Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Family Values On Sale

Divorces were becoming popular, almost fashionable, when I was a boy. This was during the late sixties, just before Elvis bloated like a beached beluga on the Vegas shores. Of the original six couples that built nests bordering the Wisteria Lane of my youth, three of the them reviewed their vows in divorce court. Statistically speaking, I grew up in a well balanced, neo-traditional neighbourhood where fifty percent of marriages ended in divorce. Everything was idyllic...just as it should have been.

The people that were living in my suburban court (it wasn't actually a lane) weren't really all that traditional when I think about it. One of them had six sons and would hang dead moose from a front yard tree. One had a daughter that kept a horse in the basement and had a son that paraded around the neighbourhood naked. One was quite normal (they divorced and left Brighton Court quite quickly). One had a pet skunk and a giant spider. I'm not sure if my memory of the giant spider is real or fabricated. I have a way of confusing my childhood with episodes from the Munsters. There was one other family who was quite normal, and then there was my family who I can't possibly evaluate objectively (hint: my dad skied to work, wore ascots and tried to build Hadrian's Wall in our backyard).

There were always lots of boys in the neighbourhood, and where there's boys, there's fights. Two of my friends, brothers in fact, would often get into tussles over this or that. The fights were never bloody or viscious, but they usually stirred up some dust. These battles were typically fought in driveways or backyards, and usually involved ownership of things that mattered greatly: marbles, baseball gloves, hockey sticks or Dinky Toys.

Dinky Toys. Sounds like something you'd buy in a diminutive sex shop, not that I've ever been to one (I prefer the big box stores). You'd never get away with calling your company Dinky Toys these days...not PC. I think that dinky meant small, but I could never quite shake the stigmatism of the other dinky.

Do you want to play Dinky Toys?

You can see the problem. Needless to say, I was pretty happy when Hot Wheels came along. It was more manly to fight over Hot Wheels than Dinky Toys. My friends, the duelling brothers, never fought at school, but occasionally there'd be a fight between other boys. Some of the fights were epic, with a circle of cheering and jeering kids forming a makeshift ring. Usually a meddling teacher would break up the brawl and the sparring partners would be dragged into the office where the Principal would beat them up even more. Aren't childhood memories great?

In the good old days, boys fought boys. With the frequency of Halley's Comet, there'd be a cat fight (girl versus girl). These fights were always the most highly prized. I'm not sure why, but I'd be lying if I said anything to the contrary. I was fascinated by them...still am. The nice thing about a cat fight, is that all the rules are broken. There aren't many gentlemanly punches thrown, just a lot of scratchin', pinchin' and hair pullin'. I miss the days of the cat fight. As we grow older, women don't fight, they just wrestle in chocolate pudding, and I, for one, am devastated.

I discovered this year that the cat fight is not dead, it's just taken on a new twist. Not once, but twice, at my son's school, there's been a cat fight. These two cat fights happened within two months of each other. Here's the amazing part....

...rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (worthy of a drumroll)rrrrr...

These fights were between a mother and a daughter!!

I know, I know, it's the culmination of an emotionally tragic situation and I shouldn't be making light of it, so please forgive me because I am weak. I put myself in the same category as a bloodthirsty rubber-necker who slows down to see the resulting carnage of a train wreck. Human nature is funny, so is the concept of a mother-daughter cat fight at school. It amazes me (if you're still reading at this point, then you're now guilty by association).

I try to put myself in the place of the mom. What would it take for me to drive to Oromocto to have a punch-up with my son in front of hundreds of kids? I can't think of a single thing, though if he stole my stash of Lindt white chocolate truffles, I might have to give him a clout or pull his ears. I could probably wait until he got home, I suppose.

One of the cat fights happend outdoors, strategically in front of the cafeteria windows. Hundreds of kids choked down their egg salad sandwiches and Pringles while watching a mother and daughter pound each other. The battle raged in and out of a car. I can only assume that the daughter forgot to Armor-All the dash on the mom's K-Car, and the mom was having none of it.

The other cat fight involved a stalky, stone-faced military mom who was giving some basic training lessons to her daughter. There was a lot of wrastlin' going on with the mom clearly getting the upper hand. You don't mess with a military mom!

Two mother-daughter cat fights in a little over two months.... a sure sign of the apocalypse.

There was never a mother-daughter fight when I was a boy, so what's going on?

I'll tell you what...I blame it on television. There's so much violence on TV these days that it's little wonder that we're all behaving like animals. It's not easy to be a cool cat when you've been raised like a Jerry Springer spaniel.

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