Monday, February 9, 2009

Tough Love

I'd like to switch gears for a bit here on Thrift Store Nightmares. Normally, we bring you pictures of funny worthless crap from thrift stores, but right now I'd like to analyze the text of today's thrift store nightmare.

I'd like you to meet the book Tough Love, straight out of some old religious guy's house:

Oh man, I'm scared already. "When you can't reach troubled teens, can't even live with them... its time for TOUGH LOVE." Let's see... I'm pretty sure this is from the 80's...

Sounds about right. The first time I picked up this book, I didn't quite know what to expect. I mean, surely this book would be a legitimate self help manual to increase the communication between teens and parents everywhere! No dice. I found myself doubled over in laughter on page six. The book immediately launches into heavy-handed, over-the-top scenarios like this:

Dennis and Roland's parents are watching television in the family room of their Brockton, Massachusetts split-level home. As usual, Roland's stereo is blasting through the house. Dad can no longer stand the noise so he marches upstairs and yells, "Turn that damn thing down." Eighteen-year-old Roland responds immediately by screaming, "Fuck you," and he begins smashing in the walls of his room with a baseball bat. Sixteen-year-old Dennis charges into the hallway hollering at his father, "What the hell are you doing to my brother? Why don’t you leave him alone?"

Keep in mind that this is actual text from the book, and it clearly sets the tone for the 240 pages that follow. I have a very hard time swallowing any of this. In my opinion, a more astute writer would have written this story like so:

Dennis and Roland's parents are watching television in the family room of their Brockton, Massachusetts split-level home. Roland's father works at the local steel mill and has worked a long ten hour day and is quick to take his frustrations with his job home with him. Dad doesn't bother spending much time with his two sons because "raising children is woman's work." He expects to come home every day from work to a quiet house, an obedient wife, and all-American kids who play football and get elected prom king. Having been raised in the 1950's, Dad is very intolerant of ideas that he doesn't agree with, and is big on conformity and authoritarianism. Roland is a typical teenager that doesn't quite know how to express himself so experiments with different fashions and types of music. He doesn't understand why his father always acts so hostile towards him and his brother. They're both good kids who stay out of trouble and get decent grades, but their dad is always down on them for having long hair, wearing odd clothing, or not playing sports. This particular night, Roland is listening to punk music at a reasonable volume. His father, tired of always hearing that "noise" while he's trying to watch the game, marches upstairs and shouts, "Goddamn it boy, turn off that fucking fagot dopehead music. How the fuck do you ever expect to make something of yourself dressing like that? Do you think anyone's going to hire someone who looks like a complete fuck-up criminal?" Roland, tired of taking his dad's constant bullying, tells him to fuck off. Roland's dad would later say that his son began smashing the walls of his room with a baseball bat, but it was a gross exaggeration added for shock value. Dennis runs in from his bedroom and says "What the hell are you doing to my brother? Why don’t you leave him alone?" Their father, knowing he's a pathetic excuse for a human being, leaves the room, telling his boys to watch themselves.

Don't you love how the story changes when you have all of the information?

Anyway, this book continues in this way and becomes mostly intervention stories. The main running theme of the book is that it's not the parents' fault, which is rather absurd because every other parent in this book is similar to the character described above.


1 comment:

  1. Heh, your version of the story makes more sense, unless Roland has some kind spontaneous outburst disorder.


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