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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Public Indecency

Have you ever seen someone do something that just positively blew your mind, left you slack-jawed and thunderstruck and, at the same time, completely and utterly disgusted?


Think back to college, Old Head.

You'll remember the R.A. who, stumbling back to the dorms positively blind-drunk opened your hall-mate's sweater drawer and pissed all over the woolen contents residing therein. You'll remember the jock who, also blissfully and inebriated, mistook the sink for the toilet and took a volcanic shit inside of it. Want to wash your hands? Surprise!

You'll no doubt recall multiple incidents of inappropriate expulsion of bodily fluids. That's what college is all about. Well, that and losing your virginity, which also involves an expulsion of bodily fluids, and usually an inappropriate one, considering the partner/receptacle.

Tonight, though, far away from the college I attended, and indeed far away from anybody remotely college-aged, I witnessed a sight that shocked and horrified me, and brought me right back to the puerile and bold-faced immaturity that are hallmarks of college freshmen nationwide.

These behaviors tonight, however, were exhibited, or I should perhaps say "exhibitioned" by an eight-year-old.

When I first saw this child in JoAnn Fabrics tonight, I immediately judged him to be a descendent from the proud and prevalent White Trash Tradition. See, he wore a mohawk. Now, I know, I'm mean and judgmental and everything but, seriously, when you allow your eight-year-old to have a mohawk, well, he's white trash and so are you. Sorry. I felt bad about passing judgment on this trashy little bastard. Well, a little bit. But, that's what we do, and there's really nothing wrong with passing judgment on people. We do it all the time, and it's a self-preservation device. Our judgment/instincts tell us who we can trust, who we feel is going to rape us, who we can take advantage of, who we can use big words in front of, who we can privately admire/deride. My step-grandmother uses her judgment to determine with whom she can safely share the sidewalk.

"This black man was following me home from the store," she said to my parents one time years ago.

"What did you do?" my mother asked.

"I crossed the street."

Anyway, so I knew from the start that this kid belonged to a white trash family. His mother was a dumpass-- stringy hair haphazardly flying this way and that, father was balding-- his mohawk days long gone, and the two daughters had farmer's tans. Classic.

We were all at the framing counter, and I was standing behind Roseanne Barr and her family. We were all drawn to the framing counter by the 60% off coupon. My wife and I had just inherited a piece of bizarre artwork drawn during possible stages of dementia by our friend's mother using paint marker. The piece of artwork is wildly colored and crazily patterned with all kinds of lunatic geometric shapes and floral patterns and it looks like a kaleidoscope on acid and meth. Our friend had hundreds of them and I made the mistake of admiring one of her mother's pieces on the wall of their house, and so, of course, we ended up with one.

"Thank you," I said.

"You won't be thanking me when you go to get it framed."

She was right. An irregular size, requiring UV-free glass because of the unorthodox materials used to create the painting, the bill came to $233 before presentation of the coupon, still not cheap.

Before I could even get up to the counter, though, I had to wait for Roseanne, her husband and her kids harrass the framing lady with their own especially wacko framing request. Those coupons just bring in all the weirdos, I guess. The little boy with the mohawk kept turning around and staring at me. Ordinarily, when kids look at me, I wave. This kid, though, received only an uncomfortable glower from me. His parents were taking up a lot of my time, monopolizing the framing counter and they were trashy. I, standing there in my linen trousers, dress shirt, silver pocket-watch chain and expensive shoes, deserved to glower at this be-mohawked child in his tiny wife-beater.

"If you ever graduate high school," I mused while staring him down, "you will be voted 'Most Likely to Be Tased'."

Later on in the evening, after my wife acquired some fabric and we went to the counter to pay, we were standing behind Roseanne, her husband, and one of the daughters. I wondered where the pint-sized miscreant and his other sister went off to. Probably copulating in the fleece aisle, I thought. But I soon saw them, riding the escalators up, and then down, and then up, and then down, until the JoAnn clerk at the cash register asked the mother to tell them to stop. I love it when store employees are forced to compel parents to, well, parent their children.

Unfortunately, there were no eagle-eyed JoAnn employees, or police officers present in the parking lot when my wife and I got into our car. As I started it, I peered out over the steering wheel and the sight I saw stopped me completely. My jaw dropped, literally. I couldn't believe, barely could I process and then report what was happening.

"Oh my God."

"What? What?" my wife asked, thinking maybe something was wrong with our car.

"He's pissing on the car! He's pissing on the car! He's pissing on the car!"

And, indeed he was. My wife looked just in time to catch an arc of urine, cresting gently through the air, splashing all over the gold-colored wheel of a white Acura Legend, parked two rows in front of us. It took me a second to realize that I recognized the tire-pisser. It was the mohawk child, and he was grinning his very naked ass off, his shorts around his ankles as his parents and sisters were entering the car. The parents weren't reprimanding or discouraging. The sisters weren't razzing him or chastising him. It was just a pretty blase affair to this brood.

I, though, was shocked. He was pissing all over his own family's car. I don't know what's worse, really-- pissing on your family's car, or pissing on somebody else's car. I mean, pissing on somebody else's car is a crime. Pissing on your own car is just retarded. Especially when there are restrooms inside JoAnn Fabrics for customers' use. I know. I've used them. They're perfectly adequate, especially for children with mohawks.

