‘I was about to lose it there’ I think to myself as I’m splashing water on the lap area of my pants. ‘I don’t deserve this; I’ve been good this week. I’ve exercised, I’ve eaten right, I have avoided the local ballet, and I have had very little to drink. I’m not turning over a new leaf or changing my life by any means, I’m just saying that I have been good this week. So why did Southwestius – the modern god of traveling sales dudes, curse me with Julius and Demetri? Where’s my reward for a virtuous life? (OK, virtuous week, but still?)
Julius and Demetri are the tag team 4-year old and 3-year old brothers who are wreaking havoc on the passengers waiting on a flight to Buffalo at gate B-18 in Chicago Midway Airport. While we are all distracted by these unholy terrors, the passenger I’m most concerned about is me. I’m just not in the mood to be nice; love and patience are not in my emotional inventory today. I’m tired and I want to go home.
Don’t get me wrong, I love little kids as much as Michael Jackson did; but there comes a point when someone has to step up and say something. The parents of these children do not want that someone to be me. And speaking of the parents, if I have to give them the annoyed head turn – one more time, security is going to have to get involved. How do the grown-ups in charge of these twerps let this behavior continue? Here’s an example of the discipline techniques of the parents of “Sweet Little Demetri” and “Handsome Little Julius”:
“…now come on Sweet Little Demetri, leave that man alone. Can’t you see he’s trying to work? Come back here sweet boy. Hey, Handsome Jules: do Mommy a favor and go get your brother before he makes that big man upset.”
“NOOOOO…I’m a MONSTER! (No shit) He has to come here by myself!” replies Handsome Julius. I think he meant himself, but he’s only 4 years old. I’m not looking for proper syntax, I just want the big brother “monster” to come get the little brother “pain in the ass” away from me and my laptop.
Since Handsome Julius won’t help, Mommy’s intervention continues…
“Ahhh…Demetri! Don’t touch that mans computer sweet boy. He’s working on something. Sweet little Demetri won’t get a lollipop if he doesn’t come here RIGHT NOW.”
So Sweet Little Demetri leaves me and runs across the gate area as his Mom unwraps the cellophane from a lollipop, he grabs the sucker from her hand and runs right back to me and waves it proudly in front of me like it’s the participation trophy he’s gonna get in a couple of years for being on his neighborhood swim team. He licks the red candy 2 or 3 times with a tongue that is covered with what appears to be chewed up peanuts or cereal…or mulch, and in that process the stuff that was on the inside of his mouth is now on the outside of his mouth, along with the red slobber from the lollipop. In like 30 seconds and 3 licks of a lollipop Sweet Little Demetri goes from just obnoxious and loud, to obnoxious, loud, and dirty. He must feel the same discomfort that a human might feel in the same situation, so he chooses to wipe his face off…on my pants… on MY EFFING PANTS!
I will be the first to admit that I’m a bit prissy when it comes to spots and stains on my clothes. If I spill salsa on my tie, the event just became business casual. If I get a little mustard on my shirt or my pants, my day is over until I can change into a clean garment. It is what it is, and I am what I am, I’m sure there is a formal name for this particular brand of neurosis, but I don’t know what it is. What I do know is that I can’t function with “spooge” of any kind on my clothes, and Sweet Little Demetri just wiped kid spooge…MOUTH spooge…right on my crotch.
Mom and Dad don’t see it happen; they just see me stand up real quick like. They suspect something is afoul as I look at them one more time, so here is their next strategy:
Mommy says, “Handsome Julius, go see what your brother has gotten into, that man seems upset.”
This time, instead of arguing, Handsome Julius runs across the nice carpet at Gate B-18 and slams his body into his younger and smaller brother. So now, of course, the crying starts. Sweet Little Demetri is in pain, and Handsome Julius gives me a smile that says, ‘I did that for you dude, that little shithead won’t mess with you anymore, Mom or Dad will be here any second now.’ In a twisted and irresponsible way, I was grateful, and amused. I won’t apologize.
His smile predicted the next series of events correctly…sort of; Dad put down his book and came over to comfort his sweet little boy. I’m standing, Handsome Julius is standing next to me, and we’re both looking at the Sweet Little one screaming and writhing on the floor. I sat my laptop on the chair I had been sitting in and leaned down to help. As my nose got closer to where all the action was, I realized that one of the two had a really bad diaper situation going on. I mean really bad; it smelled like the home of a cat hoarder. The diaper smelled like what the world would smell like today if sewage treatment had never been invented. What could a kid that age eat that would make him smell so bad? Why am I involved in ANY of this…this shit? I just wanna go home.
So Dad looks at me and says, “Is everything OK? Are they bothering you?”
Because I have many good Christian friends who read this stuff, I can’t write what I wanted to say. Really, dipshit Dad? Do you really have to ask if they’re bothering me? They’re bothering everybody!
What I actually said was, “I’m trying to get some work done, but they haven’t hurt anything. Swe…um…Demetri, um – this guy,” As I pointed at Sweet Little Demetri, “just wiped his mouth on my pants. Do you have a wet wipe or something I could use to clean it up?”
“No” he says, as he looks at me with disgust, as if I were some kind of child hating, insensitive jerk. He continues, “…sorry, no, we don’t have anything.” He grabs Sweet Little Demetri, who is still screaming, and walks him over to Mom, and has her “handle it”.
At this point, I am coming out of my frickin skin with anger and frustration. Worst of all, Dad walks away and he leaves Handsome Julius…the bigger and stronger, and obviously meaner of the two, with me! You can’t make this shit up! For years I have assumed that the downfall of our society was rooted in the growing popularity of Rap music, insufficient funding for education, MTV, and violent video games… I’m so wrong. It is CLEARLY jerk-off clueless parents like these two.
I sit back down; I angrily start shutting down my work center because I have to go to the restroom and get some paper towels and some water and splash it all over my crotch so as to remove spooge that I did not generate. A wet groin area on one’s trousers sends a special message to your fellow travelers.
As I stuff power cords into my briefcase, Handsome Julius is just standing there, staring at me, smiling…as I lean over to finish packing I discover that the bad diaper belongs to Jules. I do the gag thing, I cover my mouth and nose, and I wretch just a little. I am so close to simultaneously puking and kicking someone’s ass, at this moment I’m actually afraid of myself. I really don’t care that he might be like 3 years old…I believe him to be a demon from another dimension that needs to be exorcised from the living world and sent back to wherever he hailed from.
But of course I don’t, I don’t because I’m not an “ass-kicking” kind of dude in any situation – but especially with kids. My true belief is that there are no bad kids; there are only kids who have dipshit parents who do not understand airport etiquette or common decency. Also, these two kids are apparently named Sweet Little Demetri and Handsome Julius, they are obviously going to be getting their asses kicked quite often as they go through life, so there’s no sense in me starting the trend – it will start soon enough.
I don’t kick anyone’s ass, I don’t even say a harsh word, I simply set my stuff aside and I grab Handsome Julius’ hand, I smile at him and I say, “C’mon buddy, let’s go see Mom & Dad. You need a new diaper.” We walk across B-18 and with a smile…I tell the mother, “I think your handsome boy here needs a new diaper.”
“Well! Excuse US! We’ll just have to get right on that. So sorry if we might have offended you with a dirty diaper!” is her sarcastic and ungrateful reply. I transfer custody of Handsome Julius with the release of his handsome little hand, and I walked away.
I walked away thinking, ‘I could kick HER ass, and nobody would care…they would probably cheer.’ But I’m not an ass-kicking kind of guy. Love and patience Large Man…love and patience.’
Thanks for reading.
The Large Man