Stooges on them and bang their heads together. And then in one swift motion I could spin and poke the other guy in the eyes. But I also remembered that it didn’t always work. What happened if I was more Shemp than Moe.
So I considered other options, I could do a little boxing, but again I could find that I was Tex Cobb to his Larry Holmes, or maybe he would be Mike Tyson to my Buster Douglas, who knows.
In the end it didn’t matter a whit. I left and I am comfortable with it. But it was another sign to me of how radically different life is. It has been for years. The guy who would have enjoyed the test is gone. The boy who would have done as the other boys and taken a swing, well he is gone too.
And now I find myself here at the computer, the father transcribing his thoughts. It is not like I had that many fights growing up, I had a few. I have been hit in the head and hit others. I have sparred verbally and engaged in assorted rounds of nonsense.
But the family’s safety comes first and the smartest thing is to avoid unnecessary conflict. However, just in case the tubby schmuck is reading this, I was the guy in the red Chaps shirt, blue Calvin Klein jeans, with the Reebok shoes. In my day I made the earth tremble and all who beheld me knew of the danger that lay within. Or so my overblown childish ego imagined.
But what bothers me more than anything is this. Was I ever that stupid. Did my friends and I act like you. I hope not.