Backchat: The Speech

Backchat: The Speech

I’m sick and tired of telling you: STOP FIDDLING with my stuff! And speaking of stuff, where are my SOCKS? You think it’s funny, don’t you. But I never stole MY father’s socks. Or his underpants. Or used his toothbrush.

by John Cooney

I’VE FORGOTTEN MOST THINGS I said to my kids. But I’ve never forgotten ‘The Speech’. I used to give it on regular occasions, red in the face, volume up loud. And it went like this …

“Are you DEAF or something? Didn’t you HEAR what I just said? You’re not even listening to me NOW – LOOK at you! When I was your age, I LISTENED to my father. If I didn’t, I got a hiding. And can somebody tell me why the HEATER’s on? What’s WRONG with you? It’s nearly SUMMER, for crying out loud! If you’re cold, put some clothes on. Or shut a few doors. And while you’re on your feet, turn out some LIGHTS! This place is lit up like a Christmas tree. Have you any idea how much I spend on electricity? A flipping FORTUNE, that’s how much. The sooner you start paying board, the better. Money, money, money – you think it grows on TREES! You must think that, otherwise you wouldn’t waste so much toilet paper. What on earth do you DO in there? EAT the stuff? When I was a kid, we had to use little ripped-up squares of newspaper. How would you like that? And SHAMPOO’s another thing. I had to shower this morning without any. Why? Because there’s none LEFT, that’s why. There never IS! And guess what else? The shower was COLD! In my day, we were allowed three-minute showers. THREE MINUTES, that’s all. And we weren’t allowed down from the table until we’d eaten our greens. Which you refuse to eat, of course. You’d rather stuff yourselves with junk food. And then you go on like it’s MY fault your face is a mess! Honestly, I should’ve bought shares in a PHARMACY. Or a PHONE company. I’d be a rich man by now, the hours you spend talking rubbish with your friends. It wouldn’t be so bad if you’d put the phone back where it belongs. But oh, no, you’d rather let me grovel around in that disgusting mess you call a bedroom in search of MY phone! And why’s my car RADIO always tuned to your horrible music? I’m sick and tired of telling you: STOP FIDDLING with my stuff! And speaking of stuff, where are my SOCKS? You think it’s funny, don’t you. But I never stole MY father’s socks. Or his underpants. Or used his toothbrush. I had more RESPECT! I’m just glad he’s no longer around. It would break his heart to hear the way you speak to your mother. LOOK AT ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU! No, I’m NOT getting worked up – and I’m NOT SHOUTING! I was FINE until I came inside and found you glued like zombies to the TV. I just hope that someday, when YOU have kids, they’ll treat you nearly as bad. Then maybe you’ll understand why I keep coming out in this rash …”

JOHN (GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDER AND FATHER-OF-THE-YEAR) HAS HAD SIMILAR PROBLEMS WITH HIS GRANDKIDS. AND HE STILL CAN’T FIND HIS SOCKS.