(Some language as always will be a little salty and slightly NSFW. Just so you know.)
It was just a Boys Under 10 soccer game. But I saw a player of such singular talent that I couldn't believe it. The kind of talent that you see in the movies and think, "There's just no way that can be real." But it was real. I saw it with my own two eyes. (Four eyes if you're going to insult me with my glasses.) And I heard it with my own two ears. (No "four ears" comment, huh? Yeah, I thought so!) The kid was smaller than the rest and he swept down the field with amazing moves. But I wasn't impressed with his soccer skill. You see decent players every week. There's usually one really good one on each team. What this kid had though was that rare level of kiddie assholishness that it felt like a cartoon, like a bad South Park rip-off.
This kid - who looked like the offspring of Harpo Marx and a urinal cake - screamed at our team's players. Which wasn't too surprising. Or all that bad. Kids do talk some smack even at this age against their opponents. Yet after he scored an early goal, he ran by myself and the other coach skipping and singing, "Zip-a-dee-do-da!" It was as classless as it was audacious. I'm just surprised he didn't moon us while flipping us both birds as he raced by. Now, if the kid was just awful to the people he was playing against, it wouldn't be awesome, but it wouldn't be unoriginal either.
But then he also screamed at his own team. "Why do I even try if you won't get me the ball?!!" he yelled in the face a teammate who had no idea how to deal with that. As the game went on, he even yelled at the ref, right in his face. (And he wasn't a great ref, but it was like something out of the Bad News Bears, even though the kids in Bad News Bears were funny and this kid made you wish they brought back a good old fashioned kid-slapping.) What this kid showed was on par with every SUPER-BRAT you saw in any movie ever. I think of the Wonder Years brother who played the kid movie star in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure that had Pee-Wee's bike.
And if this was the only kid like that, it would be okay. You could live with it, but there's more than just one. Every class has a couple, every grade a bunch, and every school enough to make you fear for the future. (There's even one girl at my kid's school who makes new girls cry and her mom yells at other kids for her like the mom's her muscle.)
Instead of worrying about the future of our society due to kids like this, I'm actually thankful these kids exist. These kiddie monsters show there are parents worse than you in an empirical fashion that will leave you feeling smug and self-satisfied for anywhere from 24-to-72 hours. It takes every moment of self-examining one does as a parent and shows that you are a golden sunbeam of parenting awesomeness. You are a fluffy android unicorn that clearly has a handle on things. All because your kid is not awful.
Yet that's where the really hard dilemma kicks in. Because as big of a turd as any kid is, it's not their fault for their turdishness. They're just kids. However...
Their parents are true assholes. Assholes who instill in their kid a belief that their child is entitled to more than other children. Which is different from liking your kid more than other kids. Everyone likes their kids better than other kids. But you also let your kids know they aren't the chosen one. There's a difference between advocating for your children and trying to make all other children and adults and society to bend to the will of your terrible tot. These tiny little shit Hitlers - or Shitlers as we shall call them - need to have a collection of allied forces to step forward and say that we are all in this together and we will not serve your mouthy child like a king or queen. In the immortal words of the great commander Captain Jean-Luc Picard: "The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"
Because mouthy horrible kids who play soccer turn into awful human beings. Like totally the worst. Yes... granted, I was a mouthy soccer player. Who argued with refs and got yellow cards. And never shut up and was pretty obnoxious. But I'm different. I turned out... alright? I'm not like that kid. I'm totally different. Totally... diff... oh, crap. Crap, crap, frakkin' crap.
Another example of me hating something when I'm just really hating myself.
Still... those parents are the worst.
My TCM This Week
I watched a couple of old Alan Arkin films that they were playing awhile back during an Alan Arkin month. I'd never heard of either before and was pleasantly surprised by both.
The first was a film called Simon where Alan Arkin plays a man that a bunch of geniuses at a think tank convince is an alien to trick the rest of the world just for their own malevolent amusement. Written and directed by Marshall Brickman - the co-writer of Annie Hall and other Woody Allen films, it was an unexpected film with many laughs and featured the space shuttle before it was even actually used. And it had a computer that was a giant talking phone, not to mention Madeleine Kahn, Wallace Shawn, Austin Pendleton, and the dad Alf lived with. Really unlike most films and certainly anything from that time period of 1980.
The other was the early 70s film Little Murders, written by the great playwright and cartoonist Jules Feiffer and directed by Arkin himself. Starring the always brilliant Elliot Gould, it's a bit more hit and miss. One of the best moments though is a cameo by Donald Sutherland as the minister at a wedding that is just brilliant. It's on par for me with Peter Cook in The Princess Bride and I'd love to see those two guys to form their own company to do weddings.
What I loved about these two films (and most films I watch off TCM) is how they capture a time and place that's both completely different yet completely the same as now. Watching a New York where people were constantly being randomly shot in Little Murders, this dark comedy isn't too different from now with so many shootings taking place all the time. And with Simon having a talking computer with a woman's voice that looks like a giant phone... it's pretty much predicting Siri and the iPhone completely.
Thanks again for reading and hope you all have a week so brilliant that it gets its own TED talk.
the T stands for self-loathing