It was the annual family summer road trip. This year, the Copper family packed the car and headed to Yellowstone National Park. One the morning of day three, they stopped at a roadside greasy spoon rest stop for breakfast.
Their waitress, wearing a name tag with the name Doris and a yellow smiley face, set down cups of coffee in front of Mom and Dad.
Dad looked at Doris and asked, “Can you get me scissors, please?”
His children looked at each other suspiciously as Mom rolled her eyes.
A confused Doris returned a couple of minutes later and set scissors on the table. Dad stared at Doris until Russel broke the awkward silence.
“Why do you need scissors, Dad?” asked Russel.
“I wanted to cut off the lip of my coffee cup since I’m not using it,” replied Dad.
Mom looked away and silently laughed to herself.
His daughter Caroline sighed loudly. “What’re you talking about?”
“Doris only poured me half a cup, so I figure I didn’t need the rest,” explained Dad.
At this point Doris shook her head a walked away.
“Dad, that woman’s gonna spit in our food,” whispered Russel.
“What?” asked Dad. “I was just making a little joke.”
Doris returned with a coffee pot and carefully filled the cup to the very top. She had a coy smile as she poured.
“You insulted poor Doris,” exclaimed Caroline.
Doris chuckled. “Your dad’s just bein’ cheeky. Ain’t nuttin’ wrong with that. Just as long as you remember that in my tip.”
Dad faced his children’s disappointing glares.
“You’re so embarrassing,” lamented Caroline.
“Yeah. Why do you always have to do that?” added Russel.
“It’s our job as parents,” shrugged Dad.
“Seriously?” Caroline appealed to Mom.
Mom smiled. “You can’t mess with the order of things.”
“That’s not a thing,” said Russel.
“Sure it is,” said Dad. “My dad embarrassed me just as his father did before him. It’s our turn to embarrass you and one day, you’ll embarrass your own children. It’s the circle of parental privilege.”
Russel and Caroline looked at each other with expressions of incredulity mixed with despair.
“I’m not having children,” announced Caroline.
“Me neither,” added Russel.
Mom and Dad smiled at each other. “We’ll see,” they said.