My wife waved at him, and he pulled up his shorts, only mildly embarrassed. What did he think: he had an invisibility cloak?

I wanted to go find a policeman, but I didn't know exactly what I would say. I didn't want to get the kid in trouble, I wanted to get the parents in trouble, though, very much. I couldn't imagine what kind of people would think allowing their eight-year-old child to let loose a hot, steaming stream of piss all over the family car in a public place is an appropriate thing to do. I mean, who the fuck are these people? What else do they let this kid do-- shit in the neighbors' mailboxes? Fart inside the dog's ear while he sleeps? I mean, once you're allowed to piss on the family car in the JoAnn parking lot, you're pretty much capable of anything.

Watching this kid urinate in public reminded me of a time when I had done something similar. I had come home from school on the bus and my mom had not yet returned home. I had to pee extremely badly and I had no idea when she would be back. I was a very nervous child, always petrified of doing the wrong thing, and even more petrified of being caught, and so I surreptitiously as possible found a secluded spot in the back of the house and peed. Knowing that we were upper-middle class Jews and were not ever supposed to do such things, I cried as I relieved myself by the central air conditioning unit behind the house. I knew I was a bad boy, but I didn't feel I had a suitable alternative. I mean, I could have knocked on a neighbors door, but the neighbors on both sides of my parents' house were elderly and weird, and I thought I should take my chances outside.

The next day, after school, I was playing in the living room with my Matchbox cars, racing them along the patterns of the rug when a strange car pulled up in front of our house. It was a dark blue Ford Crown Victoria with tinted windows and four or five long antennae sticking out from its roof and trunk. It had small hubcaps and two spotlamps on the A-pillars. My heart stopped. Even at the tender young age of seven, obsessed as I was with emergency vehicles, I knew an undercover police car when I saw it. The doors opened, and two men emerged, wearing the stereotypical crew-cuts, dark suits and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Positive that I was about to be arrested for my vile, reprehensible actions of the prior afternoon, I raced up to my sister's bedroom and immediately hid under her bed, just scooting underneath the bedskirt, silently weeping as the doorbell rang.

The guys left shortly thereafter, but I wouldn't come out from under the bed for several hours.

Though my mother was finally able to convince me that I wasn't in trouble for peeing outside our house, it was only years later that I learned that the two gentlemen who visited our house that day were there looking to speak to my grandfather, who used to live at our house but had since moved in with my step-grandmother, the one who crossed the street to avoid the stalker. He had owned a small clothing store that, in the 1970s, was frequented by many members of the Testas, a notorious Philadelphia mob family. My grandfather made custom-tailored suits for many members of the Testa family, and the men held informal "business meetings" at my grandfather's store, so, obviously, the FBI wanted to know what was discussed at said gatherings. Besides haberdashery, that is.

As I watched this kid piss all over the wheel of his father's Acura in the JoAnn parking lot, I wished silently that an unmarked police car might happen to visit his parents' home tomorrow, on some other errand, to scare the bejesus out of this little mohawked bastard. But I doubt very much that it would have the same effect on him that it did on me, lo those many years ago. I was a different child than this boy, I knew that for sure-- and it wasn't religion or social standing that made us different. It wasn't his mohawk versus my bowl-cut. It was the fact that, as he did his urine-soaked deed, he smiled.

And I cried.


  1. Excellent blog! I was thinking.. whoa a little O.T.T with the judgement at first but then you had me at "We were all at the framing counter,and I was standing behind Rosanne Barr and her family."
    I choked on my diet coke at that one. Well done!
    In my neighbourhood we have kids whipping things at each other and swearing and I just sit there thinking "I hate kids." I saw a little boy 3 years old WITH A BIG POOP hanging out and his mum no where to be found. Not trying to top you or anything but I thought holy fuck where is the mum! I may have even half screamed it. Some girl grabbed him. That girl just got out of school to deal with that. I still didnt see the mum around. eww..omg I forgot about that.
    I feel sorry for kids who's parents don't give a fig but then they grow up and I just hate the grown kid and think Your mum would be ashamed of your behaviour.. But reading this blog..probably not. bleck..

  2. Shocking! Not to be believed! But of course, truth is stranger than fiction. What an excellent post!

  3. I'm going to judge you right now and say that you're kind of sheltered and that your judgements are a bit archaic. Also- you're the best parent you'll ever be before you have any kids.
    None of which is to say the situation and people in it weren't at least 1/10 of the way you described them.

  4. omg (lmt! just kidding) but true, similar story: this weekend some friends and family and I stayed at a beach house. yesterday we wanted to take group pictures in front of the house before we left. as we were taking said pictures, a little girl staying in the house caddy corner to us, came outside, down the stairs, dropped trou and took a dump. RIGHT in the corner of the house, that i'm 99% sure had bathrooms (as ours had three), that she had just come outside from!
    she knew we could see her too, because while all eight of stared and laughed and were appalled, she looked right back at us-while dropping a deuce on the side lawn. she pulled her pants up and went back in the house.


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