Newly 15-year-old Youngest was invited to go to an amusement park on the "teacher work day" that always seems to ring in an established three-day weekend, turning it into a four-day mini-vacation. Confirming the invite, the lad's mom, a friend of mine, texted this:
"The boys were messing with me today, saying Youngest was going to wear his VOTUS hat to Six Flags. I said, no, free speech is great, but not in my car."
I shared with him what she had said, and the two of us confirmed that it was just a joke and, no, he wasn't wearing that hat to the park.
But then the motherfucker did.
I only discovered that upon his return that evening. I have to give props to my friend, because, had I been her, at the first sight of that hat, I'd have been calling her and telling her to come fetch her son. And I would have fully expected her to read him the riot act, once she had come all the way to the park to retrieve his sorry ass.
It wasn't her son, though. It was demon spawn himself. At 15, you don't listen to what reasonable voices (or even your unreasonable mother's voice) tell you. At 15, you want to just have a good time and show off to the world how cool you are. At 15, your perception of what is cool is completely and utterly fucked up, which any of us who has ever survived her 15th year could confirm.
His defiant act of going against what I said obviously didn't sit well with me. You could say that my actions in response to the defiance aren't sitting nicely with him either. Good.
What the little fucker doesn't know is that it isn't a question of free speech. Not when you're 15 and a Trump-hat-wearing twat could be as easily knifed to death as the two defenders of hijab-wearing women facing off against an American terrorist were. In an instant, someone with a beef against Trump could spot you wearing that hat and... And we all wring our hands at the funeral of my son while we bemoan what this country has come to.
You know what this country is coming to? A remarkably uncivil war fought in the streets by completely unhinged masked lunatics on both sides. When I was his age, the Vietnam War had just ended and the only fighting going on around me was that of my parents amidst the (long-already crumbled) family at their feet. It was Northern Virginia, so we had more than our fair share of the country's fringes around us. But even wearing a Nixon hat or being in full-blown Commie Viet Cong gear would garner nothing more than stares. (Granted, as long as you were White.)
Those bucolic times -- and, yeah, they were bucolic in comparison today -- are long gone. Sadly, from my perspective, Youngest's absolutely horrible first years are looking pretty bucolic to me today. I guess if I go all weak with desire when I see photos of George W. nowadays, I'll have to accept the same when I think about that son of mine downstairs.