View My Stats

Thursday, June 9, 2011

You Can't Take Me Anywhere. Chapter 26.

I've reached a certain age where I don't take any shit from anybody anymore, and I don't give a shit what I say to anybody anymore.
Actually, I reached this certain age about twenty years ago, but it's just now becoming fashionable.
In any case, this can be a deadly combination.
Particularly if you're my wife, and you otherwise enjoy going out in public with me.
This past week, we went out to our local Sushi place.
A rather upscale establishment.
We love the Soosh, and go just about every week.
On this particular occasion, we found ourself seated next to a group of thirtyish, articulate women.
We could tell that they were articulate, because they wouldn't stop talking .
A problem developed.
Also at their table was a little girl.
I don't know how old she was.
Could have been anywhere from three to six.
I really can't tell these things.
Anyway, it was apparent that one of these articulate women was this little girl's mother.
I couldn't be positive which one, but I had my suspicions.
And this very cute little girl began banging out a pretty good rhythm with her chopsticks.
I was impressed.
Except for the fact that it was on our table.
A fact that went unnoticed by any of those articulate women, who continued on being articulate with each other, ignoring the fact that one of their children was knocking out a pretty good Gene Krupa impression with her chopsticks on our table.
Now, I had nothing against the little girl.
I mean, she was anywhere from three to six.
What did she know about restaurant etiquette?
But I started fuming at the little girl's mother, having a pretty good idea as to which one she was.
I stared down this woman, and asked, out loud, "Is this MY kid?"
She replied "Excuse me?"
I replied "You know. This one here. The one doing Gene Krupa on my table."
"Gene who?"
Obviously the wrong reference.
How could I expect anyone in their thirties, even someone articulate, to be any kind of aware of Gene Krupa?
I simplified things.
"She's bangin' away with her chopsticks on my table!"
She responded with "It's not your table. It's the restaurant's table".
This gave me pause.
The kind of pause in which I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
I said "So that makes it all right?"
Miss Articulate says "That's no reason to be rude" about it."
I said "There's EVERY reason to be rude about it!
You're out in public with your kid, you're responsible for her.
You started the rudeness.
I'm just indulging in rude counterpunching.
How'd you like it if I leaned into your table and began using your table as a drumset?
Or would it still be just the restaurant's table?!"

I left her very little wiggle room, except for "My child is not a kid.
A kid is a Billy Goat".

I laughed in her face---"Billy Goat? Is that the best you've got?"

As she and her crew hadn't ordered yet they all followed her lead, and decided to dine elsewhere.

As they were leaving the restaurant, I leaned back and shouted to them "Gene Krupa was a great drummer. Played with Benny Goodman.
You probably never heard of him either!
I'm here every week! Come back any time!

They were gone.
During all this, I hadn't once looked at my wife to see what her reaction was to all of this.
I can never be quite sure where she stood after any of my occasional outbursts.
But it turned out that she was as put off by this woman as I was.
And wasn't too thrilled with the kid, excuse me, Billy Goat, either.

So I was that all too seldom a thing in her eyes: A hero.


My new book, "Mark Rothman's Essays", ones that were culled from the blog and are no longer there, along with a surprise bonus, is available for purchase.
Please e-mail me at for more info.



  1. Do you think you scared the kid?
    I do know the difference between 3 and 6 year olds. And I certainly see evidence that actually raising your child seems to be anyone's job but the parent's in these days of on-line and out of line failures. But, just the same, sometimes something like this CAN frighten a child. When a person is interacting with their parent in an emotional way.
    Even when it is so deserved.

    A child who, it would seem, is being raised already by an entitled narcissist.

    I'm specifically thinking of several children at year's start of my dealings, that liked to tap out their own special signals to the next village whenever I talked-it honestly took a FULL year to instill an awareness of manners not based in fear- but in genuine capacity to understand the other's position.

    Sometimes when faced with issues like this I simply say, "I need your advise on how to best handle this."
    Then proceed to tell the parent something like, "I'm sitting here being treated to this drum solo by your child and I want to have it stop but I do want this to be a positive experience for all of us, what do you recommend I do?"
    It deflates all that goat stuff but it's pretty clear that I'm annoyed, empowers the folks.

    Of course by then my husband, also a hero, has usually complained so loudly to management we are being hustled to another location.I enjoyed this tale because I can relate to the child, your feelings and the utter audacity of those self-absorbed mother's.

  2. As I indicated by the title of the article, you can't take me anywhere. To count on my discretion is like Chamberlain counting on Hitler's. That being said, it didn't seem the child was effected by the exchange, nor did I even address the child.
    I only considered there to be one villain here.
    It wasn't me, and it wasn't the child.
    My wife's approval was all I needed.

  3. I recall being a child of an abysmal parent and while not beating a drum tune offending a couple people, once by eating a lifesaver in church and listening to the exchange with my parent wish I could end my life.

    Kids are remarkably present.

  4. MARK
    We have been mining the same vein.
    I enjoyed this. I only wish you had taken your chopsticks and tapped out a little Krupa on the articulate woman's bean.
    You may enjoy the piece I posted today on the subject of brats in restaurants, at



Blog Archive

About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."