Tuesday, August 23, 2005

When to quit

Have you ever been at a mall or amusement park and seen a "leash kid"? You either have or you haven't, it's not the type of thing that is easily forgotten. If you have managed to avoid such an unsettling display, I'll explain. A "leash kid" is a child that has apparently proven themselves untrustworthy in their legal guardian's eyes, and have consequently been sentenced to be permanently harnessed to their parents whenever in public. The leash usually goes from the parents arm to the child's arm, although I have seen on numerous occasions a leash that extends from the parents hand to a harness that the child wears much like a backpack.

I went to Disneyland today (one of my favorite places in the world) and saw a few of these unfortunate children tethered to their parents. What's even more bizarre, is when the parents have multiple children. It's not a pretty sight when the kids get all tangled up. Strangely, most leash kids seem to be old enough to be somewhat on their own. Most of the ones I saw today looked like they were at least six or seven.

Anyhoo, the point of all this is not to bash leash kids or even their parents. Today, I was reminded of a painfully awkward moment that happened in Disneyland a few years ago. I came across a seven or eight year old boy with a leash and made a crack to my (then) girlfriend. The joke went something like, "I wonder if the kid has had flea shots or if he just wears a collar." I seem to remember expecting to hear her laugh or at least chuckle. What I got was silence. I figured her lack of response was due to the possibility that either she didn't hear me or maybe the flea joke was too obvious. Either way, I felt I needed to make another attempt. So, in my ever-present lack of discernment and general stupidity, I went in for the kill.

"I wonder if he has his own dish or if they just keep the seat up for him?" This time, instead of just silence, I got "the look". I think every man in the world knows what that look is like. Surely my toilet seat joke hadn't been too obvious.

In my characteristically unthoughtfull and ill-perceptive nature I frantically tried to think of another zinger. Had I actually thought before I spoke, I would have saved myself more trouble. In my mind, there wasn't time to think, after all, comedic timing was at stake here; leash-boy was walking (actually, being led) away. Thankfully, before I could think of another joke, she cut me off.

She promptly informed me that she herself had once been a "leash kid" and she really didn't appreciate my comments.

And so the silence began.

Words cannot describe the feeling I felt in my gut. The closest thing I can relate it to is the way it feels when you're in a car that has just rear-ended another car, only my feeling lasted the rest of the day. I'm not sure who spoke first but, I do remember the silence lasted quite some time. In telling this story, I cannot help but think of James 3. And now, whenever I walk by the teacups, I'm reminded of that awkward silence and my foot shaped mouth.

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12 Comments:

Blogger CeMiV said...

You dated a Leash Girl?!

I never thought about a "leash kid" ever growing up and living with the shame of being tethered...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 4:02:00 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Great post, very funny.....but

As a parent that does not use the leash, I understand why parents do. It is not because they don't trust thier kids, its because they don't trust the crowd. There are enough wierdos walking around to give anyone the creeps and you hear enough abduction stories to freak any parent out for life.

Thats it, I decided to go buy a leash.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger Pecadillo said...

cemiv
Yes, I'm ashamed to admit that I did indeed date a leash girl. But if it helps, we broke up within the week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Cleland said...

Worse than the leash kid situation at theme parks is the situation I like to call "small children just learning to walk carrying large beverages." It seems to me that those parents who have not chosen to tether their children have instead opted to let hem learn to walk in what has to be one of the most crowded spaces on the planet. And how can one learn to walk properly unless one is carrying a supersized drink sloshing about as one toddles into the knees of person after person.

Clearly you have struck a nerve. Yes you have picked up a reader. Please don't tell Sean I commented. I've never commented on his blog.

Thursday, August 25, 2005 9:41:00 AM  
Blogger skh said...

It does really hurt that Cleland commented on your blog before mine, but there is something special going on here. I'm not offended...much.

Friday, August 26, 2005 2:00:00 PM  
Blogger never alone said...

I would like to know why a parent should trust a toddler, ever daring to think that he has the common sense to stay safe? My son was leashed from the moment he could walk to the time when I sorrowfully had to make one of my few concessions to public normalcy. He felt fully socially secure in his tetheredness, even allowing another toddler, a girl, to hold the handle of his leash at church. So there you go!

He's seven now and circumstances would still make one consider it in spite of what others think. (Sigh.)

Friday, August 26, 2005 3:32:00 PM  
Blogger theGracegirl said...

A question to Christian Survey Board:

So by that logic, should my mother be tethering me? :)

Friday, August 26, 2005 3:34:00 PM  
Blogger Claude Henry Smoot said...

hmm, Neveralone.
So let me get this straight; not only did you leash your child, but you allowed a female toddler to be placed in a position of authority (as keeper of the leash) over him... at CHURCH?!?!?

Friday, August 26, 2005 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger never alone said...

claudehenrysmoot,

Yes, you pointed out a severe inconsistency, trusting one toddler while not trusting another...though in the trusted halls of the church. It was amusing, however, if nothing else.

And yes, it was pretty questionable allowing a female at church to have authority over my boy, but he still has females teaching him in Sunday school (gasp)--and I likewise have authority over him at home, or that's the idea...poor kid is probably scarred for life.

Saturday, August 27, 2005 9:43:00 PM  
Blogger C-train said...

I am glad that the relationship with her ended. Since I did meet her and get to see what kind of a person she was, I feel that I can say with complete confidence that if your relationship with her had continued she would have ended up keeping you on a leash, figuratively speaking of course.

Monday, August 29, 2005 2:16:00 AM  
Blogger Juliana said...

I sheepishly admit I was one of those leash-kids myself...only a couple of times, though.

By the way, I think you look kind of like Joshua Jackson.

Monday, August 29, 2005 1:26:00 PM  
Blogger Joanna Martens said...

I wonder when the leash will fade out and the shock collar will be in...

Friday, September 02, 2005 11:50:00 AM  

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