Matt Archbold graduated from Saint Joseph’s University in 1995. He is a former journalist who left the newspaper business to raise his five children. He writes for the Creative Minority Report.
OK. I’m sending up a flare. This is me asking for help. I’m looking for some good comebacks to the age old questions that people from big families get asked all the time.
Here’s how it started. I brought my five children to the movies, aged ten down to two this past weekend. And the guy standing there taking tickets pointed to the children and asked, “Are these all yours?”
I typically make a joke and say that two of them were hitchhikers I found on the expressway but he didn’t seem like a happy fellow so I simply admitted they were all mine.
“What?! Really?” he said, his eyes widening. “You ever hear of overpopulation, man?”
And there was me. Gobsmacked. And I’m not easily gobsmackable. If I could’ve typed out the contents of my brain they would’ve read “???????????” And it was clear from the man’s face that he wasn’t kidding. He was absolutely offended by my children. Now I’ll admit my mind tends to lean towards uncharitable retorts. I’m like The Hulk. But different. Less muscley. When attacked I lose my mild mannered nice Dad charade and out comes Mr. Nasty and he starts firing off unedited nasty-grams. And once out, Mr. Nasty doesn’t like to go back to his cage.
Now, I don’t like Mr. Nasty. Mr. Nasty is best left caged up so when my mind filled with nasty comebacks like “I believe the world is just overpopulated with stupid people and I’m doing my darnedest to outnumber them” I was able to keep them to myself. I didn’t want to be Mr. Nasty. I was with my kids and the movie was about to start so I’d decided to simply walk on. Dad of five: 1. Mr. Nasty: 0. Yes!
Then the ticket taker added, “You know what causes that, right?”
Now normally I’m pretty good at coming back. But I’ve got to tell you this little incident shocked me, especially right in front of my children so I simply said, “One more word from you in front of my children and I’m asking for your manager, got it Mr. Happy?”
I think the guy realized he’d gone a little too far because he looked down as if something interesting had suddenly appeared on the floor.
So many of us have heard the questions like these or the ol’ “Why don’t you get a hobby?”
What other questions have you heard? And give me some snappy yet charitable comebacks for the next time. And believe me there will be a next time. By supplying me with these comebacks you’ll be helping me keep Mr. Nasty caged up.