I don’t particularly remember what age it was. Maybe I was thirteen or so. Just as rebellious, I suppose, as the next teenager coming of age. The age of having a smart-ass mouth that riled my parents to no end. They imposed every sort of punishment known to parent-kind, from grounding me to various forms of deprivation. Friends, allowances, concerts, parties and the likes were taken away in hopes of deterring future shenanigans. Sometimes, the handed out punishments did have the desired effect. Damn it all! Most of the time, however, the infractions I committed went unpunished for reasons of, “It didn’t work, honey.” Eventually, when all else failed, I then received the dreaded phrase. The one that has probably been uttered throughout the sands of time. The Curse.
Make your parents mad enough and with nothing left to administer, you should here these fabled words, “Wait until you have kids of your own!” Now my mom, I think, was the first to utter this mysterious, but very true, group of harmless words. Or so I thought. I believed that I may have had those words said to me maybe ten times through my short and tenuous, teenage career. Seven teenage years to be exact, but it only took saying those words to me once. One time and the curse was embedded in my psyche. I knew I was a bad kid, but not this bad. What did I do to deserve such misery? Misery I had no idea was headed my way in the near future.
This curse seemed to have been passed on to my parents from their parents or my grandparents. With natural supposition, my grandparents probably had it bestowed upon them as well. When exactly these words were first mumbled is anyone’s guess. I am beginning to think back in the caveman days was when it was probably grunted or signed to the offspring of the bear clan. What did the little ones do back then? Granted the first curse words? Maybe, but I am thinking that they, (the kids) stole a little of the new found fire that was the rage back then. Played with it in the back of the cave and they were caught. Stood before the rest of the cave family, these bad cave kids were stricken to the boundaries of the cave. Told they could no longer go to the mammoth roast, that was to happen in two more suns. I also imagine that the cave kids were given or were grunted the curse. With a guttural, huff for emphasis.
Given all the weapons developed over eons, parents dished out punishments according to the times, but still the same in their base. Julius Caesar told his bad kids they couldn’t attend the chariot races. Which, by the way, didn’t bother them and eventually, they too were given the five words of future fate. Every century, all the decades, years and days, right down to an hour ago, one father or mother probably and hysterically said these words. “Wait until you have children.”
This brings us to today. Yes, I have kids. Two, but one is 18 now and a year away from his last teenage year. Those are the years that the curse needs to be infused. I haven’t, to my knowledge, yet said those words to the oldest. I cannot vouch for my wife, but I am almost sure she hasn’t either. I have been present to almost all of the punishment disbursement and lately, there has been an escalation in, “OK, what do you think we should do?” instances. The 18-year-old seemed impervious to current day punishment. Take away the cell phone, the X-Box 360, the T.V. the car keys. Nothing worked. My wife was at her wit’s end. One day, she couldn’t take it anymore. The 18-year-old said we could deprive him of anything. He didn’t care. One last argument, one last idle threat of, well we didn’t have anything else we could take away. As if right on cue, as he was stepping out the door, and I took a deep breath, and just as I started to yell, “Wait,” my wife stopped me. She said, “Allow me.” and yelled, “Wait until you have kids!”