Politics & Policy

The Family Sit-Down

Tough talk from Dad.

I am the boss of this family. I am the boss of you, and you, and you, and you. Yes, I know you went to law school, but I am still the boss — please put my Fresca down, that’s the last one. Thanks. Where was I? O.K., yes, as boss of the family, I have decided that Neil Schutzfein needs to be whacked. We need to send a message to the other families. Yes, I know we could send them an e-mail, but I’m talking about a different kind of message. I don’t care if he is only nine years old and has ADHD and fallen arches. He took something that belonged to us, and no one–no one–steals from the family.

Today it’s two boxes of Girl Scout cookies–tomorrow it’s something with less hydrogenated fat. Jordan, as acting under boss, I’m giving this to you to handle. No, I explained that the under boss doesn’t get to lie down. You’re the boss if something happens to me. No, not if I’m in the bathroom with the sports section. You get someone from outside the family, maybe from Woodstock or Peekskill, and they take Schutzfein into the woods and they give him two taps to the side of the head. No, not with a soup spoon–what the heck are you doing carrying a soup spoon around? Put that back in the drawer. Two taps with a paintball gun. That’s the end of it. You leave him in the woods. With the squirrels. But take the canola oil.

Who’s been using my computer? Why do I have little green creatures throwing squishy things in my direction? Haven’t I made it clear that my office is off-limits? Who’s laughing? No, that was not a cough. Do you think I got to be head of this family by not knowing the difference between a cough and a laugh? In the old days you’d all be digging holes in the yard for that kind of disrespect. And planting organic strawberries. With no sunblock on. You’d really hate it.

Before I lose my temper, let’s move on. Blake, you’ve been in charge of loan sharking. Let me explain how this works. I put $40 on the dining-room table in the morning, and I want to see $41 on the table by dinnertime. I don’t think you understand the math involved. Last week I put out $260 and I got back a baggie filled with change and a half-inch of spilled coffee. This is not how the family makes a profit. Do you think that my salary and benefit package from my public-relations job pays for the math tutor and the private baseball coaching? It doesn’t. I want to see some money on that table when I come home tomorrow night. Or else. Don’t tell me not to make threats. Go ahead and call your sister. You think I’m afraid of that — I didn’t say anything. No one hits the Boss with a rolled-up People magazine. Do you want me to cancel your bikini-waxing appointment? Don’t think I won’t. I’ve done worse. A lot worse.

Okay, Alyssa, you’re in charge of hijacking. Let me congratulate you on being the only one in this crew who understands that everything flows up to me. You see that chocolate bar that came into the house last night? Alyssa brought me four squares in my office. I get 20 percent of anything that comes into this house, and into any of your pockets, and she’s watching. Hey, Victor, let me see what’s in your right front pocket. No, your other right. Yeah. Let me see. That look like four Wacky Package stickers. You’re not trying to tell me I’m not looking at four Wacky Package stickers, are you? Then how come I don’t have one Wacky Package sticker in my hand right now? I don’t care if you bought them with your own money. If it comes in this house or even just passes by real close, I get my cut. Stop crying. There’s no crying in the family except at weddings. No, because they’re so expensive, you big lagoon. Give me the sticker. I’m going to count to three. Don’t make me count. The capo di tutti capi does not count. You’re not listening.

Dana, you babysat last night for the Sonings. I think you probably made, what, $40? I didn’t see an envelope this morning. Anyone who earns in the family, I earn. Is that understood? Well if you already spent it then I’m going to take a piece of whatever you spent it on. I don’t know what a sling back is but you’re going to give me a piece.

Okay, listen up. This is important now. There’s a new boss we have to work with named Sanjiv Koppikar. He’s Indian. No, not like with the cowboys. Like where all the jobs you could do on college break are going overseas. He doesn’t do things the same way we do. There’s going to be some big problems. There’s even talk of a war. So, Victor, when you’re at baseball practice, and this Koppikar guy is coaching, what do you do when he turns around? No, you don’t sit down and drink your sports drink. You move half of the team’s bats and balls into your bag. You understand? This is not a time to show fear. This is a time for us to show that our family is strong. If his kid hit a double, you hit a triple. And then you steal home. You’re talking to the Boss, you balloon. There’s always stealing. And when the game is over, I want that home plate.

Who ordered the pizza? Are you kidding me? Someone ordered a pizza when I was talking? This is a family meeting. We don’t order food or make phone calls. You don’t order food or make phone calls in a movie, do you? Do you respect a movie theater more than your Boss? Stop calling me Dad. I’m the Boss. No, I don’t want a mushroom slice. I told you I’m not eating carbs any more. Doesn’t anyone listen to anything I say? Hello? This meeting is not over until I say it’s over. Don’t tell you just put the greasy pizza box down on the sports section. No, I said don’t tell me. This meeting is over. I hope I made myself clear. I’ll be in my office. Try not to be so loud. I’m trying to fix my e-mail. One of the other bosses sent me Pamela Anderson video and I can’t open it. I may need someone to whack this computer. Violence is a natural part of life. Did I just step in pizza?

 

Bruce Stockler is a public-relations consultant and writer based in Scarsdale, New York, inspired by Tony Soprano this Fathers Day.

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