Monday, March 03, 2008

No Deadbeats Allowed

I've recently come to a realization about a particular element of the culture in our home. None of us (myself, Francine, or Alexander) tolerates deadbeats.

By deadbeat, I don't necessarily mean someone who doesn't pay their debts -- although I can't say I'm at all fond of people like that either. The deadbeats, in particular, that offend me and my family the most are those who fail to contribute time and effort into their family, home and to society in general.

See definition below, just to be clear.

dead-beat: [n] a loafer; a sponger (from

For example, there was a guy who used to be my neighbour who was the ultimate of deadbeats. He barely lifted a finger around the home and relied on his wife run ragged trying to keep up with the entire household of activities. He claimed he worked all week and should rest when at home (his wife worked too, both in the workforce and at home) and he was simply one of the laziest buggers I've ever known. Perfect example of his deadbeat nature was the hot summer afternoon when he was sitting in the backyard drinking beer and smoking a joint while his wife and pregnant sister were laying down the bricks for the interlaced brick driveway that -- get this -- HE insisted they have.

A more recent example of deadbeatism that irks me to no end would include the idiots who live down the street who can't be bothered to shovel the sidewalk in front of their house. And no, it's not some senior or single parent family living there -- there are no less than 4 or 5 able-bodied young and middle aged adults living in that house. All of them perfectly capable of carrying their weight. But instead, their laziness is forcing people to walk off the sidewalk and in the middle of the road -- their laziness and deadbeatism is endangering lives.

It should have been obvious to me that deadbeats would not be tolerated in our home, particularly since Alexander has always had to participate in the house cleaning activities over the years, following me around with a toy vacuum cleaner from almost since he could walk, always interested in mopping or Swiffering the floor, steaming the carpet, delighted in dusting along-side us, emptying the dishwasher, helping me make coffee, shoveling the snow, cutting the grass, working in the garden, following me around with his own toolboxes (yes, he has two of them -- another sign that he's a hard worker and needs LOTS of tools). I mean, it should have been obvious in the fact that for almost every single chore or task in our home, he has the toy equivalent (shopping cart, kitchen, BBQ, toolbench and two toolboxes, vacuum cleaner, two lawn mowers, shovels, gardening tools - if there's some sort of household work or chore involved, Alexander has a matching toy for it) And he is often the one to incite us into working - slave-driver that he is.

It might also have been obvious in the fact that our household has gone through an average of one new vacuum cleaner per year -- yes, I'm NOT kidding here -- we really do work them hard.

No, I finally came to the realization because last week, when Francine and Alexander and I were racing up the stairs, instead of yelling out the usual "Last one upstairs is a rotten egg!" I yelled out: "Last one upstairs is a deadbeat!"

All three of us were giggling, and the funniest part of it was Alexander, still three years old, pushing past us and in a panicked voice yelling out: "No, no, deadbeat; I don't want to be a deadbeat."

1 comment:

lime said...

your joint smoking deadbeat neighbor is lucky his wife and pregnant SIL didn't hit him in the head with a brick. i would have been tempted.

i can just see the race up the stairs, too cute. i think the cool thing is that alexander is learning that working together can be fun instead of drudgery.