Because I Said So, by Michael Davis
My mother is almost 60 years old. She has been smoking a pack of cigarettes a day for almost 40 years. I don’t smoke. In fact I think it’s a stupid habit and I’m glad she told me not to do it.
She told me not to smoke. I listened. I’ll get back to that in a sec.
As I write this there is a raging debate over who can adopt and raise DOGS in this country. The talk show host Ellen DeGeneres gave a dog away she adopted. The agency said (and it was in the contract Ellen signed) you couldn’t give away an adopted dog so they went and took the dog away from the little girl Ellen had given the dog to. So Ellen goes on her talk show crying like a girl and tells the world of the injustice that has been done to this little girl. So what happened? Well the dog agency owners start to get death threats and Ellen’s legal team threatens “legal action” against the dog adoption agency.
What do I think? I could care less about Ellen, the dog agency, or the dog.
I am a wee bit concerned about this: why there is so much of an uproar about who raises a dog and virtually none about who raises kids?
Back to my mom who repeatedly told me, “Do what I say, not what I do.” When my mother told be what to do, I did it. She was the mom, I was the kid. She talked, I listened. That was the deal.
Last month the authorities picked up a 14 year-old kid for planning another massive school shooting. His mom had purchased some of the guns for him.
Where is the nationwide outrage against this mother? Why is there not a nationwide outrage against the parents of all those out of control kids?
Conservatives spend a great deal of time blaming rappers, TV shows, movies, video games and just about anything else they can. This is important to us my friends because all the above is what our comics community is in to. This is where we live.
I grew up in the projects and everywhere I looked there was a bad influence or 12. My mother told me not to smoke. I still don’t smoke. She told me not to drink; I did not have my first drink until I was in my thirties. She told me to stay in school. I have a PhD. I can go on and on and on.
The entertainment business was not responsible for my upbringing. My parents were. That’s not really accurate. It was my mom who raised my sister and me. I have no idea who my father was and I don’t care to find out. My mother raised me and my sister in the projects while working two jobs and going to school. So I don’t want to hear any crap from anybody about how it’s hard for some parents to raise their kids. My sister never made it out as she was taken by the very environment my mother was trying her best to protect us from. My sister Sharon was rasied a decent young lady. Everybody loved her, and when she died she died a decent young lady. She was not a thug although we lived among thugs. She was not a criminal although we knew some criminals. She was raised a decent young lady and despite her surroundings she died a decent young lady.
Because she was raised right.
We watched bad TV and bad movies and we lived in a place where something bad could happen to you in the blink of an eye and in fact it did and my sister was killed. I survived and I have my mother to thank for it.
My mother was not our friend she was our mother. My mother did not negotiate with us, she told us what to do. My mother did not give us a “time out.” If anything, it was time to get your ass kicked. Oh, before I get comments on hitting your child, yes my mother did hit me… once. That’s all it took. She did not have to beat me, she was busy parenting.
I look at the news and I see kids, many from well to do families who just lose their godamn minds. Kids are picking fights just to videotape them and show them on You-Tube. They are breaking into homes and destroying the home and videotaping it to show on You-Tube. They are robbing banks, planning massacres they are running amok.
When is it time to look at the parents? Michael Vick was a nation wide front-page story for weeks because he had a dog-fighting ring. When will there be a nationwide outrage over these crazy out of control parents? Kids today are so sheltered it just sad. That is so part of the problem. It’s not just the parents who don’t parent that are creating monsters it’s parents who spoil their kids rotten. In a previous column I told the story of a little rich kid who got in the face of a gang member. This kid thought he was invincible until the gang member showed him otherwise by almost killing him. It was not until that moment in that rich kids life that he felt his own mortality. Up till then he was sure he could have gotten away with anything.
When I was six I got a chair, walked passed my mother. Put the chair next to the stove, got on the chair and placed my hand on the stove right on the orange coils. My mother watched the entire thing without saying a word. When my hand touched the coils I yelled louder than Blackbolt of the Inhumans. I fell off the chair crying like Meryl Streep in Sophie’s Choice or like Dick Cheney when he found out he was a distant cousin of Barack Obama. I yelled “Why did you let me do that?” at my mother. Who calmly said “I bet you won’t do it again.”
Hell no, I didn’t.
Maybe we should put some more hands on the stove. Let’s start with some parents.
Michael Davis is a comics creator and the founder of the Guardian Line series of comics as well as being a television producer and writer. He was a co-founder of Milestone Comics and his artwork has appeared in Wasteland, Green Arrow: Shado, Green Hornet and The Question, among others.