Growing Pains 517
Ben: Great Stinky, I'll meet you at the mall in twenty minutes. I'll be in women's underwear.
No, I didn't get permission yet, but don't worry, it's no sweat.
Mike: Benny, excuse me! Women's underwear!
Ben: What's that for? I'm not gonna be wearing it, I'm just gonna be in the women's
Mike: Oh, and that makes it OK!
Ben: Why do you keep hitting me? Come on, Mike, me and Stinky are just going down to the
mall to get our ears pierced in ladies' jewellery. Come on, a lot of guys get their ears pierced
Mike: I know, I just like smacking you around.
Ben: Well, cut it out, I gotta stay cool for when I ask Mom for permission.
Mike: Mom! Benny look, you got a better shot at getting permission to wear women’s
Ben: You think so!
Mike: Oh, Benny, the woman has no sense of humour. I mean, if you even ask her, she'll
probably wash something out with soap...your mouth, if you're lucky.
Ben: Na, na, see Mike, you don't get it. I don't wanna have to tell you this but...well, I am the
woman's favourite child, she told me so.
Mike: Oh, come on Benny, she tells every one of us that, and we're supposed to keep it some
Ben: Oh no!
Mike: Look, I'll tell you my advice; ask Dad to get your ear pierced.
Jason: And he'll say yes.
Mike: Oh, not a shot. He'll say, son, is this really what you want? I think not.
Ben: Then, how is that better?
Mike: Because, for a long time you guys can discuss it, and as you discuss it, you can bring up
another couple of things that you want, like a leather jacket, or boots with metal toes on them
and then Dad will feel so bad about saying no to the earrings that he'll cave on that.
Ben: You've actually tried this? Errm...thanks for the advice, Mike, but I think I'll work my
magic with Mom.
Mike: I'm telling you...
Ben: Hello, Mother.
Maggie: Hi Benny, Mike.
Ben: Ah, me and Stinky are going down to the mall.
Maggie: Oh, fine.
Ben: Be back by dinner.
Maggie: Fine. Oh, there it is.
Ben: I'm gonna get my ear pierced, if that's OK?
Ben: Well Mike, I guess we know she was lying to one of us when she said he was here
Maggie: Get your ear pearled!
Ben: Ah, yeah.
Maggie: Right, Benny, in your dreams.
Ben: Mom, can't we at least discuss this?
Maggie: No we can't. I am not going to have a child of mine disfiguring his face for fashion.
Mike: That's what I told him.
Maggie: Mike, what do you have to do with this?
Mike: Well, I'm just trying to help, Mom. Look, if you need the kid smacked around a little bit,
I'm happy to serve!
Jason: Hello everybody, I'm...
Ben: Dad, will you tell Mom, it's just a small hole that can grow shut.
Ben: Hey, all the other guys are getting 'em.
Maggie: And I suppose if all the other guys were wearing women's underwear you would too.
Mike: Welcome home Pop.
Jason: What's all this about?
Mike: Oh, the lad wants to get his lobe lanced.
Jason: His what?
Ben: My ear pearled. I mean if I don't have an ear ring, all the other guys are gonna think I'm
a sissy...and don't say I'd be disfiguring my face.
Jason: Oh, come on, Ben, would I say something ridiculous like that?
Jason: One second honey. Ben, we haven't discussed this.
Ben: Perfect, let's talk man to man in the kitchen.
Jason: Don't worry honey, I'll nip this in the bud...
Maggie: I mean to just jump in and take over like that, I was doing just fine.
Jason: Honey, I'm sorry, I was just err...
Maggie: Well, I know what you were doing and for the last five years it was your job to do it.
But I'm home now to deal with the kids' everyday problems and you're out there working, so
let me deal with the kids' everyday problems.
Jason: Sorry, I didn't know you felt so strongly about it.
Maggie: Well, I do.
Jason: I'm backing off.
Maggie: Good. Thanks.
Jason: Mike, I know what you're gonna say...
Mike: No, look, Dad, I was just...
