Here’s a story that I tell often when those around me lament the lack of control that modern non-parents have over their children.

I was at a Mongolian Grill with my family when a pair of parents and their troupe of ill-mannered, ill-controlled, and likely ill-planned children decided to join us and improve our afternoon with their presence. The children, whom the parents ignored to the point where a kidnapper really could have made out pretty well, proceeded to terrorize the entire restaurant.

The banged on the fish tank, screamed and ran around, and just basically made a huge nuisance of themselves. If my sister and I hadn’t already been in high school at the time, they would have made perfect “Hey, you see those kids? If you EVER do that nobody will find your body!” material.

Nevertheless, we had been sitting through this terrorism for a while, and, despite it, I wanted to make another trip to the grill. So I snagged my empty plate and headed over. On the trip over I noticed one of the smaller children (about 6 years old or so) running from one of the larger ones, either in mortal terror or in a game of tag… whatever. Either way he was screaming/squealing all the way and not generally paying attention to what he was doing.

Brain to me, “If that child continues at his current collision course he will most likely collide with your elbow in about 3 seconds. Should we take evasive action? We have more than enough time to prevent the collision if we simply stop walking or change speed.”

“Naw, that’s OK brain. I’m sure he’ll veer off. Maintain course and speed *Snergle*”

“What was that, I thought I heard something after you said “speed”?”

“I think there must be some static on the line, just your imagination.”


The child runs face first into my elbow, probably giving him a black eye but at least hurting him enough that the tone of his screaming changes to a less gleeful to a more “I’m in pain!” variant and goes running to his parents.

I proceed to fill a bowl and get myself another plate full of Mongolian noodles. As I get back to my family and take my chair, everyone at our table overhears the bad parents, who haven’t yet calmed their crying son.

Bad Parent, “Oh are you OK? Did you hit your head on a table?”

The child never became coherent enough to rat me out, and apparently the larger child didn’t see what happened. I have been overly satisfied with myself since that moment.

Now, whenever my family and I are somewhere and uncontrolled children are running about, they ask if “The Table” can do anything about it.