Baby, We Were Born to Watch

22 Sep 2010 by Dear Bad Dad, No Comments »

Dear Bad Dad,

My sister just installed a plasma screen and Wii console in the back of the family SUV, so now my niece is wired (in all senses of the word) from the moment she heads to kindergarten till the time she finally falls asleep … usually around 11:30 PM.

Admittedly, I don’t have kids of my own, but I really think I need to tell my sister that she’s not doing her daughter any favors.  Is that too judgmental?

Thanks very much,


Alexandria, VA

Dear Sean,

Let’s put it this way: is it too judgmental for me to call you a judgmental dipwipe with a small penis?

I’m guessing you’ve uttered some variation of the following at one time or another:

“I’ll NEVER be the kind of parent who has a DVD player in my car.  When I was growing up, all we needed on long car trips was a Mad Libs book and a ripping good game of Punch Buggy.”

Time for Dear Bad Dad to call bullsh*t.  And then punch you in the arm.  Hard.

After you’ve walked a mile in my snot-, pee-, and Pepperidge-Farm-Goldfish-dust-tainted moccasins, then we can talk about your top-shelf parenting theories.

Say what you will about the Disney Corporation – things like “It wasn’t enough that Walt allegedly sympathized with the Nazis.  You really had to go and make The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause?”  But when you’re entering Hour 13 of the Memorial Day weekend drive to your in-laws’ house on Lake Infestasia, your best friends in this world are named Handy Manny, Buzz Lightyear, and Poca-friggin-hontas.

It’s SO easy to criticize other parents’ approaches, isn’t it, Sean?

Thing is, Dear Bad Dad was once like you.

Before having offspring, Dear Bad Dad looked down at parents who fed their children a dinner of take-out fast food rather than a home-cooked meal.  Or who dosed their young ‘uns with Benadryl just as their 737 taxied onto the runway.  Or paid someone else to watch their kids while they worked long, hard hours just to make enough to pay someone else to watch their kids.

Then Dear Bad Dad became a father.  And saw The Light.

Because if the choice is between:

A) letting your kid watch a little TV so you can shower, shave and sh*t without interruption, and

B) NOT letting your kid watch TV so you can be a “good parent,” which only leads to you being pissed because you can’t take a piss, which quickly devolves into you serving 15-20 (in a facility where the phrase “Who’s your daddy?” takes on a WHOLE new meaning) because your nerves got so frayed from having to watch your son every single second that you tried to trade him on Craigslist for a mountain bike,

then you can be sure most parents will take A), better know as The Blessed Path Of Least Resistance.

If your sister plans to use the technology for long haul trips, Dear Bad Dad has no problem with it.  And neither should you.  Watching the vast expanse of our country (what Sarah Palin calls “The Real America”) roll by is about as mentally stimulating as watching paint dry … or watching Sarah Palin explain her economic philosophy. If videogames or DVDs help keep your niece occupied, so be it.  However, if your sister turns on the screen for even the shortest trips — like, say, to pick up your niece’s ADHD meds — then it might be time to say something … starting with a chat about the concept of “irony.”

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