Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
So have you seen the video of the Indonesian 2-year-old who supposedly smokes two packs of cigarettes a day? If you haven’t, you should check it out on YouTube, as nearly a million other viewers already have. It’s freaking hilarious, in a perverse “wow, that kid is going to die of lung cancer by the age of 4” kind of way.
What? Oh, so now I’m a horrible person because I think a smoking 2-year-old is comical? Whatever. I may be a horrible person, but that’s not why. I’ve never given a kid a cigarette, and I’m not one of the grown-ups in the video hanging around the kid’s house so I can shoot footage of him blowing smoke rings instead of taking the cigarettes away from him. I’m just a guy who knows funny when he sees it.
Let me set the scene for those of you who haven’t watched the video yet: There’s this morbidly fat kid sitting on the porch of a dilapidated shack wearing a black leather jacket and a white tank top, and he’s pretending to strum a plastic guitar like some old Delta bluesman. He looks more like some organized-crime kingpin than a 2-year-old, and, as advertised, he’s expertly puffing away on a cigarette like he’s been doing it for decades.
The voice-over, in a pleasant British accent, tells us that the boy, Ardi Rizal, has become a tourist attraction in Indonesia for all the wrong reasons, and, indeed, there are dozens of people lingering around the shack so they can watch him do his thing.
Ardi’s father apparently introduced his son to smoking when Ardi was about 18 months old, and he doesn’t see why it’s such a big deal. “He looks pretty healthy to me,” said the clueless father. “I don’t see the problem.”
You don’t see the problem with a 2-year-old smoking 40 cigarettes a day? Really? Then you, sir, are an idiot of the first magnitude. Stevie Wonder could see that problem.
At least Ardi’s mother recognizes that maybe her son’s habit isn’t such a good idea. “He’s totally addicted,” she sobbed. Of course, that hasn’t actually prompted her to do anything about the situation.
You might think it would be easy for his parents to help Ardi kick his nicotine habit. I mean, he’s 2 years old, for crying out loud. If you don’t want him smoking cigarettes, don’t give him cigarettes. Seems pretty simple to me. If that doesn’t work, stop loaning him the keys to the car. The kid is so fat that he can’t walk more than a few feet. I doubt he could make it all the way to the store on his little plastic truck to buy more coffin nails.
It seems, though, that Ardi’s folks, as one might expect from a couple with such tremendous child-rearing skills, lack the will to help their son get over his addiction. Ardi’s mom defended her poor parenting by saying, “If he doesn’t get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick.”
Look, lady, 2-year-olds throw tantrums. Deal with it. I promise you that after three or four months in a methadone clinic, your son will be just fine. Hell, you could even just slap a couple of nicotine patches on the boy and he’ll be all right, as long as you STOP GIVING HIM CIGARETTES!
Even if they’re unconcerned about their son’s health, one might think that Ardi’s parents would have a problem with the $5 a day they’re spending on his habit. They live in a house – if a shack like theirs can be considered a house – that looks as if it probably cost them about five bucks. That means if they could keep Ardi from smoking for two days they could afford a house twice as nice as the one they currently live in.
This, however, is where Ardi’s story gets really stupid. His dad may just be stupid like a fox. It’s been reported that local officials in Ardi’s village have offered to buy the Rizal family a new car if they can get him to quit smoking.
Are you kidding me? That’s how you’re going to reward one of the worst parenting jobs in history? That’s ridiculous. I’m a bad parent. Buy me a motorcycle. In fact, I could really use a new car, too. Excuse me while I go to the store to get my 3-year-old some Marlboros.
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Aspen City Council’s recent actions are proof that you get what you pay for, argues Elizabeth Milias in her Red Ant column this week.