Sunday, April 24, 2011

Quiet Or I'll Get The Wooden Spoon

As a retail worker, I exist as a backdrop figure in the life of the Irish consumer. Most of the time, you forget I'm there. I don't take great offense to this. Everyone is the star of their own movie: while I'm merely an extra in your life, you are in turn an extra in mine. (The key difference being, of course, that my movie is much better then yours.)
The other thing you forget though, is while you are oblivious to me, while I'm at work it is my job to specifically not be oblivious to you. This means I spend a great deal of time watching you from the safe distance of the cash register. And some of the things you do I take issue with, and one of those things I'm going to record here today.

Do Not Attempt Logic And Reason With Your Children

Let's face it, children aren't really people. They will be, someday, but as it stands they are merely empty whining shells that are out for all they can get. So when people assume emotional intelligence with their children, it's like assuming emotional intelligence in the blank, open face of Jared Leto.


Explaining why and how a child cannot have or do something is, I believe, the most fundamentally useless parenting action since 'parenting' itself became a pseudo-science. You see it all the time. A child starts throwing a wailing tantrum because they can't have a game or a bar of chocolate, and their parents get down on their haunches and actually attempt to reason with their progeny.

"Sweetie, mummy can't get you this today. You already have two games you're getting."


"Honey, baby, mummy can't. She doesn't have the money to get you that aswel. Maybe we get it next week?"


"Darling, I'm afraid in the current economic climate, it just wouldn't be fiscally responsible for me to buy this. Both your father and I have recently lost our jobs, and have no steady income to speak of. In fact, if you will recall, we are only in this shop today so Mummy can hand out CVs."


Children are senseless assholes. The only way you can communicate with them is by being a senseless asshole yourself. This is why, when a parent is faced with a tantrumming child, I think they should turn to their child, look them dead in the eye and say "If you don't be quiet, I am going to kick the absolute shit out of you."

Best start young.

Obviously, you never actually beat the life out of them. But the threat is enough. One of the great successes of Irish parenting was The Wooden Spoon Complex. When your mother threatened the Wooden Spoon on you, you knew it was serious: you had got up to some mischevious shit. You probably only recieved the wrath of the Wooden Spoon once or twice- and it probably wasn't all that bad, either. But the threat of The Spoon coming down on you is one that stiffens your stomach for years afterwards. I still can't open the cutlery drawer without being mildly threatened by the thing.

You are going to get MESSED UP.


  1. It's funny that you write this, as I witnessed something great recently. There I was in the snack aisle deciding to throw away healthy living for the day, when a shriek should overpower my earphones. After locating the source, I caught something extraordinary. A child was there flailing, and a presumably the mother suddenly cried out to the patrons of the store "HEY EVERYONE, LOOK AT THIS RIDICULOUS CHILD FLAILING, HOW PATHETIC!" The little creature went silent instantly, and I was appalled and impressed. The spoon is well and good, but this...this was a game changer. Also, well done, Caroline. Well written and well done, you. You are well etc.

  2. That is fantastic. I want to take that mother out to dinner and give her various awards and small pieces of chocolate for her groundbreaking parenting. She has not only changed the game, she's gone and said "Screw the game, man. Screw the game."
    Needless to say, that kid is going to write a horrific Boy-Called-It style memoir that will grace the bookshops of airports for years to come.

  3. This post brought back some serious flashbacks to childhood as well... Also, it reminded me of the time that the wooden spoons began to disappear mysteriously but the roses started coming along marvellously...

    Every time I remember to read something intelligent for a change and look at your blog, I'm always rewarded for doing so. Keep up the good work, slugger :)