The Selfish, the inconsiderate, the self-absorbed. (Part 2)
Yesterday I was saying that selfish, inconsiderate and self-absorbed people really bug the shit out of me. I started by stating that aggressive, self-centred and inconsiderate behaviour behind the wheel generally reflects a similar attitude as that exhibited by this kind of person not only under the circumstances described but also in their lives as a whole and therein lies the danger inherent in this kind of behaviour.
Today I am picking up where I left off. I will begin by presenting three examples of the type of attitude I am discussing and conclude the piece with a brief summary of the behavioural characteristics exhibited by all of these people in the situations I have described.
First there was an incident in a strip mall parking lot not for from out house. A woman had parked illegally and the tow truck operator was there, ready to remove her car. You should have heard the whining – “I have to pick up my little darling from school” – and the excuses – “I was told that it was okay for me to park there” – and there I was, exhorting the guy to tow that bitch’s car away. I had a legitimate stake in this incident because that shithead had parked her SUV in a space supposedly reserved for the disabled, like me.
Anyway, the bottom line is that no car was towed that day and even though her child wasn’t there, I am certain that she would have done the exact same thing and reacted in the exact same manner had her kid been present. Instead of parking her vehicle legally which would have meant a little further away from her destination that day, she chose a different tack and then modeled behaviour which no child should have to witness in that the kid learns to deny, deny, deny, not taking responsibility for wrong actions. The mother was only looking at the short term consequences of her actions, at the fact that her car might be towed.
What she should have done, especially in the presence of her young kid, is act differently. Face up to the fact that you had parked illegally and respect yourself enough to take responsibility for that.
Then there’s this one which would be amusing if it wasn’t so fucked up. This anecdote demonstrates unacceptable behaviour from a parent in his effort to satisfy the desires – expressed or not – of his five year old son and I will use it to demonstrate the dangers inherent in behaviour like this for both the father as well as, unfortunately, for his kid.
Lee’s niece, Reisa has two lovely children, a boy and a girl. What I am about to describe occurred during the girl’s birthday party. We were seated opposite a young kid and his father who wasn’t really sitting but was instead standing to the side of his seated son much like an attentive server in a restaurant.
The meal was pizza with some sides as well as cake and ice cream for dessert and was being dispensed buffet-style. The whole time this Dad, who obviously wanted only the best for his young son, didn’t interact with the other parents but was completely zeroed in on satisfying his son’s every desire whether it was expressed or not. “Do you want some this? Do you want some that? Do need anything, another napkin, cutlery, (whatever)?” And so it went… On an on… for the entire meal which must have lasted a good thirty minutes or so.
It was really sickening and he was the only parent carrying on like this. What’s wrong with that picture? At first glance nothing much. But let’s examine this father’s desire to completely sublimate himself in the act of satisfying his son who, by the way, never even said thanks to his dad, this spoiled kid (who was in the process of being spoiled even further), whose fault it wasn’t because he was too young to have grasped what was going on. It was the father who should have known better.
The father was obviously very much “in love” with that child of his but I think his behaviour as I have outlined it probably was doing his kid more harm than good. Imagine for a minute a scenario where this kid didn’t get what he wanted at some future point in time. Put it this way, I wouldn’t want to be around to experience the tantrum which would most likely result. For this kid seemingly was gradually being socialized into a system where his expectations did not leave any room for not having his way and not getting what he wanted. Pity this poor kid if his every desire went unfulfilled.
You can’t really blame the kid because it wasn’t his fault he was being spoiled rotten. As for the father, I can’t really see him not backing his kid up whether the kid had earned that kind of support or not. At school, for instance, this type of parent would go to bat for his child regardless of whether the kid was right or wrong. It was the teacher’s fault, the vice-principal’s fault … fill in the blank but it was never the kid who had done wrong and who was simply being asked to assume responsibility for whatever had happened and to take the punishment that a teacher, an administrator, etc. had believed should be meted out given the circumstances. Much like the woman in the above-mentioned anecdote, this parent would be modeling behaviour that was wrong and actually, regardless of the outcome of that particular sequence of events – i.e. whether he was actually able to get his kid off or not – was doing his kid more harm than good in the long term. Again like the woman who had parked illegally and had whined her way out of having to suffer the consequence of that, this parent would be viewing the situation myopically, wanting to get his kid off regardless of whether the kid had behaved correctly or not.
