Don’t make me be your children’s dad

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Teenagers from the high school down the street hang out in front of my house in the warm months. It’s a dead end, shady, and beautiful with the creek. They can smoke their cigarettes or pot without much fear.

I go out and tell them to go easy and they can stay. It doesn’t matter to me a bit what they do as long as they aren’t littering or otherwise fucking with the creek.

One day one of the boys lied to me while acting polite. It pissed me off and I told him so. More showed than told. Just like any good author would do. He contritely retracted the lie.

I wish now I hadn’t called him on it. I wish instead of getting mad and telling him why I knew he was lying I’d calmly said—and could say to every teenager who is toddling around the abyss of seventeen—

You know your parents believe your lies because they’re either too stupid to know you’re lying or they do know you’re lying and they subconsciously or otherwise choose to accept it and pretend it’s true because they love you.

I’m gonna save you years of confusion, wasted time, and maybe even an emergency room bill or two, by telling you you had better learn not to lie to strangers. They don’t love you, and not all of them are stupid.

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