Minutes after placing the plastic Santa, sleigh, reindeer, snowman in the yard and decorating the house with many festive lights in order to give Sean's residence the appearance of a typical American home during the much commercialized season, Sean placed his arm around Timmy's shoulder. The 40 year old corporate executive was proud of his accomplishment. It was important, in Sean's mind, that he keep up with the other neighbors' decorated yards in his suburb. He looked down to see if his son was taking in the grandeur of the perfectly well placed decorations and lights, as well. As usual, Timmy was preoccupied with the latest version of his iPod, texting away another irrelevant message to a friend in a long line of trivial messages.
That reminded Sean. He needed to buy himself an upgraded version of an electronic gadget he had bought only a month ago. Texting, instant messaging and twittering was such a vital part of Sean's life and he just had to have the very latest electronic gadget in order to keep up with appearances and to make himself feel just that much more special than anyone who didn't have the latest electronic gadget at the moment. Sean's cars, mansion, big screen TVs, yacht and the rest of his possessions meant everything to him. After all, Sean thought, your portfolio, your money and the material things you own is a reflection upon your true value in society. And this thought, in turn, reminded Sean that he needed to have a serious talk with his 12 year old son about the facts of life.
"Son," said Sean, demanding Timmy's attention, "I think it's time we had THE TALK."
Sean had to snap the texting device out of Timmy's hands in order to stop the boy's addictive behavior and get his attention. It seemed that everyone during this time had such an addiction to electronic gadgets. At times, it seemed as though they were mindless texting, cell phone- talking zombies, incapable of standing in front of someone and communicating directly to them. With blank stares upon their little screens, they tappity-tap-tapped upon their hand held device's buttons, pausing only if it was absolutely necessary.
Timmy whined, "Hey, I was texting something to Ricky."
Sean said, "When we're finished talking, I'll let you have it back. Don't worry."
Timmy got a pout-y look on his face, thinking it would gain him back his gadget. It didn't. It was one of the few times Timmy didn't get his way with Sean.
Sean started, "It's time for you to know just how important is to run with the pack. To conform. Be a complete team player in life. And perhaps, most importantly, never differentiate from the norm so everyone, from your classmates in school to your fellow players in an organized league to your future co-workers in the office, will accept you during life. Never rock the boat."
Timmy looked up, asked, "Office? Why do I have to work in an office? Why can't I work at the supermarket with Uncle Frank?"
Sean laughed and then continued explaining, "Your Uncle Frank is what we call a loser. A no account. A grunt who performs routine tasks. A nothing, in truth."
"Why do you say that?," inquired Timmy.
As Sean walked Timmy back to the warmth of the interior of the mansion, the father said, "Uncle Frank didn't go to college. Instead of choosing a career where he would earn an annual six figure salary, Frank decided to waste his life and opportunities to work behind a deli counter, never to achieve what you kids today call the "awesomeness" of having considerable wealth and exceptional stature." With this said, Sean winked and nodded, affirmatively. He was hoping to get through to his son the importance of appearances and the never ending goal of attaining vast wealth throughout his lifetime.
As they stepped inside, Sean instructed Timmy to sit at the table for more enlightenment. At the table, Timmy said, "I don't understand. I always thought Uncle Frank was pretty happy. He's always smiling, the couple of times I've seen him."
Sean replied, "It doesn't matter if Uncle Frank is happy. What's important is wealth and conformity. Frank, from the day he was born, hasn't followed the rules of American society and as a result, doesn't measure up to our standards, my son. It's just that simple."
Timmy seemed confused at first, but then his expression brightened.
"So that's why you never invite Uncle Frank to Christmas or Thanksgiving every year," said Timmy, pleased that his father was smiling at his sudden comprehension.
Sean patted the boy on the head and said, happily, "You betcha!"
Timmy exclaimed, "Uncle Frank isn't as good as we are!"
"Why Frank has hardly any value as a human being at all," confided Sean, proud that his boy was eagerly learning a valuable lesson.
