By Steve Cash / Detroit
We had not gone out socially for so long that I had to say yes when my wife begged me to visit our friends last weekend. She begged because she knew I dreaded spending an evening at their house. Don't get me wrong-–our friends are sweet, wonderful people, except for one irritating and annoying quality.
Every time we go to their house, they force us to listen to the latest clever or funny comments their grandchildren have made. They are so proud of these gems, they put them on paper and post them on their refrigerator for posterity. The couple reads their grandchildren's musings and laugh uproariously. To them, each of their three grandkids is Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle and Adam Sandler rolled into one.
They also force us to watch videos of the grandkids' so-called “athletic accomplishments.” I don’t mean to be cynical, but the term coordination and the video I witnessed were incompatible.
Then they start with the gifted business. According to my friends, these children are already showing signs of being the next Einstein or Mozart. When I asked for an example of their impending genius, all they could come up with was that the kids could name all the dogs on the popular children’s TV show Paw Patrol. I’m no expert, but I don’t know if that talent would qualify them for a future Rhodes Scholarships.
Don’t get me wrong—it’s very touching. I like their grandchildren, who are cute and well-behaved. But let’s get down to brass tacks-- their grandkids are not particularly funny or clever. They’re just normal children. This puts a lot of pressure on my wife and me. We try to be gracious sitting there with fixed smiles frozen on our faces. We pretend we are enjoying this dog and pony show as much as they are.
It's obvious to me that our friends haven't considered the possibility that this may be boring to us. When they read the last of the children’s incomparable quotes, it's time to go. We say goodbye and thank them for a wonderful time.
On the way home, I complain to my wife about these people putting us through this ritual every time we got together. My wife reminds me of how intolerant I am, and that we did the same thing when our own kids were small.
She is right. Many years ago, we wrote down what we considered to be our own kids’ bon mots. Now that I think about it, we also forced our neighbors and friends to share what we considered our children's verbal brilliance. Just like us, I’m sure they were elated when it was all over.
When we got home, I felt guilty for judging these people. Who am I to decide what is witty? Then it all came to me all at once. Yes, we used to write down things our kids said, but with one major difference– our three sons’ stuff was truly funny. I know what you're thinking, He’s not objective. His kids aren't funny either. I'll let you be the judge. I came across some old notebooks containing my children's quotes. To wit:
When Danny, my oldest son, was three years old, he was terrified of storms. He was watching the weather channel and raced into the family room and proclaimed, "Daddy, Daddy, I just heard on the TV we have to take cover. there’s a tomato warning!"
When my middle son Bobby needed to be punished, I had to spank him a few times. He looked up at me once and threatened, "If you spank me one more time, I'm calling Social Security."
When my kids went to bed at night, I would tell them sports stories. One night I told Mikey, my youngest, that the great San Francisco 49er quarterback, Steve Young, went to college at Brigham Young University. I also mentioned that Young was a direct descendant of the school's founder, the original Brigham Young. Mikey replied, “I wonder if he gets a deal on tuition."
Now if I'm just a doting father and these are not funny, I want to publicly apologize to my friends and my readers.
However, if you feel they are humorous at all please speak up. Perhaps it will force my friends to raise their comedic standards. Or maybe the next time, my friends can come to our house to hear some real stories of children’s brilliance and undeniable athletic prowess by an objective and neutral parent.
Steve Cash is originally from Oak Park, Mich. He is a longtime real estate agent who used to do stand-up comedy in L.A. His claim to fame was winning The Gong Show in 1977, and working at the Comedy Store with such greats as David Letterman, Jay Leno, and Michael Keaton. After watching those brilliant comics perform, Steve realized he’d better make a beeline back to Detroit and get back into real estate. Steve has had articles published in a number of publications and enjoys writing and trying to make people laugh.