REEDSBURG, WI—Working-class father of four and veteran alcoholic James Schultz, 53, expressed deep disappointment Monday in his 19-year-old son Travis, for "turning into a goddamn pothead" after moving away from home to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"After the hard work I put in at the screen-door factory all these years, this is how he rewards me?" Schultz said during a 1:30 a.m. statement held at Captain Pete's Bar and Grill. "That boy should be working for a living, like his old man, instead of smoking weed and doing God knows what with a bunch of liberal lowlifes."
Schultz punctuated the impromptu speech by finishing off the last of his drink and ordering another from bartender and friend Al Zandek.
Members of the family said Schultz and his son fought over Travis' illegal-drug use Sunday, after Schultz found a small bag of marijuana while rifling through the boy's pockets for beer money.
The elder Schultz confronted his son at the dinner table that night.
"He slurred his way through a half-coherent lecture on the dangers of addiction, shouting in my face about what a disappointment I was to the family," Travis said.
Travis said Schultz continued his drunken anti-drug tirade well into the night, eventually lumbering out the door, presumably to go to Captain Pete's.
When asked to comment on the face-off, Schultz's wife Ellen said that, while it is true that her son has been bringing a lot of funny ideas home, she didn't think college was "turning him into a druggie."
"So he tried pot—a lot of young kids these days do things they later regret," said Ellen, 51. "Everybody has regrets about decisions they made when they were young."
Ellen defended her husband, as well.
"James only gets like that because he loves Travis," she said. "He's a very sensitive man. A lot of people don't realize that. They only see the temper. It's certainly nothing to call social services about, like [neighbor] Dianne Klosterbaum did last year. It's just the way James is when he's letting off steam."
Safely amongst his drinking buddies at the bar, Schultz continued outlining his disappointment in Travis.
"I wish he'd just sit down over some beers with me and talk this through," Schultz said. "But there's no talking sense to a dope addict."
According to drinking companion Doug Blaine, Schultz keeps his feelings to himself, except when he's "half in the bag."
"He'd never let on, but he's got a lot of pressures on him, what with his second mortgage, his liver troubles, and his court date coming up," Blaine said. "He's real closed off, but sometimes, late at night around last call, he'll start to let you in a little. And it's clear that pothead kid of his is breaking his heart."
"Why anybody would want to smoke pot is beyond me," Blaine added. "Doesn't that kid know that stuff is going to rot his brain?"
At 3 a.m., Schultz used his last quarter to call home and wake up Ellen for a ride, explaining that he's already gotten picked up for two DUIs.
"Who's going to drive my wife to work in the morning so we can pay some bills?" Schultz asked. "That stoner son of mine? I don't think so."