My daughter really wanted to go to that bouncing place in the mall. So I took her. I paid the young guy behind the counter for a half hour. That is, 30 minutes. The guy needed to write our end time on the wristband he was giving us. The time was 12:45. This presented a problem.
The guy wrote a "1" on the wristband. Glanced at the clock. Did the colon. Wrote a "2." Glanced at the clock again. Started to write a "5." Crossed it out. Looked at the clock again. Wrote the "5" again. Glanced at the clock again.
"You okay there?" I asked. I mean, 30 minutes is not hard. The clock was right there. He didn't have to guess. I honestly thought he might be having the beginnings of some kind of seizure.
"Yeah. I ..." He looked at the clock again. "I can't figure out the time."
"1:15," I told him.
How sure can anyone be about time? Time can be manipulated. If you believe L. Ron Hubbard, time can speed up if you doing something you enjoy. We weren't really dealing with time, though. We were dealing with addition.
He writes "1:15." Then he laughs and says, "I've been giving a lot of people extra time today."
That puzzled me, too. We were the only ones in line.
"If you've been giving all of them until 1:25 you have, but I don't know why you would do that for people who came in before us."
That was his answer. Yeah. Then a terrifying thought came to me. I bet this motherfucker drove to work! How safe was that?
At the bounce place a birthday party was going on. It was run by rednecks. I shit you not. The inbred kids were running amok, which caused my daughter to want to cut her time short. We did play a game of air hockey, where one of the Deliverance children decided to start grabbing our puck.
"No. Don't touch it," I told him. "Leave us hit it."
The kid's dad wasn't around. I suppose he was ogling teenage girls somewhere. So this kid decided he didn't need to listen to me ... or his dead had put out so many cigarettes in the kid's ear that he was deaf. Either way, I had to tell him ten times not to touch the damn puck.
I no longer worried about whether or not I hit his fingers and actually kind of wanted to.
I know that sounds cruel, but here's the deal, the moral of this story if you will. Dumb people, the ones who don't listen the first ten times, the ones who don't know how to tell time when that is a job requirement -- they never learn unless there is some sort of pain involved. If you have to tell someone something ten times, they still won't listen when you do it once more. But if they get their fingers slammed, they'll hopefully develop an aversion to whatever action led them to feel such pain. I don't care if he was eight years old or so. My daughter was far younger and if I had told her once to stop doing it she would've listened.
I looked at her and said, "The boy is dumb." She just rolled her eyes.
And that fucker grabbed the puck again.
I kept my cool and the game ended, but man. That was some Lovecraftian god somewhere really trying to push me over the edge. And where was his dad? I never saw him, but I think I may have figured it out. He was working the register and trying to wrap his mind around the concept of 30 minutes.