The Politics of the Park

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My 7 year old nephew is staying with my parents for a month. My parents take him to all kinds of places to entertain and spoil him, but I am in charge of his physical activities. So every night, or now about every other night, I go to my parents house and take my nephew to the park to wear him out.

The park I take him to is right across the street from my parents’ house. It’s the same park that my brother and I grew up playing in and it’s a magnet for little kids that tend to act like massive assholes. Maybe every park is like that, I don’t know. Just scummy little douchebags cheating at the games they play and calling each other names and even calling me names. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids and I’m actually really great with kids. But some kids might find an incentive to straighten out their act if they took a shovel to the face.

So my nephew is pretty social and he’s already gathered his own gang of rag-tags that meet up with him every night at the park. One of them is an overweight 8 year old, another is an antisocial nerdy looking kid that never wears a shirt, and the others are two slightly older girls that show up for their meetings now and then. The girls are a little flaky but the two boys are consistent with their presence. Especially the overweight 8 year old that also lives across the street from the park.

My nephew is very athletic. My brother and I have lifted weights and been 6’4” super bros for over 20 years now. Both of us are a regular Chad Thundercock that spends our spare time snapping skeleton butts with towels in the locker room and mocking fatties by eating Twix and rotisserie chickens in front of them because even if we don’t workout our genes make us build muscle and burn candy like Mount Kilauea. So of course our kids have to be athletic. Both of my sons made all state wrestling last year and the other one is dead to me. I’ve taught my entire family to ignore him into believing that he doesn’t exist. Even if our dog, Bark Ruffalo, shows any attention to the third kid living in my house, I burn the dog’s ball bag with my lit cigarette. I didn’t skip neutering Bark R. because I want him to have puppies, it’s just that having his balls chopped off would take away 90% of the ways that I know how to punish a dog.

Okay, so every goddamn night that I take my nephew to the park him and his gang play tag. And they don’t really play tag against each other, they only play tag against me. I am always “it”. The entire fucking time. My nephew is the only one that has any respect for the rules of tag. He might utter “no I’m not” right after I tag him, but he still goes along with the rules and will acknowledge that he is in fact “it”. But the other little shit heads at the park, Jesus Christ!

The fat 8 year old, let’s call him Denny, he taunts me and calls me hairy buttface and despite only being 8 he has the speed and grace of a bucket of shit. Every time I tag him he’ll immediately say “no I’m not, I tagged you back” or “you tagged the back of my head so it doesn’t count” or “I called time out”. And he’s lying. The kid’s a fucking liar. I tagged him clear as day, everybody saw it, and he still has the gall to lie to my face about it. And after I’ve tagged him 50 times on the 51st he’ll finally agree that he is in fact “it” and then he starts crying because everybody is running from him and he doesn’t like to run. He openly brags about weighing 110 pounds which is roughly twice the ideal weight of an 8 year old boy. I am a staunch advocate for HAES, or Health At Every Size to all of you that are choosing to actively ignore the body shaming epidemic, but seeing an otherwise healthy 8 year old child that is incapable of running due to his weight almost made me consider that it isn’t healthy to be overweight, but then common sense came back to me and I gave him my other Twix.

And the scrawny shirtless kid with big nerdy glasses that rides a mountain bike fit for Manute Bol, he’s got no social game at all. We’ll call him Gill. I’m not sure about Gill’s age but I’m guessing that he’s older than he looks and he doesn’t have very many friends. He’s lean and he runs really fast and he seems smart, but he just comes off like a dick. He’s the first one to get genuinely pissed about anything and he slings 4 letter words around like a southern garbage man. He also pulls the “I’m not it you’re it” bullshit every time I tag him. I swear to God I whispered “fuck you” at him but he didn’t hear me because he was loudly saying the same thing.

Both of these cheaters demand that I play tag. They won’t even play tag or any other games if I’m not playing. When I stop running after Denny and Gill they’ll both start asking why and I tell them it’s because they constantly deny being “it” every time I tag them, so it isn’t fun to play tag with them. So they’ll whine, “alright we’ll play by the rules”. Then I’ll tag one of them and they’ll start in with the same bullshit about why they’re not “it”.

After chasing them in 95 degree weather for 2 hours straight, I’ll say “okay I’m taking a break” and sit on a bench. And holy shit. Denny instantly starts calling me lazy and Gill calls me a pussy and then my nephew starts saying that I’m a chicken and I have to tell my nephew to not repeat what Gill is saying and I don’t get a moment’s fucking rest. I like it when the two older girls show up because they’re willing to play a few rounds of tag without my involvement. But with the boys, if I’m not playing then they’re not playing. Christ almighty whatever happened to just playing with friends? I used to hate it when adults would try to play with me and my friends. It’s like kids are losing their imagination these days.

Well I’m not going over there tonight. I slept from midnight to 11:00AM today after running for a solid 4 hours last night and I’m not in the mood to do it again. My left leg hurts too. I want to add that I have yet to see any of these kids’ parents and all of these kids call me Uncle Luke now because that’s what my nephew calls me. They wanted to play the granny version of tag where you have to grab and hug somebody to tag them out of the game, and of course I had to be the granny. I refused to play and I told them that if they went home and told their parents that a stranger at the park that they call Uncle Luke played a game where he had to catch and hug all of the little kids then I wouldn’t be able to come to the park anymore because I’d be in jail for a few years. Only the girls knew what I was talking about.

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