Camp arrived at the pub a tad late – not like him – and rather dishevelled. ‘What’s up Camp,’ I asked. ‘Something wrong?’
‘I can’t believe the kids today. No manners, no respect, no shame,’ he said with a heavy sigh. Good thing Vicky had a fresh pint ready the moment he sat down.
‘Oh, what brought that on. Not like you to judge and condemn without a proper trial.’
‘This boy, maybe 8 or 9 – I can’t tell these days what age they are – was in the store with his mom who was looking for a Thai cookbook. I heard some noise at the back of the store and when I checked this boy had about five books spread out on the floor like it was his living room. I kind of yelled at him, because he was at the back of the store and I was at the front, to please put the books back on the shelves and not throw them on the floor. Either the kid was deaf or he ignored me. I walked to the back and said: Take the books off the floor and put them back!’ Maybe I raised my voice a bit,’ Camp said. ‘The little shit just looked at me and said: Don’t tell me what to do and don’t yell at me. I’ll tell my dad who will come and beat the shit out of you.’
‘You’re kidding,’ I said. ‘He didn’t say that about his dad, did he? His mom was with him, wasn’t she?’
‘Here is the other part that pissed me off. The mom dropped her cookbook, took the boy by the hand and without picking up the books from the floor admonished me on her way out the door. ‘You need to learn to control your temper and you can’t talk to my boy like that’. The nerve, I tell you. What’s this world coming to?’
‘I wouldn’t know anything about raising kids,’ I said. ‘I always thought that kids are best left alone. As long as they’re fed, have a home and friends they will find their way. Many kids who struggled through difficult childhoods have excelled as adults. Like Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Jack Nicholson, John Le Carrré, Salvador Dali and many others. None of those had stable upbringings or super moms.’
‘It shouldn’t really surprise me,’ Camp said. Supermoms are in charge today and the Dads are often relegated to junior partners in the ‘child raising project’. A new book, ‘The Super Mom Myth’ by a Margrit Stamm, a Swiss professor for pedagogic psychology paints a picture of the modern mom as very traditional, who puts her kids interests ahead of her own which is really not very helpful for the kid’s development. The kids are stressed because they are not taught to act and think independently, they are drowned in motherly love and are always the center of attention, which is a burden, not a blessing. Margrit claims that we are raising a generation of princes and princesses.’
‘Piano on Monday, ballet on Tuesday, soccer on Wednesday and Saturday, math tutoring on Thursdays and swimming on Fridays. All delivered and picked up by car. Playtime? Not so much. Whatever free time the kids have is spent on their screens. No sticks or stones or sand castles,’ I said. ‘It’s a long way from the free form philosophy half a century ago.’
‘You mean the hippies laissez-faire outlook on life. Let it be, drop out, be cool.’
‘Maybe the men need to step up and take a more active role in child rearing,’ I said lamely. ‘It’s all about the moms it seems.’
‘Margrit calls it ‘gate keeping’ and ‘father bashing’ which is in mode these days. Only about one percent of men are house husbands and they are often patronized and lectured by super moms they encounter at the schools and even play grounds.’
‘I say it once again: it’s a crazy world and these super kids will shape the future.’
‘I guess we have nothing to say about Brexit or do we?’ Camp said.
‘Nothing we didn’t say before. I think it’s sad as all divorces are, foolish in the long run and probably was unnecessary. All concerns could have been fixed within the EU.’
‘Hear, hear, it’s time for a second round,’ Camp said, finishing his first pint with gusto.
‘How about a Corona?’ Vicky asked. ‘Nothing to do with the new Chinese virus.’
‘Oh yeah, the latest hysteria and a bonanza for face mask producers,’ Camp said.
‘Which do not protect against any respiratory infection or prevent it’, I said. ‘It’s just a herd behavior and has nothing to do with common sense.’
‘Two Coronas it is Vicky,’ Camp said, shaking his grey curls.
‘How to define the odds,’ she laughed and already had two bottles of the golden liquid at the ready.