Since it seems to me that the “Mike and the rollerskates” arc leads directly to his paying bribes to parking lot attendants, being the anal prick wasting hours that the barista will be begging for on her deathbed trying to get his order just right, getting steamrolled into buying Valentine’s gifts for everyone in his family and wondering why he and Deanna are sooooooooo poor, it behooves us to look at exactly how Elly’s parenting failed him so. We have to start off at Square One with why it is that weeding the back lawn for a mere three dollars is such a stupid idea:
- Michael is the seven- or eight-year old son of an upper-middle class twit who has been assigned a task he has no idea how to do and also has never had to work any more than half an hour or so at school if that.
- Despite what Elly might want to think, an hour is a very long time to a small child. She doesn’t seem to want to admit that small children perceive time as passing by much more slowly than she does because it isn’t convenient.
- Another failure on Elly’s part is her refusal to admit that he must be closely supervised. Again, being a responsible parent leaves her with noooooooo help and noooooooo to herself so he’s on his own.
- Since he’s only a few months shy of turning eight, she’s daydreaming in Technicolor if she thinks that he’ll be done in an hour. This time limit seems to be designed to have her angrily lecture an exhausted child about how ‘lazy’ he is.
- He’s only working towards a measly three bucks that he can only get if it’s done to Elly’s satisfaction. Given her inability to be satisfied with anything he might do because it isn’t exactly how she would do it, he can kiss those three clams farewell because he didn’t magically do it ‘perfectly’.
- The end result of his pathetic striving is that he only has twelve dollars saved up to buy the roller skates before he has to leave town and go to Exile Farm so his snotty little heifer of a cousin can call him stooooooopid because he doesn’t know how to do chores at a farm. This means that he’s forced to rent Gordon’s roller skates and be lectured about how disturbing his lack of trust is by a greedy little bastard who grows up to be a greedy BIG bastard of a used car salesman.
- Upon returning home and being told how he got rooked, Elly makes stupid-ass noise about how money just burns holes in his pockets. Having a nincompoop who could only count to twenty-two if she stripped naked lecture someone on financial responsibility is, to say the least, laughable. To say the most, it’s an exercise in hypocrisy.
- Elly gloms on to the money Mike saved up because she thought it was John’s.
- John comes in and tells Mike about new-to-him skates that he heard about from some kid who busted his leg
- Lizzie delivers the moral about how people have to rely on a deus ex machina to get anywhere in life.
The only way that this makes sense is that Elly set Mike up to fail. Well, it could also be that she’s a complete idiot mindlessly repeating the defective parenting techniques of her crazy-ass bitch of a mother but I like to think that Elly was trying desperately to keep Mike from getting what he wanted because she’d have to take care of him if he got hurt. The moral lesson of all of this is that Mike learned that working is an unproductive waste of time that is ultimately unnecessary because fate and faith make miracles happen to those who aren’t ambitious. Simply put, he doesn’t need no fancy mathematics or boring frugality because the Mighty Fist O’Ham will punch history and give him advances and Pattermanses.