Jason: Save it, it's not what it looks like, OK? I am not whipped. I am simply empathizing with
your mother's position here; she wants me to step aside so she can do the parenting, and
that's very important for her own self-worth.
Mike: I was just gonna ask you to borrow some money.
Jason: I thought you wanted to talk... Ha ha.
Mike: Ha ha.
Jason: Ha ha.
Mike: So what do you say?
Jason: Na, na.
Maggie: Where do you get these ideas? From now on I am gonna have to keep a much closer
eye on your friends, your TV viewing habits, your record albums, and maybe I'll even monitor
a phone call or two. Ben, you've had too much freedom, and it's coming to a halt.
Ben: Is Dad coming in soon?
Maggie: No, Ben, I am handling this, not your father.
Ben: Yes, ma'am. And I was just telling Stinky how you're so understanding and your so much
better than Dad is.
Maggie: Don't try to con me... Really? No, no, Ben, getting an earring is just not something
I'm gonna allow you to do.
Ben: But you have your ears pearled, right?
Maggie: Yes, I do.
Ben: And so does Carol, right?
Ben: So, this is sexism.
Ben: Yeah, it means making a decision...
Maggie: I know what it means, Ben. Nice try, but ah ah!
Ben: Well can I at least go down to the mall and tell Stinky, I'm not allowed.
Maggie: Stinky's already there!
Ben: Yeah, he's waiting for me in women's underwear.
Maggie: Fine, go tell him. But he'll be the first friend you won't be hanging around with any
Maggie: Women's underwear! I guess I should be glad he only wanted an earring.
Jason: So, how'd it go?
Maggie: Fine, it went just fine.
Jason: Oh, good, good.
Maggie: And you know exactly how it went, because you were eavesdropping on the stair.
Jason: Eavesdropping! Oh, Maggie, I have... I might have accidentally overheard a sentence
or two, but I wouldn't say it was eavesdropping.
Maggie: Right! So, go ahead.
Jason: Go ahead, what?
Maggie: Tell me how you would have handled it differently and far more effectively.
Jason: Well, since you asked, actually...hell, I would have handled it exactly the same as you
Jason: Absolutely...you know, pretty much.
Maggie: Pretty much!
Jason: Yeah. Well, I Mike:...might have...well just err...taken a slightly more different
Maggie: Like err...what?
Jason: Well, I think...
Maggie: No Jason, I don't even wanna hear it. I am fully capable of dealing with things like
this...as I did for years before I went to work and as I just did again.
Jason: Being sensitive to your needs here, Maggie, I recognize that you want to get back into
that day-to-day parenting mode, without me, over your shoulder, second guessing you all the
time. Even though...you know, not all the things you do are...quite right.
Maggie: I see.
Jason: I don't mean that they're wrong, either Maggie, just err...
Maggie: Ah ha.
Jason: Boy, something smells good around here!
Maggie: Oh! I can't imagine why, I haven't started dinner yet.
Jason: No, that's my point; imagine how good it's gonna smell when you do.
Maggie: So, Stinky's not there either. Aha, well when Ben shows up, please send him home,
he was due back an hour ago. Yes, thank you Mrs. Sullivan. Don't say it.
Jason: What? I wasn't gonna say a word about how this is the first time I can remember Ben
being late for a meal.
Mike: Oh, Mom, I am starved, when’s dinner?
Maggie: After Ben gets home and I check his ears for holes, which I better not find, or he will
rue the day he was born.
Mike: Well can I get something to go? I'll wait. Hey, Dad, why are you smiling?
Jason: No, n...n...no I'm not smiling. I'm not. Yes, I'm smiling but it's just the love that I have
for all of you bubbling out.
Carol: Hi! Sorry I'm late for dinner.
Mike: You're not. Mom and Dad are fighting.
Jason and Maggie: We are not.
Maggie: Carol, sit, we'll eat as soon as Ben gets back.
Carol: Back from where?
Mike: From not getting an earring.
Carol: An earring. Well Dad, I assume you nipped that in the bud.
