Our recycling container is right next to our regular trash container. I mean right next to it – they are practically conjoined. They are both against the back wall of our garage, equidistant from the kitchen. The recycling container is not located in Anbar Provence. You wouldn’t think this was the case when you hear the banshee-like protestations from my kids when you ask them to take the recycling out.
What I say: Can someone take the recyclables out?
What they hear: Can someone haul three tons of recyclables to Anbar Provence?
What they say: I did it last time.
And this last statement, “I did it last time,” really cuts to the heart of it. No one really knows who did it last time; they just know it was them. Therefore, those recyclables would sit unmolested for months before, God forbid, someone went out of turn. There may be blood sacrifice if for some reason the recycling program was cancelled and someone took them out just one extra time.
“I know you took them out 1,324 times, but I took them out 1,325 times. The only thing that would make this fair would be for me to chop off one of your hands.”
There is no metric that a teenager is more acutely aware of than who did what last. Daily, there is an argument over doing the dinner dishes. We have re-traced dinners for the prior week to arrive back at the current day to decide whose turn it is.
“Monday was pasta, I did those. Tuesday was tacos, you did those. Wednesday – oh crap – we went out for dinner. Well, I would have done them Wednesday. That means tonight is your turn since I would have done them last night and cannot and will not be penalized for going out to dinner. Now, if you let me cut off your hand, I will do them.”
What I said: Can you get the milk for dinner?
What he said: I did it last night. Why do I have to do it again?
What I said: Because you are literally standing at the refrigerator with the door open. IT’S RIGHT THERE – JUST DO IT!”
What I said to myself: Damn, it’s gonna suck when they are gone.
What they said to themselves: Dad is a real jerk-off.