The kid would have had a negative learning experience from this type of thing. Always play the victim, never take responsibility for anything that happens whether or not it’s your fault, and above all deny, deny, deny, even when caught red-handed, with your hand in the cookie jar as it were. Too bad Daddy’s so blind, probably the type who speeds up at a four-stop intersection and bullshits someone who confronts him for it.
Finally there’s this one. It’s a story in which self-centred and inconsiderate women sit double-parked every afternoon in front of Solomon Schecter Academy (S.S.A.) on Côte St. Luc Road, waiting to pick up their kids. (God forbid they should park legally in a spot that was further away and walk.) There they are, tying up traffic in their Mercedes or SUV’s or, in some cases in their Mercedes SUV’s, talking on their cells, chewing gum – the epitome of the Jewish American Princess, the archetypical Jap. Not a care in the world, getting away with murder.
Talk about retribution. The school is located right beside the Shaare Zion synagogue. People took it upon themselves to park in prohibited zones in and around the school-synagogue complex on a weekday believing parking restrictions would not be enforced given the fact it was a Jewish high holiday and therefore there was no school in session that day.
However, these people had miscalculated. They were indeed ticketed and played the race card as part of their argument that they had been treated unjustly. The cops and government were acting in an anti-Semitic manner, they argued, and to hell with the facts of the case. They had parked illegally and were forced to pay the price for this indiscretion. Karma pure and simple in terms of these trophy wives being paid back for their double-parking ways and the consequent traffic disruption caused by their selfish and self-absorbed behaviour. Like others in the same boat, these idiots can’t seem to grasp the big picture, only small bits of it.
So there we have it.
Let us conclude this two JuicyLesson lesson by briefly drawing out elements of the behaviours that I have been discussing. It is important to understand that although some of the behavioural characteristics below cannot be applied equally to all the incidents discussed yesterday and today because these incidents are somewhat different, all of the following are true reflections of what transpired. We may have to imagine the behavioural consequences at times such as transferring something which has occurred to a future situation as with the “caterer” dad, or to a potential consequence which could have happened but did not as in the case of the parking lot “whining mama” whose progeny was not actually there but could very well have been.
Firstly, all of these characters acted in selfish, ignorant and self-absorbed manners, although this situation is not as cut and dry with the father/server. Second, none of these people ever took responsibility for their behaviour, always blaming other extraneous factors/people for their predicaments. Third all of the situations discussed dealt with people not taking the wider, longer view choosing the shorter, more restricted one instead. Finally, each of the individuals did not recognize the importance of the role of karma in their respective lives. As George Harrison sings “Isn’t it a pity. Isn’t it a shame.”
… and that’s that.
By the way, yesterday, on the road, a bearded Jewish guy in a van they all drive did it to me, pulled up to a three-stop intersection arriving at his stop significantly after I had arrived at mine, slowed down briefly and not that much actually, and then this guy speeded up, not waiting for his turn. Surprising was not that this occurred but my reaction to it which was quite restrained and low key. Was this because these JuicyLessons over the last two days have some kind of therapeutic value? That would be nice.
I am sending you this ‘faint memory’ so you can decide to post it or keep it private.
I recently saw **** at a wedding.
The story goes, either you or **** taught in the public high school system. I think it was Leon
But you told our class years later about a student who wasn’t performing well in and out of class in the public sector. I think **** told the parents and their answer f was “ who the fuck are you to tell me how to raise my kid??”
A Bialik parent may have listened to what a teacher would say and possibly discipline their child accordingly.
But I think the point you were making was the difference in how people react to teachers comments depending
On where you are in the city and/or school.
I think this may tie in to your double juicy lessons 73 & 74 and the characters you speak of!
First you have to understand that the public sector parent was possibly saying what the Bialik parent was actually thinking. Second, my point was that before you can concern yourself with your child’s behaviour/performance in school, you have to ensure that your family has food, shelter and clothing. Some parents have the luxury to demonstrate a caring attitude towards their child’s level of achievement in an academic environment and to discipline their children as required as the consequence of an interaction with a teacher about the kid’s progress, behaviour, etc. while others, – the less well-off shall we say – don’t have that luxury. Before you can do anything re. your kid not maximizing his potential at school, you must make sure that supper is on the table.
Another anecdote on this theme is the following: Teacher phones up parent to complain about Teddy’s disruptive classroom demeanour and is greeted with the parent asking the teacher if she, the parent, had ever called up to complain about Teddy’s behaviour at home. The parent then goes on to suggest ground rules for the future. She will discipline Teddy at home with teacher performing the same role when it cones to school and never the twain shall meet.