I consider myself well-read, well-informed and current on the issues facing our society. I’m sensitive to the plight of the disenfranchised. I’m woke, as the young folk say.
But I have been living in an echo chamber; believing that while I may have an occasional debate over economic issues or foreign affairs, most people around me in my comfortable liberal LA neighborhood have similar social views to me. Well I was wrong.
I picked up my son, Aidan, and three of his friends from school. My 17 year old son, Riley, was along for the ride. All of them had a half-day and I was putting in my time as nice/cool mom, springing for In N Out Burger. On the way, Aidan’s friend, we’ll call him Dumbass to protect the innocent, struck up a conversation with Riley. Dumbass had seen Riley when he and his father and uncle had dined at Riley’s employment.
Dumbass felt the need to explain which man was NOT his father and then floated some comment about his uncle being “special”. Aidan started laughing so there was no way I was letting that go without an explanation. “What’s so special about him?”
You should know Dumbass has a distinctive yet hauntingly familiar speech pattern. I can’t wait until his friends discover Beavis and Butthead. This kid is toast. In this case, I will fully support the bullying that ensues.
There was an inordinate amount of uhs, grunts and wells. I thought maybe the uncle was intellectually challenged so my blood was starting to boil. But when he finally spit it out, “He’s a homosexual”, I felt the ends of my hair ignite. Riley was sitting in the front seat and I heard him mutter under his breath, “ohhh shit”. He knows me well. Ding Ding.
Here’s a sampling of our exchanges:
Me: What’s special about that?
Dumbass: Well, uh, duh, um the bible says it’s wrong?
He actually phrased it as a question. “Son, there ain’t no draft no more.” “There was one?”
Me: Is your uncle a good person? A kind person? Is he loving towards you and your brothers?
Dumbass: Uh, duh, well, um, yeah.
Me: Then why do you care who he’s fucking?
I brought out the big guns. And I’m not sorry. I wanted him to feel embarrassed. Trust me when I tell you that Dumbass’ mom does not drop the f bomb. Pretty sure she doesn’t do the f bomb either.
Me: You understand that people are born with a genetic map that dictates who they find attractive.
Me: Gay people are born gay.
Riley: Not all girls.
Me: Stop watching porn.
Me: You know there’s some evidence that homosexuality can be an inherited gene.
Dumbass: Wait, no. My brothers and I aren’t gay.
Me: But one or more of your children may be. None of my children have red hair but I’m pretty confident one of my grandchildren will be a redhead.
Now I’m starting to worry that Dumbass and his brothers are being subjected to conversion therapy.
Dumbass: I know people are homosexuals but I just don’t want to be friends with them.
Dumbass: It’s disgusting.
Me: So when you meet someone, you’re not wondering if they are smart or interesting or funny. The first thing you want to know is who they have sex with? Do you think that’s appropriate information for you to have?
Dumbass: Duh, um, well no.
The friends got in on the act.
Friend 1: So if we’re still friends when we’re like 35 and I decide to turn gay, we won’t be friends anymore even though we’ve been friends for like 20 years?
Me: You don’t turn gay, but good effort.
Friend 2: I wouldn’t care if one of my kids were gay. I’d love them no matter what.
Me: That’s right. That’s good parenting. You love your children unconditionally.
Aidan: (Laughing) Love is conditional in Dumbass’ house.
Wow. That is a sad and probably accurate truth. Ugh, I should be kinder to this poor kid. Afterall, this isn’t his fault. He has been programmed with this garbage. I’m thinking it’s time to back off. I’ll have at least the next 4 years of high school to turn this kid around. Also, his parents are litigating attorneys and they know where we live.
We finish lunch but I can’t let it go completely.
Me: Did you just eat cheese on top of meat?
Dumbass: Duh, uh, yeah, why?
Me: The bible says you shouldn’t have.
Cheers erupt from the peanut gallery.