Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Sock ’Em in the Eyes

by | Jan 26, 2022 | Society | 0 comments

The world doesn’t owe you anything

Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash

I was walking downtown with my daughter when we saw a mom with two kids walking ahead of us. The younger of the two was a girl who was closest to us; she must have been four. My daughter, unable to distinguish the difference, believes babies are any human that is not clearly adult.

So she called out to this girl and said, “baby!”

The girl turned around, clearly upset by this. She got in my daughter’s face and angrily said, “I’m not a baby!”

So I socked her in the eye.

The mom turned around and asked me if I saw what had happened, and I meekly responded, “I don’t know. I guess she doesn’t like being called a baby.”

I like to think that I’m a good father, and if my daughter would’ve been of age to understand this interaction and talk and asked me to punch this girl, I would’ve. Because I like to think that I’m the kind of father that would punch anyone my daughter asks me to punch.

There are helicopter parents, and then there is me, a Rock ‘Em Sock ’Em kind of dad — dislodge heads first, ask questions later. I’ll be feared by all teachers, indiscriminately punching anyone getting in my daughter’s way. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old man in a wheelchair, a drowning old woman, a four-year-old girl. If you are mean to my princess, you get what’s coming to you.

When I remember this interaction, I can’t help but think, “of course, history repeats itself.”

History is made of humans, and humans are not immortal beings collecting the lessons of their mistakes with an infinite amount of time to correct the results of their bad decisions.


Humans, in a way, repeat themselves. We come to the world with very little knowledge. We are born with zero thoughts, and we collect them and start testing them in the real world. We see what works and what doesn’t. We are filled with great thoughts and also with petty ones that we are constantly trying to overcome.

We spend years accumulating them and turning them into wisdom. Then after decades of accumulating that wisdom and while we are partly putting it to good use, we die. The social human life cycle goes we are born, we grow, reproduce, make mistakes, try to make things a little better, and die.

So it is no surprise that history repeats itself.

Also, we spend years accumulating knowledge, and before we can put it to good use, we have a wave of knuckleheads behind us, thinking, “history doesn’t really apply to me. I’m going to try it my own way.” And we start the cycle all over again.

The best we can hope for is to move inches forward. One of the things that can help progress is the education of our young ones, the passing of the knowledge that we have accumulated. It doesn’t mean that younger generations will always be receptive or that we don’t need them to rebel against what we have figured out when it doesn’t apply. But it means that older people have figured out a thing or two about how the world works.

I keep this in mind when I’m walking about town with my daughter.

Of course, I didn’t punch that girl in the eye. But I felt a small jolt of indignation at the way that four-year-old talked to my daughter. I love my daughter. I have a feeling I will be very protective of her.

I think I’m this way because of my mom. I know three things about my mom’s love for me: my mom loves me unconditionally, I can count on her if I need to get away with murder, and she will help me dig if when we break for snacks, I chew with my mouth closed. I know that’s how protective my mom is. I have a feeling that’s how protective I will be.

But history repeats itself because, as humans, we have to start learning from a tabula rasa.

Now that I’m in my mid-30s, I know a thing or two about emotional regulation. I didn’t come to the world with that. I’ve had to learn it over the years. I believe I had my last fistfight when I was 16. I wasn’t a particular bellicose teenager, but I went to an all-boys catholic school. Once or twice a week, there would be a fight after school, and sometimes you were in them. But I learned that at times other people’s knuckles feel stronger than mine, especially when they land on my nose. So I decided to work on my words more. I learned about patience and forgiveness.

But not immediately.

I was first a pain-in-the-ass but verbally and not physically. I would challenge everything. I would structure complex arguments; I would change my mind; I would point at the fallacies and biases in people’s arguments. Yeah, I was such a nightmare that people hoped I would just punch them.

Then I learned about patience and forgiveness. I learned that most trespasses are not really about me, so I learned to let go.

Like the famous guru once said, “An eye for an eye makes the world sees a little less and increases the market share of ocular prosthetics companies.”

That little girl probably felt indignation at being called a baby by my daughter (the nerve on my daughter!) in the same way that I felt indignant when she responded in the way it did.

That interaction highlights a lesson I have learned in my life and that I wish I can pass on to my daughter that we can’t control how the world reacts to us or how they talk to us.

Trying to become the world police and coerce people to change their language when they don’t mean it, it’s a fruitless pursuit. All we have control over is our actions, thoughts, and language. That’s where real change happens.


Leave a Reply

Recent Articles

Sister in a Headlock

Sister in a Headlock

My oldest daughter asked us to change her sister’s diaper. (19/40) Photo by Claudia Raya on Unsplash There is so much in my oldest daughter’s initiative that seems to come from being the oldest. I...

read more

Discover more from Unequivocally Ambiguous

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading