It's The Parents That Need A Smack

By Travis Lyle a.k.a DJ Hedmekanik

Caffeine? Check. Refined Sugar? Check? Chaos? Check. Piercing High-Decibel Screams Of Anguish? Better Believe It.

Caught a steam train on Sunday morning. What was that? Did you say ‘holy crap, now there’s a sure sign he’s getting old’? Come closer so I can klap you like I would like to have klapped a few of the manic lighties who were on said train. Hold still. This won't hurt a bit.
The Umgeni Steam Railway – manned entirely by volunteers and run on the sheer love of steam - is a grand and endearing anomaly; a 95-year-old steam locomotive that pushes eighty-year-old carriages up to Inchanga from Hillcrest, in the year 2008. The state of preservation of these grand remnants of the age of steam and the heydays of leisurely travel, unfettered by the demands of modern life and a here-today-gone-tomorrow lifestyle, is impressive. For all the graffiti and the jarring disruption of cellphones, you could well believe that it is the year 1929 as you make your way through the darkly forested valleys.
Then, of course, there is the screaming horde of ankle biters that bring you out of your reverie with a thump. They’re a study in chaos, for the most part, and a lesson in parenting. Or the lack thereof. For one thing, it’s immediately obvious who the indulgent parents are that allow their offspring to run rampant and unchecked. They’re the ones shouting:
‘Shayden Breitling Goss! (because a name like Thomas or Michael would just be so passé) Ah thord ah tolljew noddoo stickyaw eddowdov a windah! Ah’m gonna smeckyew nah if you doan siddahn en karmdahn!’ (They're originally from Queensburgh, the Gosses, but dad Terry - he's the one who's been ogling my wife's legs since Hillcrest - he recently made good by importing cheap Chinese generators. They now live in Durban North. There goes that neighbourhood.)
To which, of course, the little cretin sticks out his tongue and continues to scream blue bloody murder at perplexed railside spectators as he defies the cruel oppression of a parent that is merely trying to ensure he isn't dashed to mince on the tracks. Shayden Breitling Goss, the little belter, is the unambiguous result of ineffectual parenting, non-existent discipline and a strict diet of processed Woolworths food and refined sugar. Which is to say, a hyperactive snotty little tyrant that has no respect for his parents and has never been instructed in how to behave and will undoubtedly go on to become a success at a) cheating on his wife and b) selling cheap Chinese generators. You can't blame him that he'll go on to become a faithful facsimile of his parents and pass on the insufferably ignorant yet unassailably snooty attitude to the generations of little screamers that will undoubtedly come after. Hell, some of them may even evolve to become lawyers and bank managers. Maybe.
The upshot of the experience of this train is that some of the parents spend the entire journey howling threats at their kids, and consequently have an awful time of it. What a godawful way to spend a Sunday. Just deserts? Quite. Ritalin? They don't need Ritalin, they need Valium.
The other (regretfully smaller) portion of parents are those whose children sit quietly by, quite happy to observe and make comments on the passing vista. These are the well-adjusted parents who have equally well-adjusted kids. I love these people - they give me hope. The lawless little trolls that scream at the top of their lungs for the entire journey and disregard any and all instructions from their parents – they on the other hand, they make me despair.
But it really is the parents that deserve a smack, not the kids. Sure, that kind of behaviour is unacceptable (or at least, there was a time when it was considered so) and should be disciplined. Goes without saying. But it all starts with parents who are unwilling or so utterly parentally inept that they refuse to impose some kind of order upon the tykes. The sneaky suspicion is that these parents themselves were probably the result of some lacklustre parenting. Maybe momma just didn’t have enough time what with all the chores, or poppa was out getting drunk too often. Hey, we all had tough breaks - roll with it.
Whatever – the result is there for all to see on the 8:30 to Inchanga. Sweet wrappers, burger boxes, milkshake cups, chocolate bars and pure screaming hysteria. Whose bright spark idea was it to open a Wimpy right to the traintracks? Whoever they are, they're first against the wall.

Spare the kid and spoil the ride. Or so it seemed on the way back down to Hillcrest on that ancient puff ‘n go train.

This article/rant/hissy fit also published on iafrica's highlife - hislife pages


2 comments so far.

  1. Anonymous August 2, 2008 at 1:45 AM
    Y'know I have a sneaking suspicion that the parents of little Shayden may also be the arseholes who drive their precious ickle ones around everywhere in their 4x4s 'because we feel safer'. Nay bother about inconveniencing other road users, the danger to pedestrians, cyclists, the damage to the environment etc... fecking Chelsea Tractor drivers.

    They'll also be the parents who take their kids out for a meal, TOTALLY ignore the kids when they behave well until a tantrum erupts, then once the child reaches meltdown at being ignored, the parents will buy their silence with an ice cream. And if it all kicks off again, parents will say 'I'm just going to ignore you now', so that everyone else in the room has to put up with the screams.

    PS - Not a fan of smacking. But the parents could do with a slap from a wet fish
  2. hedmekanik August 4, 2008 at 5:05 PM
    'A smack in the face with a dead fish' - that's what my stepfather used to say!

    As for the parents ignoring their broodmania when out eating, tell me about it - my wife and i have worked (she waitressing, I DJ'ing) at a place for over a year now (pocket change, always welcome) and lemme tell you we know exactly what you mean. It's a wonder more bones haven't been broken, what with the sugar-high little nutters running laps at full tilt round the building, weaving as they go through waitrons' legs and table corners.


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