RAPID CITY, SD—Saying that he always strives to set a strong example for his son to follow, local father Gary Dalton told reporters Tuesday that he has been carefully teaching his 9-year-old boy Zachary how to overreact with blind rage to completely irrelevant bullshit.
“Now that Zach’s getting older, it’s important for me to show him how to deal with the minor inconveniences in life by blowing them totally out of proportion,” said Dalton, noting that he frequently tries to demonstrate to his son the proper way to fly off the handle both at home and in public. “Zach should know that small, trivial irritations, like misplaced keys or having to relight the pilot light in the basement, should trigger an unbridled anger inside him. And that’s not something he can fully learn from his friends at school or by watching TV—he needs a father figure right there, blowing up in his face about never, ever messing with the DVR again for him to see exactly how it’s done.”
“It’s up to me as a parent to become unsettlingly irate over something as small as letting the screen door slam shut, so that Zach learns to never let even the most petty, negligible nuisance slide,” Dalton added. “He’s an observant kid and he really looks up to me, so I’m sure he’ll catch on quickly.”
In an effort to help guide his son’s development, Dalton explained that he consistently tries to embody the qualities of irritability, hostility, and bitterness in his daily life, emphasizing to his fourth-grade son the importance of letting his annoyance over an inconsequential matter develop into a lingering, biting resentment that makes others feel uncomfortable to be near him.
In addition, the 42-year-old market researcher said that he has been making a concerted effort of late to show his boy how to obsess over such ultimately trifling things as a driver going too slow in the left lane or a person who is slightly holding up a line, and to interpret these incidents as if they were significant, deliberate personal slights.
Dalton told reporters that he believes he’s made significant headway with his son in recent weeks. In particular, the local father cited several “very constructive” instances in which he demonstrated how to absolutely flip out when someone asks him to pull the car over to use the bathroom; when to pound his fist on a table and mutter the phrases “Goddammit” and “I don’t need this” in increasingly loud and aggressive tones; and the proper way to scowl, roll his eyes, and pantomime hurling his cell phone violently to the floor when his wife calls to tell him that something came up and he’ll have to drive the children to their soccer game.
“I always try to lead by example, but now, when some meaningless little thing doesn’t go Zach’s way, I’ll help guide him through the process of treating it as if it were the end of the world,” said Dalton, noting how his own father instructed him how to fly into a rage over barely anything at all when he was a child. “Just last weekend, when a waitress brought him the wrong item, I laid out the process of having a public meltdown step-by-step, showing him exactly how to get irrationally livid, how to clench his teeth and curse under his breath, and then how to belittle a stranger’s intelligence in a loud, confrontational scene that causes others to look over in shock and disgust. I think it really made a strong impression on him.”
The local father told reporters that he was particularly looking forward to an upcoming family camping trip, claiming that a single explosive outburst in such close quarters would “go a long way” toward helping his son understand how to generalize a small frustration into a broad, unrestrained sense of anger that simmers for days and effectively ruins the whole family’s entire weekend.
Dalton reported, however, that he feels he’s able to get through to his son most clearly when he and Zach spend time alone together.
“When it’s just me and Zach, I can really show him up-close how enraged he should become over the unimportant things in life,” said Dalton, highlighting recent instructive one-on-one interactions in which he lashed out at his son for talking during a TV show and for touching the thermostat. “My hope is that, one day, Zach will be able to show his own son how to completely freak out at the slightest provocation and then snap at his wife and children.”
“These are important life skills I’m passing down to Zach, which he’ll be able to use nearly every day as he gets older,” Dalton continued. “And I really look forward to watching him grow into the arbitrary, quick-to-anger man I know he’s capable of becoming.”