Maggie: No, he didn't, I did. Not your father, me; the woman who bore you after eighteen
hours of labour.
Carol: Sorry, I just assumed that Dad jumped in and took over like he always does.
Jason: I certainly did not.
Mike: Yeah, Dad is just backing off, so that Mom doesn't feel like a failure.
Mike: Hey, I didn't say it, you did.
Jason: Maggie, who are you gonna believe, your husband or this no account son?
Maggie: Go on, Mike.
Mike: Well, err...I just...ow!! All I know is that Dad is not whipped.
Carol: Well it's about time Dad backed off and let you handle some everyday kid problems.
Maggie: And this from our smartest child.
Carol: Well if Dad had backed off when Mike was Ben's age, maybe he wouldn't have grown
into the disgusting scuzz-ball he is today.
Mike: Alright, look, until I was fourteen years old, it was Mom who was at home with me, so if
anyone's responsible for me being a scuzz-ball it's this woman.
Carol: Errm...Mom, maybe you should let Dad handle this.
Jason: And this from our smartest child.
Mike: Why don't we just ask our most loveable child what they think of this whole earring deal,
Carol: I already told them.
Mike: I'm talking about me, Carol, and I just happen to agree with Mom to crush Ben like a
little bug, like he is.
Maggie: Why thank you, Mike.
Mike: Yeah, especially after what happened to Carol when she got her ears pearled.
Mike: Oh, come on, don't you remember, Carol, when they made that little hole, the smell that
came out cleared the whole department store.
Ben: Hey everybody, sorry I'm late.
Maggie: OK Ben, inspection time. Ears please.
Ben: Just a joke, Mom.
Maggie: Well, it wasn't funny. No holes, good.
Ben: Mom, I told you I wouldn't get an earring so I didn't.
Maggie: Oh, good boy, go wash up for dinner.
Ben: Instead, I got a tattoo.
Maggie: A tattoo, a tattoo, you got a tattoo!
Ben: But it says, mother.
Maggie: I don't care what it says, Ben. Do you realise for the rest of your life you'll be walking
around with my name on your arm?
Ben: Well, we could add an S, and it would say, smother.
Maggie: Oh. Don't tempt me, Ben. How could you do this to your body? Do you realise that
when I was pregnant with you, I walked around for nine months and didn't have a single cup
of coffee so that your body would be perfect. Now look at you, I could have gone to Columbia
and sucked beans off trees.
Ben: You never said I couldn't get a tattoo.
Maggie: OK, fine, fine. Then let's go over all the other possibilities. You not stick Knives up you
nose, you may not gargle with razor blades, you may not drink water directly out of the toilet.
Ben: So, Mom, are you saying that this tattoo is a lot worse than a little hole in my ear?
Maggie: I'm saying it means no more short-sleeved shirts, ever.
Mike: Why don't you go up there and straighten this thing out?
Jason: No, no, that wouldn't be fair to your mother.
Maggie: Ben, I am starting to get angry.
Mike: Well, don't you think she's a little nuts over some tattoo that just washes off.
Mike: You think that maybe she doesn't know that it's a fake?
Jason: Hey Mike, it's not my place to second guess what your mother does or doesn't know
about these matters.
Mike: Oh, come on Dad, somebody's got to tell her that Ben's just trying to freak her out with
this tattoo, so that an earring would be a relief.
Jason: Hey, wait, wait, wait. Don't you go anywhere.
Mike: Dad, if this keeps up, she's gonna throw him out the window!
Jason: He's young, he'll bounce. Come on, your mom's gotta figure this out on her own, she
needs the validation.
Mike: Yeah, but... Oh, I get it; you're just getting even.
Jason: Yeah. No, no, what do you mean getting even?
Mike: You know, I mean, Mom wanted to handle this, so you're just gonna let her blow it. And
then you're gonna jump in with the right answer. You know sometimes I forget what a crafty
dude you are.
Jason: I am not. OK, I was tempted to handle Ben, and if I was to have done it, it would have
turned out a lot different.
