I got a call from my childhood buddy, Jumbo Feeney, the other day and I knew what to expect as I answered the phone; Jumbo was already in mid-sentence. "Know what I mean, Petie? (he calls me Petie) What's wrong with a cupcake? Show me a kid who don't like a cupcake. Know what I mean? Gimme a break, who do they think they are anyway?---"
I almost shouted, "Whoa, Jumbo, slow down. What are you talking about?"
"You're not paying attention, Petie. I said, no cupcakes allowed. That's what I'm talking about. C'mon now, pay attention."
"Jumbo---STOP. Just stop. You always do this. Please start from the beginning."
Look, I love the guy. We have been close friends since grade school back in the Bronx during an era when you could leave your doors unlocked. But, when Jumbo was hyper, he would always start his conversations before dialing the phone. "Okay Petie, okay. My grandson, Mikey---ya know, he's four, well, he stayed over last night and I brought him to his day-care place this morning. You won't believe this."
"Won't believe what?"
"You gonna let me talk or what?"
Smiling I said, "Sorry, Jumbo. Go ahead."
"So I packed the kid's lunch and put a cupcake in the bag. When I get there they check inside the kid's lunch bag and tell me that cupcakes are not allowed. I mean this girl, who looked like she shoulda been waving pom-poms at a high school football game, is telling me, ME, the kid's grandfather, I can't give the kid a cupcake. Yeah, they only serve organic, hormone free stuff, like free-range eggs. What in God's name are free-range eggs. They only serve organic milk. Snacks are celery or carrot sticks---"
"Yeah, but that's the way it is nowadays."
"What's wrong with you Petie? Don't you get it? It's the principle of the thing. I love Mikey to death. What---they think they know best? C'mon man, we ate cupcakes and drank soda and ate salami and we ain't dead yet, are we?"
"Look Petie, free-range eggs and organic dairy stuff and hormone free whatevers are healthier than cupcakes, okay. I know that. But it is not their job to tell me what I can and cannot feed my grandson. The only ones who can tell me that are his parents. These people want to give me the information about this health food stuff, great. Gimme a print-out. Then we can figure out."
"Yeah, Jumbo, sure--but---"
"But nothing, Petie. But nothing. These young parents of today are being stripped of their parental rights and they don't even see it happening. And it is all being done under the virtuous umbrella of 'what's best for the child'. The parents know what's best for the kids. Not some kid, fresh out of day-care school, who probably still has her mommy washing her clothes. And as far as this grandparent goes if my grandson wants a cupcake when he sees me, which is only about twice a month anyway, I'm giving the kid a cupcake. Gotta go." click
Good old Jumbo. Gotta love the guy.