You hear about it happening to other parents, but you just know it can't happen to you.
You brought your children up with values and morals, and they simply wouldn't trash all your training for self-gratification of the lowest order. It's not something that is supposed to happen in good families.
If your children start up with this stuff, you hide it from your friends out of embarrassment and with good cause. Who wants their children to consort with someone who'd stoop to this level of behavior?
My son has been eating Spam.
TO MY SHAME, I enabled his habit by having a Costco-sized pack of it in the house. I think it's been here since the 1980s as a food-storage item. It is much like those glass-covered fire-alarm switches - to be used only in case of emergency.
I checked. There is no culinary emergency in our home. This is why I am baffled.
Why would he stoop to such a low? Did I teach him nothing? What's next - Twinkies? They both have the shelf life of Ted Kennedy's political career, but that's not the point. Longevity should not be the benchmark in a food item's consumptive qualities. Unless, of course, you're a poor college student who will eat anything, up to and including four-day-old pizza stuck to the cardboard box it came in and/or food that has had its fuzzy covering of mold removed to make it more palatable.
He's neither a poor college student nor a starving artist. I'm baffled.
This is not the first time his behavior has brought me to open-mouthed amazement status.
My son pulled up his shirt Saturday evening to show me a red welt on his shoulder. Not only was he showing it to me, he was bragging about how it got there.
Seems he and his friends were having a BB gun fight - with actual BB guns. Shooting at each other. On purpose. With high-velocity projectile weapons.
My son, pulling up his shirt, said, "Check this out!"
"Oh, honey, what happened?"
"Jonathan got me with the BB gun," he said, with a huge grin.
"He shot you with a BB gun?"
This is where I had a sudden impulse to call Jonathan's parents and ask them how they could raise such an irresponsible child.
"Yeah, but I hit him first!"
At this point I realized that there was never going to be a way to fix this child. Bruises, cuts, scrapes and sucking chest wounds are all badges of honor with the male species. He's still proud of the time he got his fingers caught in a blender and lived to show off the mangled mess to his buddies.
Last week he ripped off a fingernail while sitting on his skateboard and riding it down a hill. He couldn't wait to show me.
I'm considering wrapping my son in bubble wrap until he's of legal age just so he'll live that long. Then he can be someone else's problem.
Don't worry, I'll put enough Spam in there with him so he won't starve. Just don't tell my friends.
Pamela Troeppl Kinnaird can be reached at email@example.com.