It’s a surreal kind of moment when you can look into the future and see what your kid is going to be like a drunken or stoned freshman (hopefully at university, not high school..pretty please). When your kid is just 13 and still into StarWars and other things in dorkville, you don’t worry about them getting into messes like that. You can actually convince yourself that your kid will always be a responsible drinker and would never touch drugs. You can convince yourself of that quite nicely until you see him all sugar-jacked on pixie sticks. Then you get a vivid image of your annoying, inebriated, mindless twit of a son acting the fool, and it ain’t pretty.
My son had his best friend stay with us for part of March break. These boys have been best friends since junior kindergarten and are still thick as thieves – even with 2 hours separating them. There’s just something about someone knowing you when you were still trying not to wet your pants that makes a bond like no other. Both great kids, they spend a great deal of the time they spend together laughing. Cute, right?
Sort of. It can be cute. But Friday we headed to retro planet – a Chuck.E.Cheese type of place that has laser tag and token games in exchange for tickets, which you feed into a ticket eater which shoots out a redemption code which you trade in for cheap, crappy toys. It’s loud, crowded, and smells like overcooked hotdogs. Sort of like a Vegas for kids. It is also crazy for stimulation for anyone with shades of ADD like me. With all the bells and lights and horns and buzzers, I feel like I’m chasing my tail the whole time. C-R-A-Z-Y. But – the kids like it, so we go on occasion.
Since both boys are almost 13 years old, the crappy toys don’t hold much appeal so their trade in choices were limited to Tootsie rolls and pixie sticks. They had over 400 tickets and a pixie stick was worth 5. In case you’re not great at math – here’s the breakdown – they came away with about 40 each. That would be tubes of sugar about the size of a pencil. Of course, I wasn’t privy to the trade until after they had them stuffed in their pockets with sheepish grins.
It’s a bit weird that a sugar addict like myself didn’t see the inevitable coming. But the chaos of the place was clouding my judgement, and next thing you knew, my son in the high zone. His buddy came over and said – “I think Sam’s having a sugar rush.”
When I looked over, Sam was laughing in hysterics. His face was purple, his eyes watered, his mouth wide open with shrill screech of a laugh coming out like a crazy man. He was almost doubled over on the floor. My daughter promptly went over with her cheap toy selection – the “joke ice-cream-cone” and shot him in the face with the foam scoop of vanilla. What normally would have been a show-down moment that would have required major intervention only rendered him more useless. He landed in a heap of hysterics on the floor. I wasn’t sure it would end. I wasn’t sure he wouldn’t pass out. I wasn’t sure he wouldn’t wet his pants.
“How many did he eat?” I asked.
“Twenty-two.” His friend said. “He said he didn’t think sugar affected him.”
After getting some fresh air and confiscating the remaining stix, we headed home. He had no recollection of the ice-cream in the face, and decided it was his buddy’s influence that “made him do it”.
“He tempted me with all those stix!” He claimed.
“I didn’t force you to do it. You ate them on your own.” His buddy said.
And sitting in the driver’s seat, listening to the banter after witnessing the sugar frenzy, I had a moment where I realized this was probably not the last time I’d have this moment with the two of them on my watch. And I got the jitters at the thought of years to come.
Good lord. It all begins with a simple pixie stix.