As you can see by the photo at left, Jeffrey and I had a little misunderstanding regarding the parent-child relationship and my entitlements as the one who brought him into the world. Simply put, it is the divine right of parenting to humiliate one’s offspring up to and including the point at which therapy is required.
The chicken suit, purchased by his GoGo, a.k.a. my mom, a.k.a. the Captain, did not make it fully on his person before he said, “All done.” All done? Hardly, my son. We are far from done. We are, in fact, only just beginning.
I figured it was time to share with him a story of my youth, which helped me to fully understand the iron fist of parental humiliation. I’ll take you back to second grade where the rule of the McClelland household as legislated by the Captain was so eloquently stated, “You pick your play clothes. I’ll pick your school clothes.”
Every morning the Captain laid out an itchy, velvet, smock dress (I must have had at least a hundred of those), which I begrudgingly hoisted over my uneven bangs. (The Captain, as captured in my school pictures in grades K-5, cut my hair with a dull, rusty blade, but will forever insist the style du jour was an “angled” bang. BS.)
Outside of school house I contentedly dressed myself like a clown, and paraded around the neighborhood like a colorblind orphan. We had found a easy stride of compromise, the Captain and I…until she pulled out the plaid knickers and matching plaid, piped shirt.
I protested. I cried. I wailed in hysterics known only in Hollywood. I made deals with the Devil. I refused to go to school (yea right). I begged her to spare me the humiliation and the ruination of my 7-year-old reputation.
The Captain would not relent. In case I was unclear about the policy currently in place, she barked from the bottom of the stairs,”You pick your play clothes. I’ll pick your school clothes.”
I wore the damn knickers…with a brown bag over my head.
I’m not quite sure that Jeffrey got his 2-year-old head around the moral of my childhood anecdote, but he wore that stinkin’ chicken suit to school this morning. You see, sweet child, I waited 36 years for this moment. “You pick your play clothes. I’ll pick your school clothes.” Wipe those tears, and get to cluckin’.