Who’s the absolutist then, Dad?

Boss Stag and the would-be Stagmeister will just have to agree to disagree

“I ask does he want them laced “properly”, meaning the classic bar across. He is appalled. “No way, Dad, crossed, the way everybody does them . . . ”

Do I hate absolutists? Absolutely!

It started over Minecraft, moved on to how best to lace shoes, and, finally, we got caught up in the relative merits of Chinese food versus Indian.

Well, how one is shit and the other isn’t.

A father and son barney.


Hardly a typical recipe for a quarrel but, really, they can be about anything can’t they?

Me, the Boss Stag, challenged in my own habitat, and before I know it, my antlers are tingling. And so are those of the one who would be the Stagmeister.

So ridiculous when I think about it now; a couple of male bucks going head to head, circling around each other first (wondering is this really worth arguing about), a couple of fades and rattles to begin with.

Not much behind them but they start to sting a bit. You move in closer, the adrenaline is pumping now, heavier stuff starts being thrown, the antlers are banging now, voices are raised and inhibitions are lowered . . .

Back to where it began.

We were running a bit late on this particular Friday morning and the 12-year-old had showered and was drying his hair. As he does, he called up YouTube on the computer while he sat and blow-dried his long hair. Doing what loads of kids seem to do: watch other kids playing games online. He was watching a lad playing Fortnite.

I had recently read how one young, Irish YouTuber playing Minecraft had made over €700,000 from her subscribers. I started to tell him about this.

He cut me off: “Minecraft is finished.”

“Well it can hardly be finished if she has over a million people watching her videos, and she’s making all that money.”

“Dad, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Trust me, no one plays Minecraft now . . . “

“Maybe not kids your ages, but younger ones . . . ”

Maybe it was the way he was sat there, never even taking his eyes off the screen as he summarily dismissed what I was saying. Minecraft was dead, and that was it. And I didn’t know what I was talking about and should just stop digging.

We are now downstairs, having breakfast. He has a soccer match this evening. The boots are ready but the laces have been washed overnight. They are not quite dry, so I offer to have the boots laced for him for when he comes home.

Laced properly


So I ask does he want them laced “properly”, meaning the classic bar across.

He is appalled. “No way, Dad, crossed, the way everybody does them . . . ”

“Crossed? Sure that’s just the easy way to do it . . . ”

“It is not. Everyone does it. All the guys on the team . . . it’s way better.”

“What do you mean, way better? The other way is classic, crossing is just the simple way, the kids way . . . ”

“No it isn’t . . . it’s wa-a-a-y-yy better . . . Dad you don’t know what you’re talking about . . . ”

I’m a bit fed up with this certainty thing, this absolutism, and I admit my voice is raised. Not shouting. But definitely raised.

“Are you serious? The classic way looks way better, but it takes too long for you guys.”

“No it doesn’t . . . you haven’t got a clue, you’re so wrong, Dad.”

I hate absolutism on any side of an argument. And it sounds to my oversensitive ears that is exactly what is going on here. My opinion is not just wrong, I am stupid to even think I am right.

He continues . . . his voice raised now too. “It’s just the same as that time we said Chinese food was disgusting, and there you were (he’s imitating me now), ‘no, that’s only your opinion, Chinese food isn’t disgusting’.”

“But that’s my whole point. It’s one opinion. If Chinese food was actually disgusting, nobody would eat it, and there would be no Chinese takeaways.”

At this point sensible Mom intervenes and draws attention to the time. He’s got to get out the door. Stag number two is gone.

My wife has bought bread rolls and I am irked with her choice. Why did she get those Tesco baguette ones? "They're so doughy . . . bloody awful," I say to myself.

And then I laugh.

‘Awful, are they?’ says I to myself. ‘That’s just your opinion’.

Who’s the absolutist then, Dad?