When I wrote about the first time I moved to Texas I played around with telling you about the dumbest mother ever but somewhere in the midst of writing I simply forgot and moved on.
If I hadn’t wandered through Costco Friday afternoon I might have forgotten about it entirely but than coincidence and or the universe put a wrinkle in my day.
You see the dumbest mother ever is a 53 year-old man I play basketball with. A short man who upon our first meeting told me to be careful because he had a broken rib and didn’t want to get hurt.
I smiled at him and suggested he choose to sit out the game.
“No, I can play you just have to be careful.”
I shook my head and told him grace and I are at odds.
“I am not responsible for protecting your broken rib. This is a contact sport and though I won’t try to hurt you I won’t promise not to bump into your either.”
He didn’t like my answer and it wasn’t long before he had words with me and other players.
I Am Not A Tourist
It is my first February in Texas and I am wandering around the Stockyards in Fort Worth. I am watching the Longhorns amble down the street and a man is pushing against me because he wants get a better picture.
The second time he elbows me I glare at him and he tells me to move.
I smile at him and he doesn’t know what to make of it. I don’t care, it is not worth my time or energy to fight.
I am not a tourist here. I can come back any time I want.
Twenty years before I wouldn’t have remained silent. I might grabbed the camera cord around his neck and made him eat it, or at least tried to but now I just don’t care.
There are no family members with me, no one to protect or be concerned about it so it is easy to just walk away. Who needs the trouble, I don’t.
Later that night I tell a buddy of mine about it and he laughs.
“Man you have either grown up or gotten soft in your old age. Maybe it is both.”
Wasn’t really a need for me to do anything, but some people want the world to accommodate their needs.”
He laughs and tells me he is sure Texas will bring out my inner cowboy and I’ll be in a good bar room brawl sooner or later.
“Just make sure you are the guy busting the bottle over the other guy’s head. Holler if you need me and I’ll be there. It will be like old times.”
This time I laugh.
“We sound like a couple of altercockers. Next thing you know the wives will be telling us about how much we have embellished these stories.”
The Dumbest Mother You Ever Met
Months have passed and the dumbest mother you have ever met and I have played on the same and opposite teams on multiple occasions.
I don’t enjoy playing with him. His over inflated sense of self makes him a poor teammate.
He still expects the world to accommodate his needs but I am unwilling to Â cater to his particular brand of insanity.
One night we’re on opposite sides and guarding each other. He is talking smack and I tell him since he can’t back it up he should be quiet.
He tells me he is going to score on me and I say it is a bad night.
“I am not in the mood, just play the game.”
A few moments later he scores on me and I have to grit my teeth and take it because it was a good shot.
I make a point to play tighter defense and he tells me I need to back off because I am too big. I tell him it is part of the game.
We jaw back and forth and when he tells me I can’t deal with him I block his shot.
The next two plays he intentionally fouls me.
“You better stop or there will be consequences.”
He tells me he is not afraid and tries to insult me.
“Ok, you made your choice and I have made mine. You don’t exist anymore.”
My team loses so I walk off the court. The dumbest mother ever fights with two players on the other team.
It is not me, it is him.
We play one more game against each other.
This time I play most of the game under the basket and he the dumbest mother ever cries it is unfair that I am bigger than he is.
When he pushes me I catch him in the side of his head with an elbow.
He tries to call a foul but no one listens. Not just because the play is clean but because everyone is tired of his bad behavior.
Dad, Who Was That Man?
Friday afternoon the kids and I areÂ at Costco when the dumbest mother ever walks down the aisle.
I turn my head before we make eye contact. I don’t have any interest in talking to him.
“Daddy, there is a man giving you the stink eye.”
I look at my daughter and ask if it is a short man wearing an ugly shirt and she says yes.
“We play basketball together and he doesn’t like me.”
She asks why and I shrug my shoulders.
“It is his problem, not mine. I am not making eye contact because he is not worth my time. Sometimes the best thing you can do is ignore someone. People hate that, it takes all of their power away.”
My daughter smiles and says he looks angrier.
“You must have taken all of his power away daddy.”
Twenty years ago it probably would have been different, but I think this way is better. Always makes me happy to be a good role model and I won’t lie and say I didn’t appreciate being able to aggravate him without doing anything.
Linda Roy February 23, 2015 at 12:49 pm
I completely get this. This is me too. I used to fly off the handle immediately. Now that I’m older, I let a lot more stuff go. It’s not worth it, and I’m getting too tired for it. And yes, the kids are watching. Better to be a good role model than a -hole model. lol
Kenya G. Johnson February 22, 2015 at 7:51 am
Wonderful story Jack. Towards the end, I was like how old is this man and then I remember you opened with “53”. Wow how immature he was. Love how you handled it and sort of had the last laugh. It really sounds like he needs to pick another sport or coach kids. A lot of them seem to be bullies unfortunately.
The JackB February 22, 2015 at 10:55 am
@kenya_johnson:disqus This man is lucky to be playing with us because if he tried that at a park or other public place he would get smacked in the mouth. FWIW, what bothers me the most about this is that I have been very kind to the man and adjusted my game a bit.
When he has been guarding me I haven’t taken him under the rim as often as I could. I am very competitive and it’s hard not to take advantage of the opportunity but I figured it was the kind thing to do.
Anyway, I guess he is going to be an ass. It really did feel like I won at Costco.
Gary Mathews February 22, 2015 at 5:41 am
Awesome! The fact your daughter noticed he was aggravated and you did nothing to provoke it was priceless.
The JackB February 22, 2015 at 10:32 am
@disqus_oSbaZSP8MR:disqus I was very happy about that. I am not always good about not responding to the yappy little dogs that bark at us. It felt good to show her there is a better way.
Carolyn Nicander Mohr February 22, 2015 at 5:37 am
Phew, I was afraid that this was an article about moi. What a relief to discover it was about a different type of “mother”.
I had a racquetball buddy who bruised easily and asked us to be extra careful with our shots. Well, I’m always careful with my shots but if you don’t want to get hit, you don’t play racquetball. That’s the only way not to get hit.
It’s so funny someone complained about you having an advantage in basketball because you were bigger than him. He should find a sport where a smaller size would be an advantage, such as horse racing. Or suck it up and play harder. That’s what we girls do…
The JackB February 22, 2015 at 10:30 am
@wonderoftech:disqus ‘Napoleon’ is so caught up in his world it hasn’t occurred to him that other people understand his frustration.
I have had to guard the ‘big’ man many times. I know exactly how it feels to try and battle someone who is bigger, but I love the challenge. It is part of the game.
It makes me crazy to see so many people expect to receive special consideration for something just because they think it is unfair. The man is able bodied, that should be enough.
I am sure he would say the same thing about racquetball. If you bruise easily maybe it is not the right place for you.
Irene February 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm
There was documentary filmed here about a local wheelchair basketball league – they called it Murderball because with their disability they fought even harder.
The JackB February 23, 2015 at 11:12 am
@ionfooddrinklife:disqus I saw that. It was good and quite interesting.