I have been assaulted, as of late, by roving bands of angry children. They are every where I look, wilding through the super market and loitering with their gangs in the once quiet and idyllic neighborhood streets. Oh, they look innocent enough in their Abercrombie jeans and cropped hoodies and rolling wheelie shoes. But they are far from innocent. They are deliberate in their actions. And they are effective.
What is it that makes these prepubescent people so nasty, you ask? It is simply this: They are black belts at the tssk and huffy. They roll their eyes and stomp their feet and shed the aura of general disdain that rolls like thick Irish fog through crowds of unexpecting strangers, stopping the ones that love them the most in their tracks.
And I'm not going to take it any more.
Understand this: the tssk and huffy sends me over the edge of reason when it is my own children. Strangers bring on homicidal thoughts. Seriously.
I am at our neighborhood grocery store casually skipping through the produce section, filling my basket with organic goodies to take to grandma who is sick in bed. The musak is blaring and the florescent lights are flickering - it's like a scene from Disney. Then, from the end of the spice aisle, I hear it.
Note the change in movie genre. Hear the theme from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly? Good. You're in the right place.
I hear this prepubescent child let go of one giant tsssk followed by an enormous sigh and huffy.
and then, S I L E N C E.
Nobody moves. The fear is palpable. What will this almost-human child-thing do next?
From the frozen section, I hear old Mr.Cranston crush a frozen pie crust in his arthritic hands. (He is picking up the pie crust for his wife of 54 years. They've just returned from the apple orchard, and she is at home peeling and coring their luscious apple bounty...)
Someone in the cereal aisle gasps. Over in the paper and snack aisle, a sweet naive toddler begins to babble, but is quickly silenced by his loving mother's cold hand that clamps tightly over his little mouth so as not to give the tssker any clue as to their where abouts.
No one moves. No one breathes. We all wait. And then,
The terrible stomping. We stand absolutely still - afraid to set down the extra tomatoes or instant potato flakes as we listen to the terrible teenage stomping. Silently, we track her - spice aisle to salad dressing through the flower area and finally, the little, friendly ding of the door as it's motion-detecting eye triggers it's movement. The stomping continues into the parking lot. The end is signaled by the violent slamming of the passenger side door of the Honda Odyssey Mini-Van. And finally, the little, friendly ding of the automatic door as it closes us all inside the safety of the grocery store.
The entire populace of the neighborhood grocery store lets out one collective sigh of relief.
And now, I ask you, why do we - the neighbors and hapless bystanders - have to be the audience for such an horrific display of disrespect?
Note the change in theme one more time: Think Les Miserables. I am standing on a heaping pile of bodies in the grocery store, waving a white flag fashioned from the butcher's apron. Hear the swelling musak in the background? Good. Let us continue.
I say, we don't have to take it any more. Join me as we rally to stop the terrific tssk and huffy. It starts at home, friends. With our own children. Yes, it's true. Our children are tssk and huffers, and they will continue down this dangerous road until we stop them. And stop them we must. Then, we take our cause to the streets. To the post office and the shopping mall and to our idyllic neighborhood grocery stores.
Why? You ask.
Because. Because somebody has to take a stand. And we must do it now, before bad manners and rude behaviors run amok in our world. Go Green and Get Nice! That's my new slogan.
Go Green and Get Nice!
I know, I know... a slogan simply isn't enough to make a change, is it? Cute little bumper sticker slogans are a nice break from road rage, but they don't really make a difference. So. Here's my plan.
Give the old tssk and huffy right back to 'em.
We've all done it at one point in our lives. Heck, we were tssk and huffy masters.
Imagine if you will, the same grocery store. The same almost-human child-thing lets go of a giant tssk and an amazing huffy. This time, instead of crumbling in fear, old Mr. Cranston sends one right back at her. The gasper in the cereal aisle follows suit, the toddle catches on and begins tssking and huffing right along with the crowd. Pretty soon, the whole store is tssking and huffing back at the offender, who is wildly embarrassed that her assault has had no effect. She then, shapes up and is respectful to her mother once again.
I don't know if a dose of their own medicine will have any affect on their wildly self-centered selves, but it would sure make me feel a whole lot better.