Mike: Yeah? Like how?
Jason: Well, like...I would have told Ben, you wanna get your ear pearled, get your ear
pearled, that's OK with me.
Jason: Yeah, but in like two months, like eight weeks go by, and Ben forgets about getting his
ear pearled and then he moves on to another goofy thing he wants to do.
Mike: Well, what if he doesn't forget?
Jason: We give him a choice. You say, alright, you can get your ears pierced or take driver's
Mike: Oh, you're good. Hey, wait a minute, you made me choose driver's ed over spring break
in Fort Lauderdale with Eddie and Boner.
Jason: Yeah, yeah, yep, yep.
Ben: Come on Mom, let me show you something about my tattoo.
Maggie: What, you can make it dance?
Jason: And I guarantee that if I were handling this thing right now, he wouldn't up there
running those mind games on your mother over this phony tattoo...but she told me to butt out,
and butt out I will...till she comes to me, begging for help.
Mike: So you're not just getting even?
Jason: Haven't you heard a word I've said?
Maggie: And you'll stay in this room, young man, until I tell you to come out.
Ben: Mom, there's something you should know about my tattoo.
Maggie: Roseanne Bar has one, you mention it.
Carol: Mom, I just want you to...
Maggie: Carol, please, I don't need any more advice right now, please.
Carol: But Mom, I see your strategy here and I just want to tell you, woman-to-woman, I
think it's brilliant.
Maggie: Pardon me.
Carol: You're gonna have the last laugh on Dad.
Maggie: What are you talking about?
Carol: He's down there with Mike, just waiting for you to blow it.
Maggie: He is!
Carol: He actually thinks that you're foolish enough to believe Ben's tattoo is real.
Maggie: He does.
Carol: Now I see where Ben gets his gullibility.
Maggie: Yeah, well, I...
Carol: So, what's next?
Maggie: Well, I...
Carol: Of course, you let the weasel stew in his own juices until he admits what he was trying
Maggie: Carol, there is never an excuse for calling your father a weasel.
Carol: I meant Ben.
Maggie: Oh, well right, I can see Carol, that you're on to my plan.
Carol: Men, who needs 'em.
Ben: Mom, there’s something I wanna tell you...
Maggie: Let me guess. That that tattoo washes off.
Ben: You knew that!
Maggie: Of course I did.
Maggie: Didn't you expect me to be that smart?
Ben: No. Well it's not like I'm dealing with Dad here... Err, not that you're that dumb.
Err...Mom, the devil has taken control of my mouth and is making me say things I'll regret.
Maggie: Admit it Ben, you probably figured I'd be so glad you didn't get a real tattoo, I'd give
in on the earring.
Ben: Yeah, that was my pathetic, pointless hope. Did it work?
Maggie: Oh Ben.
Jason: So, quite an evening.
Jason: Yeah, earrings and tattoos and yelling...boy oh boy.
Jason: Yep, I guess everything went pretty well with you and Ben.
Jason: Ya, well I'm sure you did just great.
Maggie: Are you?
Jason: Of course I am.
Maggie: And that's why you're doing this.
Jason: Doing what?
Maggie: Pumping me.
Jason: I'm not pumping you.
Maggie: I happen to know when I'm being pumped.
Jason: Well, err...maybe I'm a little bit curious about exactly what happened between you and
Maggie: Why? You think maybe I didn't handle it well.
Jason: I mean, yes, you handled it no, you handled it well...that just I'm wondering, you know,
exactly...you know, how?
Maggie: Jason, is it too much to expect you to trust me to handle a little thing like this?
Jason: Well, is it too much for me to ask you exactly what was said?
Maggie: No, no, no, it's just the reason why you're asking. I mean you were dying to jump in
to tell me what to do, and now you're dying to know what I did so that you can see that I
didn't blow it.
Jason: Oh, come on honey, now that's not true. You know, it's just that all those years that
you worked, well this was my job, and I kind of miss it. And I have every confidence that you
just dealt with it great.
Maggie: Good. Good night.