Timmy and Sean laughed heartily. This is going to be a wonderful day, thought Sean. The boy was soaking in all the wisdom Sean had to offer like a thirsty sponge.
At that moment, Vicky, Sean's wife walked in from the living room. She asked, "Will you boys be ready to go shopping in about an hour?" Sean and Timmy nodded. "There's a new upscale department store in the city that I've wanted to go into and we have reservations at The Capital Grille later tonight. I hear the Seared Tenderloin with Butter Poached Lobster is out of this world. I"m just so looking forward to eating there."
Sean and Timmy decided to go into the living room to watch TV. A news program was playing, showing the plight of people that had lost their jobs, recently, and were having trouble keeping their homes.
Timmy giggled, pointed and then exclaimed, "Look, dad! Poor people! They're stupid!"
Sean confirmed Timmy's outburst, saying, "That's right, son!"
Sean continued, "And if you should see any people at any time like this or any other losers that ask you for a handout, just pretend that they don't exist. It's easy. And it's the American Way"
The next images were of people fighting a war in the Middle East. Sean thought he could contribute more to his son's education by explaining the reason we were at war.
Sean asked, "Do you know the reason why our young soldiers are risking their lives over in the far away country called...? Eh, I forget the name at the moment... but that's not important anyway."
Timmy said, "Nope. I never really cared. Whenever they talk about war stuff on TV, I usually turn on my PS3 and play games."
Sean thought, Well, I really can't blame him there. Whenever the subject of whatever war we were currently in came on the screen, he'd quickly change channels to some televised sporting event.
"Well," said Sean, "The reason we go to war with people that are different than us is due to a number of things. One, they might have something that we want. Like oil, for instance. Two, our corporations and our government may have found ways to make a profit from setting up our "democracy bases" in these countries, therefore, we should be there. And three, it's the patriotic thing to do."
Timmy said, "I thought I heard it was about terrorism or somethin'."
Sean put his hand on his son's arm while saying, "Well, son, our government and politicians have used fear mongering and terms suggesting that you're not a true patriot unless you want go to another country and kill their people who have nothing to do with terrorism, per se. In fact, a lot of innocent civilians are killed over there for really unfair reasons, I suppose, if you really want to dwell on that sort of thing. Our own soldiers die over there, as well, but hey, ya gotta crack a few eggs to make an omelet."
Sean pointed up toward the air and said, triumphantly, "Heck, our country was practically taken and founded upon the massacre of people different than us. You've heard of Indians, right? Well, we had to wipe them out early on in order to spread across this land like a virus. They had our land and we took it from them. We even let a few of them live. 'Might is right', as they say."
Sean laughed a bit and then added, "But who says life has to be fair? It's the end result that counts. As Americans, we have to protect our gluttonous, selfish way of life by doing things that may seem immoral to some losers but that doesn't really matter. Money matters. Satisfying our needs is what matters. Doing what the government tells you to do and what to believe, no matter how much you think it is a lie, is what truly matters."
Timmy thought about what his father said and though a lot of it didn't make sense, he decided to go along with it. It seemed to him that if everyone else was going along with these rules, then it must be right.
Timmy said, "I guess I get it."
Sean said, "That's all I need to hear. Just remember... the majority is always right. Think and act like everyone else and you'll do just fine. In the future, you'll go to college, get a high paying career, get married, buy a big house and other expensive items, raise a couple rug-rats of your own and never question authority or the government. Don't rock the boat."
Timmy smiled and then said the words a father wants to hear the most from his son.
"I want to be just like you when I grow up, dad."
Sean said, "You betcha, son." Sean, assured of Timmy's compliance with all that was said, gave Timmy his iPod back.
Minutes later, the family gathered into the limousine and were taken into the city for a day and night of heavily commercialized Christmas shopping and fine dining. Life couldn't be better for Sean. Sean felt he had instilled valuable life lessons in his son and took exceptional pride in that accomplishment.