Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Define the word "suck"

"Yeah Moe, that team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked. I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked."
-Homer Simpson

I have tried to sit down and start this entry about 10 times and am always interrupted and annoyed and don't get to finish it. I plan on making sure that I do so tonight. Because there's a lot on my mind. And after all, a blog is the place where you vomit upon the blogosphere all of your inner demons in hopes of just getting them out of your system for the word to look at and point and laugh accordingly, or pour sympathy over until you feel a little less cruddy. Right?

We've been having a rough time here at the Way Out Inn with our boy Geoff.

Long time readers know Geoff's not your average bear. He's got learning disabilities that we really try hard to work with. Lately, I'm not sure what the deal is but he's going to make my head explode and I'm not able to really deal with what is going on.

I've written about his use of incorrect language, being "clean" in a metaphorical and physical sense. We spend forever and a day every day going over correct language use and how to behave... He got suspended from the bus recently for swearing a lot, getting into arguments with the guys, and for writing on the bus seat "You Suck." Not only did he do that, he announced to the guys on the bus "Hey, I'm going to write 'you suck' on the bus seat!"

Someone narked on him. Serves him right.

Who sucks? Well, Geoff says the school sucks, the bus sucks, everyone sucks. They're the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked, I guess.

Day after day, week after week, I'm trying to deal with him and not kill him outright when I get a daily call from the school that he did this that and the other thing, or my neighbor approaches me and tells me that her son reports that Geoff offered to show everyone the tattoo on his penis.

Yeah, you read that right.

We lecture, we punish. We confront and say "Did you do this?" And he freaks out that someone told on him. "Who is spying on me! HOW DO YOU KNOW THIS!"

I have my sources.

So we make it clear. Don't do this, or you're in trouble. Each day he repeats back to me that he understands. He tells me "this is the right way to act, the way I'm supposed to act. I understand. I comprehend..." and then he walks out my door and is all "suck" this "suck" that, you "suck" he "sucks"... "suck my dick."

Yeah, you read that right too.

Now, for me, the word "suck" is not a swear. It's crude and it's not really a great word, but this isn't 1950 anymore. I say it all the time, instead of the other silver dollar words in the swear continuum.

My commute sucked, my day sucked, that ballgame sucked, this song by that band is the suck. But I kind of leave it at that.

Geoff goes right from "that sucks" to "suck my Dick" faster than a supercharged VW can hit 60mph on the Autobahn. It's like a gateway word for him... opening the floodgates to all the other great words. So I haven't let it bother me up until he crossed that invisible line where jokingly saying "you suck" or "your mom sucks" to that "suck my balls" kind of attitude.

And it's not just "suck," it is a lot of other things like "I'm going to kill you" which are getting him into a lot of trouble. We're done. Done with that. End of conversation.

I've met with parents of the other kids involved, I've met with the assistant principal. I've taken Geoff to therapy to talk about this with his therapist. I have no solutions, no answers. But every day he says "I'll be good." And then he goes out and he's as bad as he can be. And I'm not dealing very well with it anymore.

I'm kind of on that little edge, where I am either going to explode and beat the ever loving sweet merciful daylights out of him or I'm going to crawl back into bed and never ever come out again.

Not sure which way we'll be going.

Pray for him, and for me. And, of course, advice from parents and other experts is appreciated. Especially places to hide his body later. Ha! I kid. You know I do. (looks around to see if DSS is listening).

We've not been without our successes with Geoff. He's really enjoying boy scouts, he's playing his guitar (he wrote a song called "Spring Cleaning for Your Face" and thinks Tay Zonday is awesome and he wants to be the next You Tube sensation). He has been working hard at school and wrote two very good papers for History and did a big presentation on JFK where he had to dress up like him and do a first person biographical presentation in front of the whole class. There have been some funny moments where we've laughed hysterically.

I'm not feeling like all is lost... I just want him to like... not be a jerk and get in trouble all the damn time.

Especially because one of the people he's offending and hurting happens to be a good friend, a really good kid, and one who has decided he's just not going to stand for Geoff or any of the other kids being raunchy on the back of the bus.

I love this kid. It takes a lot to stand up to the other guys... He's a boy of great conviction and deep kindness and honesty. He's a really wonderful person. I want Geoff to model his behavior on this friend... not push him away or get to the point where they can't be friends or associate with one another because the other kid flat out refuses.

I know that if it GOT to that point, Geoff would suddenly have that Big Epiphany™ and say "Oh No! I've lost a great friend!" and he'll break down and be all sorry. But the damage may be done and beyond repair. Part of me believes that this other kid is a good enough person that he'll forgive Geoff... but I know that in the back of his mind he'll harbor that feeling that Geoff can't be trusted to be a good, clean friend. And I never want it to get to that point with them. Even if it is rock bottom and sometimes the only way to make things better with Geoff is when he breaks entirely.

Another thing is that Geoff's mouth is going to get his ass kicked one of these days too, I think. Again, part of me thinks that might be a good thing. I've heard tales told of boys this age who get their comeuppance in a good asswhoopin' and they sin no more because they know that they got beat.

Geoff's got a social disability that makes it so that he just can't wrap his head around a lot of social skills. He's like the girl in the song "Round Here" by the Counting Crows, "she knows she's more than just a little misunderstood; she has trouble acting normal when she's nervous." He isn't sure what to say so he blurts the dumbest things out. When people are joking, he doesn't see that they're joking and he takes it seriously and freaks out. What he thinks is funny, is not. What he thinks is serious is usually a joke. It's impossible to TEACH him the difference.

And through experience I can only hope that someday he gets it before he or someone else is really badly hurt.


How's that for throwing up on the internet?

Well, for now this is going to have to do. I've got dishes and laundry and whatnot to hit. I'm tired. I need to go to bed at a decent hour and not toss and turn all night.

I'll keep you posted, all four of you, on how we progress. Until later kids, be good.

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