December 06, 2009
Excerpt From Chapter 1
Raising children in Las Vegas presented a unique set of parenting challenges, not the least of which was the ever-present, over-sexualized, female exploitation sub-culture that loomed over your children. Nowadays the entire country is over-sexualized as young girls willingly exploit themselves for their fifteen minutes of fame. But, when I was growing up, Las Vegas was ahead of its time in this department.
I remember riding in the car on the way to second grade at St. Viator, staring at the racy advertisements that were plastered on the taxis that passed us by. I was particularly obsessed with the one for a show called, Crazy Girls! I thought to myself, “They must be crazy, they’re not wearing any pants!” as the tanned asses of eight showgirls stared back at me.
While all of these influences didn’t appear to affect my good-girl, follow the rules, obsessive-compulsive self, secretly it was on my mind. I would never dream of actually becoming like these women myself, but what was the harm in pretending that my Barbies were Crazy Girls! ? Pretty soon all of my Barbies were jumping into their hot pink jeep and heading out for a wild night at the strip club.
By the time I was in the seventh grade, my Barbie dream house had transformed into a virtual Mustang Ranch. Malibu Barbie pranced around wearing not much more than her painted on tan lines. The previously harmless Ken was suddenly donning Barbie’s fur coat and bossing everybody around, saying things like, “Bitch better have my money!” Teenaged Skipper cried all the time and smoked a lot of dope to numb the pain of lost innocence and the rough life of the sex trade. I was really into my dark Barbie world and my heart broke for these girls as though they had made these choices themselves and I had nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, I went on with my self-righteous little life, saying my prayers and studying for my exams.
There is certain innocence in still having affection for Barbie when you’re already twelve years old, even if your Barbies are drug-addicted hookers and Ken is a pimp with a God complex. At least I wasn’t doing any of those terrible things and I had no plans to ever do drugs or have pre-marital sex. And as far as I knew, no one in my class had those plans either.
Then I got to high school….
Excerpt From Chapter 3 – How to Scare the Crap out of Your Child (in a Positive Way)
INT. FAMILY KITCHEN – EVENING A FATHER sits at the table reading the newspaper while eating cookies. His DAUGHTER, a cute college girl, walks in. DAUGHTER Hi Daddy. FATHER Hi sweetheart. Did you have some cookies? DAUGHTER Nah. I’m on a diet. FATHER You’re too damn thin as it is. You’re gonna waste away. Father spills crumbs down his shirt as he takes a bite of another cookie. FATHER Oh well, more for me. DAUGHTER So, my friends and I are thinking of going to T.J. for the weekend. FATHER T.J.? DAUGHTER Tiajuana. FATHER Tiajuana?! What the hell would you want to go there for? DAUGHTER (guilty) I don’t know. It’s supposed to be fun. FATHER You’d just better be careful. DAUGHTER We will. Of course, we will. FATHER You have no rights when you’re over there. No rights. Let me tell you, those Federales will rob you, rape you, and leave you to rot in a Mexican jail, all because you didn’t have the forty bucks to pay them off. DAUGHTER Well – FATHER You’d better bring an extra forty bucks with you and set it aside as bribe money. DAUGHTER Okay. FATHER Better yet, two sets of forty bucks. In case you get stopped twice. DAUGHTER So, eighty-bucks? FATHER Yeah, but in two separate parts of your wallet. They have to think that forty is all you’ve got. You understand? DAUGHTER I…think so. Anyway, I’ll bring the phone number for the American Embassy, in case I’m mis-treated. FATHER (laughing) You think you get a phone call? This isn’t the United States we’re talking about. DAUGHTER Oh. FATHER And don’t make eye-contact with anybody down there. You make eye contact, you might as well have a big target on your back. DAUGHTER Well, I mean…we’re probably not even going. We were just, you know, talking about maybe going. FATHER Oh, I thought you had already decided. DAUGHTER Nah. I mean, with those Federales and everything… you’d have to be nuts to go. FATHER Smart girl.
The preceding scene was an example of how simple it can be to frighten your child out of doing something without having to “lay down the law.” The father in this scenario never once tells his daughter she can’t go, he merely “mentions” the terrible things that could happen to her in a foreign land.
Notice how he opens with the comment, “What the hell would you want to go there for?” This is a very effective manipulation tool. The girl instantly feels ashamed as the image of her drunk, under-aged self, making out with a hot stranger flashes through her mind. Terrified that the same image may be flashing through her father’s mind, the kid wants to crawl under a rock and die. Mission accomplished….