I was in Walmart yesterday doing some last-minute Easter shopping. During the trip, I had an encounter that made me want to hit a man more than I can remember ever wanting to hit someone.
Before I get into the incident, I want to preface this by saying that I play with my kids. I mean, we have a banter. I tell them that I’m gonna smack ‘em upside the head. I tell them that they’re wusses. I call them weak. But it’s in fun. They say the same things to me. It’s only when we’re playing around. I also make sure that I only say things like this at appropriate times. When we’re wrestling around, physically or verbally, or whatever – we’re playful folks but there are no doubts whatsoever how we feel about one another or how close we are.
OK, so the wife and I are in Walmart and it’s a bit of a madhouse. We’re in the seasonal aisle picking over the slim remainders when I overhear a dad verbally disciplining his kid. He tells the child, “Your attitude is disgusting. You need to change your attitude or we just might cancel Easter.” Perhaps a bit harsh, but I’ve had to make such threats before. I don’t know what this guy is getting on to his kid for. Heck the kid could have been threatening to run over his sister with a lawnmower for all I know. I didn’t think much about it.
Seconds later I’m on the other side of their cart where I can see them and the dad’s still going at his boy. Now I see the young ‘un is about 5 or 6 and is now sitting in the cart, legs pulled up to his chest, arms circling them, and is just bawling. Then, THEN, the dad says to the boy: “You are such a wuss. I’ve never seen such a wuss as you.”
I’ve got to tell you folks – I almost went to jail last night. Were I more of a man, perhaps I should. I feel guilty that I didn’t at least say something. I don’t know though, on the other hand, I don’t want other people butting into my life. I guess I hope that that kind of verbal abuse isn’t common. I hope that if it is, the mom sees through it someday soon and realizes what it’s doing to their kids. I’ve got that poor boy’s image burned in my mind and if I ever see that dude in Walmart again, he better hope he’s being nice.