Screaming KidI was at an Olive Garden one night having dinner with my wife. We don’t go to Olive Garden very often because we consider the restaurant to be somewhat of a treat. We only go on special occasions when we feel we deserve the Olive Garden-type food. Imagine our horror as we were seated next to a family with a very angry kid.

It seemed like every minute the kid would scream at the top of his lungs in anger. His scream made my ears pulsate as if they were wanting to implode in order to block off the evil shriek. The pressure inside my head was so great with each scream that I grimaced in the same way I react when someone runs their nails across a chalkboard or plays with a bunch of styrofoam.

The family eventually left, taking the evil heathen with them. I did not say anything to the family to voice my disgust over the kid’s behavior, but I did give the parents and kid a few dirty looks.

Unfortunately, my encounter with the noisy kid is an all-too-common experience for many people. According to an article on MSNBC (No brats allowed!), many establishments are setting firm rules on the behavior of children. I suppose the logical argument would be, “If parents refuse to control their kids, we will.”

One of the statements in the article was that North Carolina started an online petition to establish child-free restaurants. The petition loosely compared noisy kids with unwanted cigarette smoke. I wish to expand on the cigarette smoke analogy and not give it the “loose” treatment.

Cigarettes used to be okay for people to smoke on airplanes, in restaurants, hotels, airports, government buildings, and a variety of other venues without a second thought of violating some kind of law or ordinance. Currently, smoking in many places is either against the law (or banned) due to various health concerns and customer inconvenience. My question is, would smoking be against the law had the smokers respected the rights of the non-smoker? I can only theorize, but I bet if smokers kept their second-hand smoke out of the lungs of the non-smokers to begin with, there would be no need for smoking legislation.

I’m not trying to compare kids to second hand smoke. I’m comparing the behavior of smokers and noisy kids in regards to their environment. There are places where it is generally accepted to smoke, e.g., bars, clubs, and pool halls. Likewise, there are places where kids are expected to be loud and obnoxious such as daycare, playgrounds, and parks. Just as the general public slowly grew intolerant towards cigarette smoke, the public may becoming intolerant towards noisy kids.

Granted, noisy kids are not toxic like cigarette smoke. No noisy kid is ever going to give someone lung cancer. The bigger point here is that when certain groups of people are inconsiderate of their environment, the public fights back (e.g., cell phone users).

Just like smokers, noisy kids belong in certain places. One of those places is not at an Olive Garden during dinnertime (especially my dinnertime).

That’s my 500 Words.