"Hellfire" by Patrick Dunne
Warning: this will be long, and this may offend the tender sensibilities of some of my neighbors in this and adjoining tony zip codes. So be it. I'm angry tonight, and I'm going to vent. Welcome to my nightmare.
Are there plenty of decent, normal parents in this largely wealthy county? I'd like to think so. But, by and large, in the Chevy Chase-Potomac-Bethesda corridor, I encounter young people who are being raised to believe they really are better than most other people on the planet, by virtue of wealth. Children who act like they've never heard the words "humility" or "decency" let alone "humbleness" or "equality." It begins at an early age here, where mommies and daddies, many of them likely working for firms that bear their own names, start the kids off with screaming and yelling and running in cafes and stores - behavior that would have brought the hammer down from my parents back in the day.
But here in Bethesda, where the median household income is more than $99,000 a year, Jason/Joshua/Becca/Brittany is a Child Who Can Do No Wrong. Despite the shattered eardrums of others nearby, these UberKinder will not be disciplined or removed from the premises. Bad behavior is coddled. "It's all an experience for my perfect child in his $500 toddler ensemble from Ralph Lauren Polo. Other people be damned! Don't bother mommy now, Ethan/Ashley, she's on her cell, making an appointment at the Red Door for a chemical peel and a massage. Go pull merchandise off the shelves - the clerks are there to clean up after you!"
You think I'm kidding? I'm not. I've actually seen and heard crap like this. Any wonder why, by the time they're 15 or 16, a lot of these kids have been turned into soulless shopping/screwing party machines? I couldn't give a damn where your kid attends prep school - if he doesn't know how to treat another human being outside of his allowance range with a degree of decency, you haven't raised him to be worth much as a human, frankly.
Tonight, I took a short break with the Sasquatch - I needed to run a quick errand, as did he. Neither one of us is fond of mall shopping, as it brings out the worst in humanity. From gangsta wannabes to the rich poseurs, it's a mass of ugliness. But, at least, the suburban gangsta kids will just ignore you at the mall. DJ Jazzy Trevor and his posse will blow you off as not being cool enough to warrant a second look. And that's fine with me. The rich kids, though, are another story altogether.
This evening, I really wanted to hit Bruce Variety - the one store in Bethesda where you can find anything you need, from needles and thread to school supplies to pirate eye patches and shepherd's crooks. Seriously. I love this place. I needed a new change purse, as the zipper was shot on mine, spilling nickels and pennies throughout my purse. Bruce would be the place! The Squatch dude needed to hit Radio Shack. Unfortunately, as we planned our surgical strike, we realized that both the Radio Shack by his place and Bruce Variety were closed. Our last, best option? Hit Montgomery Mall. Close by, with a Radio Shack and the Body Shop (where I wanted to get much needed foot stuff) inside, along with a Chick-fil-A, where we could get their fabulous nuggets o' joy for dinner. (I swear they coat those suckers with crack, to keep us hooked.)
Now, for the uninitiated, Montgomery Mall is a Hellmouth. This is a well-established fact. There are the occasional knifings, carjackings, and guys exposing themselves in front of the maternity clothes store. Yep, it's a reeeeally great place. I hate it. But even mall haters sometimes have to buy things from brick and mortar stores. Woman cannot live through online shopping alone. And now that I have no credit cards, it's a necessity for many things.
The Sasquatch made his speedy trip to Radio Shack, and I squinted my way through the Body Shop to get my "happy foot goodies." A quick dinner of chicken-y goodness, and we'd be back to our respective homes for a quiet Saturday evening. Sounded just fine.
And it was.
Until dinner was over.
And, as we left the food court, populated by tired parents and clutches of bored teenagers, it happened.
It's not an unfamiliar scenario for me. Fat woman walks somewhere. Someone who thinks a fat person is human garbage decides to point this out to friends. Hilarity ensues.
But tonight, the three rich, bored, asshole Bethesda teenagers decided to mock the wrong fat woman. Oh yes, they did.
As we approached their table, one of the trio pointed me out to her two friends, their heads spun around, and they all pointed, laughed, and the two girls high-fived each other. Little jerks. Usually, I try, oh lord I try, to ignore it. But tonight I didn't.
I have been working hard to keep my head attached to my body. But between the eye, work stress, filing for bankruptcy, family stress, the creeps upstairs from me, and the general wear of life, the last thing I need is a threesome of idiots mocking me for BEING ME.
I told Teenager #1 she was a creep. Straight out. She gave me the blank "Oh shit, I got caught" look that is followed by the "Uh, uhm, heh heh, I dunno what you're talking about..." speech. I started to walk away, but the Sasquatch had stopped. I told him what had transpired. He paused, turned, and confronted them. The one girl gave him the same crap. The two girls laughed as he calmly dressed them down. Teenager #2 wouldn't even look him - or me - in the eye. She just kept laughing while she flipped through songs on her iPod, as if we did not exist. Teenager #3, the one boy, got up, totally ignoring my friend, and walked to the trash can to dump his rubbish, and I confronted him. Before I could even get a word out, he put his hands up and said, "Hey, look. I didn't actually say anything."
