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April 24, 2005

"You're still a nimrod."

We had a couple of friends over for dinner last night and midway through dinner a tennis ball careens off of one of our windows to crash to a stop on our deck. I walked out to get it and was met by a small boy, about 10 or 12, running up our steps gasping for breath.

"Are you looking for this?"

"Yeah. Thanks."

Looking down I see the twin boys from next door grinning up at me and realize they're in the midst of a baseball game. After asking them "Who's this?" they tell me it's their cousin. It's pretty clear we're the victims of a lucky home run that went from their yard to ours. I tossed the ball back and went back in the house.

A little while later I hear the kids in our backyard. Looking out I can see that they've moved the base up and now are fielding hits in our yard. No worries. A little while later I glance out and see the cousin slowly grinding a patch of our yard with his shoes. *sigh* While I'm trying to decide if I want to say anything he makes my mind up for me: He starts to tear bark off of one of the trees we have in the back yard that's been struggling to survive for the last year or so. Then, for no particular reason, he begins kicking it. Ow!

I head for the deck and let loose with a "Oi! Nimrod!" which captures his attention.

"Who me?" (Sheepish look and slow backing away from the tree.)

"Yes you. I don't care if play ball in the yard but don't beat up on the trees. What did that tree ever do to you?"

"Um. Nothing."


I then went back inside certain that my title of "Grouchy Old Fart" was now firmly established. (The twins from next door were laughing so I didn't feel too bad.) A couple more glances outside saw the kid still wearing a hole in the lawn but staying away from the tree which was good enough.

Sure enough a few minutes later the ball smacks the window again and we're back to square one. I walk out and pick up the tennis ball intent on just tossing it back. The cousin is back running up the steps and as I turn to hand him the ball he says:

"I think you should apologize for calling me a Nimrod" which he delivered with his arms crossed, full of indignation, piss and vinegar.

Just handing the ball back was not longer an option. Smiling widely I leaned over, looked him right in the eye and delivered each line carefully and clearly. It went something like this:

"Why should I have to apologize. You're the one who's decided to use my backyard without asking permission and then decided to beat up my tree. The yard business doesn't bother me that much and your cousins can tell you I'm pretty easy going. Unfortunately you wearing out a spot on the grass or kicking and damaging one of our trees goes a bit beyond that. I called you a Nimrod because the title fits. Why should I apologize when you acted rudely. Here's your ball. Now go play in someone elses yard."

As I was berating him someone who looked like his father was standing behind him grinning from ear to ear and shaking his head "yes". Worse still for him the twins were roaring with laughter and started to tease him as he began moving away. The tips of his ears were turning a brighter and brighter red with each step down the stairs.

The twins know they're good to play in the back yard. (Their whole family is awesome and they watch Jack from time to time.) Last year the twins older brother had friends over and we played a practical joke on one of his buddies who had been standing in our back yard being a twit. (He was swearing loudly, chewing and spitting tobacco and tearing out grass by the handful for each play of a Nerf football game.) At the high sign from the older brother I activated the sprinklers with my remote control while I was standing on the deck.

I don't mind them hitting the house. (I expect shattered windows from time to time, especially as Jack gets older.) I don't really mind the grass business even if it's a pain in the ass to replant. The tree business is just a problem due to the time and effort involved. It was the snotty attitude that got him the lecture.

While I know I was a little sh!t from time to time growing up I don't ever remember being purposefully rude. I know if we catch Jack acting like that we'll both be pretty disappointed.

Posted by Jim at April 24, 2005 11:55 PM


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