my life with mo: who shot ya?

Morrison’s school called again today. They’re such assholes. I’ve told them before that I don’t like to be bothered when I’m working. Unless, of course, it’s an emergency. This was definitely not an emergency. They just don’t understand what it’s like to be an artist. I shouldn’t be surprised. From what I can tell, they all shop at Macy’s and smell like Starbucks frappuccinos.

This time it was the principal, Mr. Hoffman. He said that Mo was running around the playground shouting, “Who shot ya” at the other kids. Then he would run away. He’s so funny.

“This is not appropriate conduct for a six year old,” Mr. Hoffman claimed. “And it’s the third incident this month. We are a very prestigious school, Mr. Tannico. We cannot tolerate such behavior.”

I told him I didn’t understand what the big deal was. I would have liked to say a lot of other things, but kept my cool. Morrison’s grandparents pay for him to attend there, and I know it costs as much as some universities. Besides, I’d hate for him to have to go to public school. Those places have become dens of mediocrity and violence.

“The big deal, Mr. Tannico? The big deal is that Morrison is obviously being exposed to music and other popular culture that is having a negative influence on him. The big deal is that he is causing disruptions in school. And quite honestly, I don’t feel that it’s his fault.”

“Whose fault is it then?” I asked.

“It’s yours,” he replied.

“Look, Mr. Hoffman. Morrison is a great kid. Sure he might say things sometimes that he shouldn’t, but don’t you think that you’re overreacting just a little? I mean, what’s wrong with him yelling ‘Who shot ya?’ when he’s out on the playground? He’s just having fun.” I smiled as I pictured it.

“Using a gun to murder someone is no laughing matter, Mr. Tannico.”

“Who said that he was joking about murder? I’m pretty sure that he was referring to Dick Cheney shooting his buddy in the face while they were pheasant hunting. We saw it the other night on documentary about the Iraq war.”

“Even if that were the case, which I don’t believe it is, why are you subjecting Morrison to such topics? Documentaries about war are not something children can comprehend, Mr. Tannico. Otherwise he wouldn’t be making a play of it.”

I was getting tired of this guy telling me what my son should and shouldn’t be exposed to. So what if Morrison knows that our vice president got drunk and shot his friend in the mug? Or that the Iraq War was predicated on lies? When Morrison gets older he’s going to be leaps and bounds ahead of those other kids in his class whose parents think it’s wise to shelter their children from the world.

“Look, Mr. Hoffman, I don’t see a problem with Morrison watching a documentary on the History Channel. These are messed up times he’s growing up in. And I’m sure that he didn’t mean any harm by it anyway. He’s just a kid.”

“I’m quite aware of the fact that Morrison is a child, Mr. Tannico, which is why I’m concerned for his well-being. When I asked him where he heard ‘Who shot ya?’, he didn’t mention Vice President Cheney, he told me it was a song he heard in the car. Your car, Mr. Ranier. And when I Googled it, I was shocked to see the type of music you are letting him listen to. Do you really think that it is appropriate for a six year old child to listen to…The Notorious Biggie?”

“The Notorious B.I.G.,” I said. “Or, Biggie Smalls. He’s arguably the greatest rapper of all time.”

“I don’t see why his status in the music industry has anything to do with this, Mr. Tannico. Morrison should not be exposed to it. When I saw some names of other songs this Biggie made, quite frankly I was appalled. And this is on top of everything else.”

Of course he had to bring up the time Morrison went up to his teacher Mrs. Franklin and said, “Hey Mrs. Franklin, what’s another name for pirate treasure? It’s booty! Like your butt.” And just last month, when Morrison was running around shouting, “Say hello to my little friend!” I don’t see why they needed to call me about that either.

“Mr. Tannico, I understand that being a single parent is difficult. Believe me, I do. But you need to start censoring what Morrison is exposed to. Children at his age are very impressionable, and it is your responsibility as his father to make sure he is guided towards success. Flooding him with inappropriate pop culture references is not conducive to him being successful. It has to stop. Otherwise, I fear Morrison will head down a path of failure.”

A path of failure? My son? Not a chance. Morrison is going to be the greatest. He’s smart, witty and more creative than I ever was at his age. He’s going to be more successful than any elementary school principal. Just you wait and see. He’s going to start a new movement in music, or invent something awesome, or write the next great American novel. I know he will.

When I picked Morrison up from school, he was upset. Such fucking assholes! I asked him what had happened and he started to cry. He told me that he didn’t know that saying ‘Who shot ya’ was bad. He told me that he didn’t like getting in trouble. He’s so sensitive.

“It’s not your fault, Mo. I should’ve told you that you can’t say stuff like that at school.”

“I thought it was funny,” he said, “but Mrs. Franklin was mad at me. She sent me to the principal’s office.”

“I know. But it’s okay now. Just don’t say that in school anymore, alright?”

“Yes, dad.”

I love it when he calls me dad.

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