A friend of mine, Jim Ryan recently got married to a divorcee with two kids. During the courtship he had developed a pleasant relationship with her twelve-year-old daughter Lisa and seven-year-old son Mark. So it came as a surprise when the boy became belligerent toward him last month.
While Jim didn't try to replace the father of the children, he did let them know that he was the man of the house. He projected authority and a fatherly image while treating them as if they were his own. The kids in turn showed nothing but love for him. I often saw him playing catch, riding bikes and taking them for rides in his classic Mustang convertible.Inexplicably one evening when he was chastising Mark about throwing a rock at a passing car, Jim received the business end of a soccer shoe in the groin. As it was soon proven, it was not the last time. Despite intervention by the boy's mother, the lad's soccer practice seemed to include Mr. Ryan's testicles.
Unable to stop the sudden fits of anger, they decided that more than discipline was needed. Besides, there was more of a matter of health involved, not only that of the boy but the future of the family jewels as well. It didn't take long for them to seek counseling for young Mark. In the meantime, Jim had to taken wearing a cup around the house. I thought it was a wise move until the kid learned to kick only soccer balls.
About a week later they discovered the reason for the sudden attacks. The ex-husband, as it turns out, had been mentally abusing the him of late during his every other weekend visits with his father. Probably angry because he had to pay child-support, he had begun to plant stories about his ex and her new husband. For the record, this fact was revealed not by the counselor, but by Lisa who had witnessed her father's subterfuge.
The councilor, as it turns out was accepting money from the father. She was purposely filling the boy with negative thoughts about his mother and step-father. Upon learning that her services would no longer be required, she was still protesting when Mrs. Ryan slammed the phone in her ear. Interestingly, the counselor told her that her husband probably deserved a good swift kick every now and then. I ask you, how's that coming from a professional?
The kicking once again has been directed at black and white leather balls. However, Jim did say that his were black and blue. The pain has subsided both in his relationship with his step-son and behind his zipper. A few days later he stopped wearing the cup.
The story would have, could have, should have ended there. (Woulda, coulda, shoulda...)
It seems that for his birthday, the Ryans bought the lad a punching bag and boxing gloves. The idea was for him to vent his temper and any angry thoughts on the punching bag. All had been going well....
That is, until Jim was steadying the bag for him Monday night while he was watching Monday Night Football. He isn't quite sure how it happened, but while his attention was directed at a long touchdown pass, somehow the boy missed the one bag. Somehow he had punched the wrong bag!
I understand that a when a Constable who was delivering a warrant for the counselor to appear before the City Licensing Board, tried to serve her, he found her office locked and unopened mail piled on the floor. It appears that she has decided that remaining in our city was not conducive to a successful practice.
As for Jim and his new family, I think they are having a ball.