"So, pointing and laughing is okay, then?" He didn't respond. The teens just blew my friend off. He wasn't one of them. He wasn't wearing labels. He wasn't some golden Bethesda youth with $10,000 of orthodontia and overpriced clothes. "It's not funny," he said to them. iPod girl continued to giggle like a fucking idiot. I looked at them and said, "Stupid rich Bethesda pieces of shit."
Usually, when it's teenagers, I try to keep it clean. I really do. But I'm tired. I'm tired of having to fight back against People Who Should Know Better.
People who are old enough to be on their own at the mall.
People who have been raised with every advantage.
People who know they are privileged.
People who don't even have the decency, when caught being assholes, to say, "I'm sorry."
"That was wrong."
No, these kids have been raised to believe they don't have to say sorry to people who aren't as good as they are. People who they think are beneath them.
Well, screw you. I've hit my limit with your overpriced trash. A designer trash bag still contains trash, kids.
And I blame the parents.
Let me tell you, Yuppie Parents of Montgomery County, I think you're doing a pretty crappy job. What do I see in your children? When I look at the Abercrombie & Fitch bags they clutch like religious icons? When I see their greedy little dull dolls eyes glazed over as they chat on their cellphones? When I feel the cold fronts they generate as they walk by?
I see a lack of things that you didn't see fit to give them:
There is no civility. There is discourtesy and a sense of entitlement.
There is no dignity. There is a cult of dirty materialism and hedonism.
There is no decency. There is rudeness, cruelty and shameless self-absorption.
Yep, I blame you, Yupster parents. (I also blame the media you allow your kids to "enjoy." That's a whole different post. Bottom line? You can control the TV and computer, hons.)
Indulging your child's every whim, investing them with a sense of self-importance at an early age? It does not help them in this life, unless you are grooming them to be the next Paris Hilton. And you know what? Paris Hilton has a lot of money, but she has no class. We've all seen her vagina. Most of us have seen her give some guy a blow job. She's been pulled over for driving while intoxicated. She gets rid of pets when they're too big for her purse. She's not bright. She thinks "hot" is spelled with three "t's"... She is a human punchline to a panoply of sad, pathetic jokes. Do you really want your kid to admire and emulate that? No? Well, then, start parenting!
Oh, and hey, teens of Bethesda! Here are some super fun facts for you!
Fact #1: I know I am physically unattractive. I'm really fat. Get over it. My lack of traditional beauty is not worthy of comment by people rendered even uglier by a lack of a soul.
Fact #2: Yes, you have more money than I have. In fact, you are currently wearing more money than I have. You have probably spent more on booze, weed, DKNY and text messaging this month than I'll make this year. But that doesn't make you better than me. In fact, it makes you a moron. Part of me wishes carpal tunnel and cancer on you for all the time you're spending with your Sidekick or Crackberry Pearl or whatever.
Fact #3: You ain't always gonna be young and pretty. And if all you can remember is the price list at Armani Exchange and that ugly people are fun to mock, your life is gonna be crap.
MoCo Parents, try though I might to find some reason to like your children, I cannot. Where did they learn to be such jerks? They say that charity begins at home. I think cruelty does, too. You're raising bullies with pocket change.
If I could have, I would have done a Vulcan mind meld on one of those rich little trolls tonight at Montgomery Mall. It actually would have pleased me to see one of them weep to understand what I've been through in the past two years and watch them melt from volcanic heat and pressure they could never withstand. They haven't been raised with enough fortitude to hack it.
I've never looked for sympathy out here. I've never looked for anyone to pat me on the back. But life hasn't been great in recent times. I am worn down. I am weary. And I have so much going in my very, very real life, I cannot hack bullshit from slimey little rich brats right now. And I shouldn't have to deal with it. I know why suicide rates are higher for people who are overweight. I know why depression is such a problem for fat people. And I know why people become hermits. Experiences like tonight make me want to stay at home. Why go out and deal with this crap? Why not just go to work and come directly home and just not deal with the evil behavior that is taken for granted in the community where I live? Behavior that is ignored, condoned, and encouraged by mentally absent and criminally indulgent parenting?
Yeah, I need to lose a lot of weight. Yeah, I could probably use some therapy.
But what's your excuse, Yuppie Mommies and Daddies?
Get your kids out of the damn mall if you're not there to supervise them. Get them off frigging MySpace. Expose them to the world outside Potomac and Bethesda. And I don't mean by summering in the Hamptons. Most of the world isn't one big super sweet 16 party.
There's a world outside this goddamn yuppie bubble. And guess what, kids? It's populated more by people like me than by people like you. And we aren't afraid to stare you in the face and call you on your arrogance and stupidity.
Someday, Yuppie Mommy and Daddy, your kid is going to mock the wrong low-class fat chick, and instead of just calling your creepy kid a "rich Bethesda piece of shit", someone with less restraint is going to smack your kid or put your kid in the hospital.
And you know what? Your kid is probably going to deserve it.
Get with the program. Wake up and smell the latte. Grow up so your kids can, too.