We live in an increasingly uncouth and thoughtless society. I say this not because I am 109 years old with lumbago, gout, and an overwhelming bitterness about my soon-to-be-ending meaningless existence and stubborn crabgrass on my front lawn. No, I say it because in some ways it seems to be true. See, I like good manners. My parents made a point of beating them into me MERCILESSLY WITH A FIERY HOT METAL POKER and I am grateful for it. Only one half of that last sentence is true, by the way. None of the second sentence is true. I like to be truthful, as well as polite. Today, I am going to make it easy to learn things by writing out for you a simple DO and DON’T list (People Like Lists, we know) on one topic: children in restaurants. Listen up or face THE POKER. I carry a collapsible butane one in my purse.


DO bring your children to a public place of food servingage if they are hungry and will pay attention to simple whispered directions from you like, “Honey, sit the F down,” or “Eat that food or you’re wearing it home, Bub.” DON’T make me listen to your strident tone.

DON’T bring your children if they have been eating candy all day, will loudly whine that THEY DON’T LIKE THIS FOOD and DON’T WANT IT and could give a CRAP about what you tell them to do because you say it like 1000 times over and over but never actually do anything, until a cruel-eyed manager comes over to rebuke you and your jerky kids and you go YEAH! WHAT HE SAID! Perhaps starve them for a day or so before you go out. That’ll get ‘em in line.

DO use high-chairs and duct tape to restrain your child whenever possible. Cleverly applied, this can be effective on children up to about age 12, when they start realizing that they can yell “CHILD ABUSE! CHILD ABUSE!” in the restaurant and actually get attention and possibly a balloon from the manager, who doesn’t need this shit, he’s thinking.

DON’T let your child run free in the restaurant. It’s dangerous when there are servers carrying large trays of hot food, and also that I will make a point of tripping your child if he or she runs past me more than once. Down you go, my little ADHD friend.

DO bring something quiet along for your child to do while waiting for their food, like a coloring book, a small puzzle, origami, homework, or have them silently count the bubbles in their Sprite. DON’T sing “99 Bottles Of Beer On The Wall,” play peekaboo over and over and OVER until I want to come over and go, “BOO, ASSHOLES! PEEK-A-DAMN-BOO ALREADY!” making the baby cry, or allow older children to play their handheld video games with the sound up, making those children cry as well when I come over and swipe the devices and crush them under a decisive boot heel.

DON’T allow a crying or screaming infant/toddler/preschooler (or anyone at all including you) to remain in the restaurant past a few seconds of outburst. I am very tolerant of the random sounds children can make; however, I did not pay to eat somewhere to spend the entire time listening to the meltdown of your spawn. For that matter, if you think your child’s temperament is such that this is likely to happen, STAY HOME. I didn’t make you breed, don’t make me suffer for your reproductive nightmares. TAKE THE KID OUTSIDE or stuff its mouth full of the complimentary breadsticks.

DO try to see that your children are at least reasonably clean and presentable. I know you think they are adorable no matter what, but even the cutest kid can upset my delicate digestive system if they are covered in dried snot or look like you haven’t bothered to pop them in the tub for a week.

And, most importantly…

DON’T even THINK about changing a baby’s diaper AT THE TABLE. I don’t care if you just gave birth and the baby is 3 lbs. and poops like a hamster. NO. NO NO NO NO NO. Do that, and you are gonna wear that lil’ Pampers home like a hat, courtesy the manager, me, and every other crabgrass-hatin’ fool.

The More You Know.