Yesterday the Sons had some friends over. People they don't see very often. But nice, well-behaved kids. Quiet, respectful, church-attending kids who work hard at school and excel at sports and participate in community service projects.
There are no airsoft battles, lately, because 2 of the Sons are on the injured reserve bench. But they got to talking about a previous get-together. That day, there had been a LOT of kids over, from all over town. Most of them didn't know each other, but they all got along. It was nice.
One of the boys who was over yesterday asked a question about one of the other boys who had been here, that day a few months ago. But he couldn't remember the kid's name.
"You know, the one with the really short, fuzzy hair."
Son #1 was going through his list of friends, most of whom have the long, silky hair that is popular these days. Pony hair. So, you know, he had no idea who his friend was asking about.
"You know, the one who's a ni..."
I think that yesterday I heard a teenager start to call a fellow teenager a nigger, in my own home. He caught himself, I think because of the reaction he was getting from Son #1. But holy shit. What is up with that? I had no idea.
Equally bizarre: he LIKES this other kid. He was not hurling anger, or hate. He was not criticizing Son #1 for befriending a kid whose mother is of African descent. He was just...describing him, so my son would know who he was talking about, while they rehashed the fun parts of a previous get together. Describing a kid whose name he couldn't remember.
As a nigger.
Jesus help us.
Also yesterday: a friend's developmentally disabled son got the tar beaten out of him by some kids in the neighborhood. He has cuts and bruises and a split lip and possibly a broken finger, I guess because he was trying to be "one of the guys" but can't quite master the mysteries of being a teenage boy. Can't quite see it coming, when the shit hits the fan.
The hospital called the police.
How bad do you have to look, before the hospital calls the police?
How bad do you have to BE, to gang up on a sweet kid with developmental problems and brain cancer?
Elvin Bishop had it right.
"People, people, what the hell is going on?"