Notice an ad for a live theater production aimed at children.
Feel immediate guilt. You don’t do cultural stuff like this nearly as much as you should and your children need to, like, get intellectualized and stuff. Also, what else are you going to do on a Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.?
Visit the show’s website. Read testimonials from parents about how amaze balls the production was. Doubt that little Connor instantly became a math prodigy after watching dinosaur puppets, but still reckon the show might kill a few hours.
Click on the “Buy Tickets” button.
Recover from aneurysm induced by ticket prices and scroll down, looking for seats that won’t cost the equivalent of a new set of tires.
Discover that the only somewhat affordable seats will place you in the back of the highest balcony or so far to the left or right of the stage you will have an obstructed view. Ponder if your children will even notice.
Feel immediate guilt and scroll back up until you find a happy medium. Back row of the orchestra section is perfectly acceptable.
Click on tickets. When the computer asks if you want to donate money so an underprivileged child can go see the production automatically click on “Yes.” Wonder if there’s any way you could actually take the underprivileged child yourself, since you can already tell by the fact you are spending so much money that your children will hate the show.
Recover from second aneurysm induced by final total. Taxes and “occupancy fees” — whatever the hell those are — have added an extra $50. Wonder if it’s worth it.
Feel immediate guilt. You caught your youngest trying to stick a pencil in the cat’s ear the other day. You need to get these kids some culture, stat.
Buy the tickets.
Feel immediate guilt for spending so much money.
Tell your spouse about the event but do it in code so the children don’t pick up on it. Children are programmed to think everything is about to start five minutes after they learn about it, so if you mention it now they will lose their s—t and ask you every hour when the show starts. Even if you say “Next April,” they will persist.
The day of the event, 10 minutes before you are scheduled to leave, tell your children about the show. Your children will announce they don’t want to go, no matter how well you play up the event in question. (“It features live dinosaurs!” “I hate dinosaurs.” “You love them.” “I’d rather just stay here.” “And do what?” “Roll around on this exercise ball.” “It’s LIVE motherf—king dinosaurs!”)
Force march everyone to the car and then into the theater.
Look around the audience and wonder where the underprivileged kids are. These children all look distinctly privileged (yours included). Note that some of the little girls are wearing outfits that cost more than your monthly car payment.
Explain to the children why you aren’t sitting closer to the stage.
Enjoy the first 10 minutes of the show, when the puppeteers bring out baby dinosaurs. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Explain to your children that, even though they have raised their hands whenever the narrator asks for volunteers, it doesn’t mean they will get the chance to go onstage.
Comfort your children when a giant prehistoric dragonfly puppet gets too close to them.
Point out the legs of the puppeteer moving the triceratops that just lumbered onstage, because it is kinda big and your kids are starting to lose their s—t.
Clutch your screaming, sobbing children and escort them to the exit when the giant T-Rex puppet crashes through the scenery and roars at the crowd, prompting roughly half of the audience to erupt in terrified tears and more than a few patrons to soil themselves.
Wonder how the show’s producers sleep at night knowing that they have literally scared the crap out of a bunch of toddlers.
Vow not to try another trip to the theater for a long time.
Smack your forehead when your son spies a poster in the lobby for the theater’s upcoming double bill Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci and asks, “Can we go see this?”
Remind him that he called your Gilbert and Sullivan CDs “garbage” and explain that real opera is a million times worse.
Feel immediate guilt for dissing opera.
Go home and let your children roll around on an exercise ball.