Jason: Bet I can even tell you what you did.
Jason: Yep. I bet you punished Ben for that whole tattoo scam and then you hung tough on
your decision for no earring, right?
Maggie: Oh, Jason, if I tell you what I did, do you promise not to criticize, do you promise not
to second guess?
Jason: Word of honour.
Maggie: OK, I didn't punish Ben for his fake tattoo thing.
Jason: Oh, Maggie!!!
Maggie: Jason, you promised. And I told him that if it was really important to him that he
could have his earring.
Jason: No, come on Maggie.
Maggie: Jason I...
Jason: No, I was going like this.
Mike: Oy Dad, Dad, what did Ben get?
Jason: Mike, this doesn't concern you.
Mike: Oh, come on, Dad, what did Mom give him? One month, two months, no allowance?
Jason: Well let's just say that the size of the punishment was unexpected.
Mike: Oh, he got no punishment at all!
Jason: You got it.
Mike: Oh, don't tell me he's gonna get his stinking earring.
Jason: That's what I hear.
Mike: And you're still not gonna say anything?
Mike: Look, Dad, you want me to put in a word to Mom for you?
Jason: Mike, this was your mother's call; she made it, that settles it.
Mike: Well, it sure gives me second thoughts about ever getting married.
Jason: Good, go with that.
Mike: Good morning Mom, oh and don't worry, we weren't talking about how you muffed the
Ben deal. Ooh, is that my phone ringing?
Maggie: I don't hear anything.
Mike: Well, why take a chance?
Maggie: Feel like some eggs?
Jason: Sure, and go ahead, cook 'em any way want to, I won't second guess you.
Maggie: Jason, are you still upset about last night?
Jason: Oh, nope, nope, nope, nope. Who am I to interfere? Only the boy's father.
Maggie: Honey, have I been unfair about this?
Jason: Well, yes.
Maggie: Ooh, Chrissy, you need a change.
Jason: Then when you come back we are gonna talk about this because I have had it up to
here with this validation, self-worth...
Ben: Hi Dad.
Jason: Hi Ben, hey. Ben, this earring decision is far from final.
Jason: Yes, your mother and I will discuss it, and I guarantee you, the ending will be far
Ben: Really? Then I'm not grounded! Oh, this is great, I gotta call Stinky and tell him I don't
have to wait two months to get my ear pearled.
Jason: What? Hey, hey, hey!
Maggie: You want Ben to get his ear pearled now?
Jason: Oh, I don't know what I told him Maggie... Wait a minute, isn't that what you told him?
Maggie: No, I told him he had to wait two months and then see if he really wanted it.
Jason: Well you didn't mention that last night!
Maggie: Well with all the clapping it must have slipped my mind.
Carol: Did, I hear the little rat-face right? Dad put his two Cents in and messed everything up.
Jason: Carol, basically...yes.
Maggie: Carol, go tell Ben that my original punishment still stands.
Carol: Gladly, and if he resists, I'll slap him around.
Jason: You were playing with me.
Maggie: God help me, I was.
Maggie: Oh, Jason, it's important that you trust me, I mean totally trust me to deal with the
kids now that you're gone during the day.
Jason: Honey, I do trust you.
Maggie: Sure, now.
Jason: It was still a dirty trick.
Maggie: Thank you. Honey, believe me, I know what you're going through. You were here with
them all day every day and all of a sudden you're out there working and you're not here to
deal with every problem.
Jason: And I know what you're going through, three o' clock in the afternoon and all hell
breaks loose, and yours is the only voice of reason, and you're not even sure about that.
Maggie: So, we do understand each other.
Jason: We always have. You know that I could point out that the way you ended up handling
Ben is exactly the way I would have done it.
Maggie: You could, but you won't, right?
Jason: Right. I could point out that two parents, parenting as parents is what parenting is all
about, Maggie. I could point out that with my training and experience with child-rearing, it's
a very valuable tool in guiding our kids on the guide of life. I could point out all of that Maggie,
but I won't...and that's why I won't.