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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features August 01, 2014

4/28/2012 10:00:00 PM
Column: No one can embarrass you like family

Casey Martin
Courier Columnist

It's a time-honored tradition that parents will embarrass their children. I know that my parents certainly embarrassed me, usually by doing things that were actually quite benign.

"Oh please, Dad, don't tell the waitress your burger was undercooked! Just eat it! I go to high school with her!"

However, that embarrassment path is definitely a two-way street. I like to think my children are young enough that I haven't embarrassed them yet. It's probably a good thing they aren't here to give you their opinions on that, but wow, have they ever embarrassed me.

Most of it's fairly run-of-the-mill stuff that my kids do. Once, I had an infant in a voting booth with me. She had a long, noisy bout of gas that had strangers staring at me. I nodded toward the offending child. Did they nod knowingly and go on their way? No, they raised their eyebrows and look at me with disgust as if I were blaming a child for my own lack of manners.

Or the child that will scream in a public place "Don't hit me, Daddy!" I've never hit you before and never would, but for a second there, you made the idea seem not so bad.

But usually, they embarrass me by telling true stories. Kids are born honest and faithful observers of what goes on around them. In other words, they have no tact and don't know when to keep their mouths shut. So they tell stories that really happened to them and me because they are funny, ignoring me frantically waving my arms and mouthing "Noooooooo!"

Here's an example. My daughter, Izzy, and I went to a hobby store to exchange a glue gun that she bought. When I was a kid, I once saved up my money for a bike. This one saved hers for a glue gun. She bought a new model and brought it home before realizing that it was the wrong size for the glue sticks she bought. Man, if I had a nickel for every time that happened to me.

As a dutiful father, I volunteered to take her back to the hobby store. Once there, it was a simple matter to exchange the wrong glue gun for the right size.

Even though both "guns" were the same price, the cashier had to follow proper protocol. She took back the old glue gun, refunded all of our money, then rang up the new glue gun, and I passed the money back. Seriously, she handed me $13.26 and I had the cash in my hand for about five seconds before just passing it right back. I knew she was going by the book (her manager was standing nearby), but I felt that there were some extraneous steps involved. Still, glue guns were exchanged.

Izzy thought it was weird. Very weird. Notably weird. We laughed and chatted about it all the way to the car.

"Why?" she kept saying.

We kept talking about it in the car. We laughed and made jokes and called each other names. Izzy kept retelling the story that we both just went through, adding bizarre details that never happened for comedic effect, which means she truly is my daughter.

When we reach home, I go inside to talk to my wife, Sarah. "Sarah, Izzy's got quite the story for you." Izzy then walks in from the garage, and I say, "Tell your mom the story."

Her eyes get very wide for a second before she relates the following tale:

"Just now, these two guys in a truck in front of us were driving, like, really crazy, and they swerved out of their lane a couple of times and then they cut us off, so Daddy screamed out the window 'Pull your heads out of your a----!'"


Full disclosure. That DID happen. She got the story right. Still, it was very much the WRONG story and my wife, never a fan of my somewhat crude vocabulary, was not pleased. (In my defense, I really do try to clean up my language around my kids, but when I'm driving, all bets are off.)

I do see that telling the story myself has opened me up to further embarrassment, and I'm doing what I've accused my children of doing on a grander scale. The difference is that when I tell it, it's funny. When they tell it, it's embarrassing. Or something.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2012
Article comment by: Jolinda Van Haren

Classic! Brings back memories of funny, embarrassing moments of times with my parents and my children when they were little (my children, not my parents, although my parents were little too, as in"short").

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