I try really hard not to feel hatred towards people. But if there is a group of individuals that feels the full force of my animosity, it is the people that throw judgmental stares at parents whose kids are melting down in public. They are the worst. They have no compassion whatsoever. Not even Donald Trump bothers me as much because he's just a cartoon character that sometimes clogs up my Twitter feed (this will all change, of course, if he is somehow elected president). But the Judgment Starers are, in the moment of their judgmental stare, horrible people.
For example, I had a tantrum on my hand in Target. It was somewhere between a Category 3 and 4. I had to physically carry a loudly crying child across the store while pushing a cart and then wait in the only open checkout line while my son was using his feet to kick-walk up my chest in an attempt to escape. It wasn't a pleasant experience.
So while I'm waiting and trying to calm my kid down, this woman walks by about ten feet away. And not to be sexist, but the Judgment Starer is typically a woman in my experience. Maybe it's because I'm a dad and therefore she thinks that any female could do a better job. I also assume she's not a parent, because parents know. Regardless this lady makes sure to make eye contact with me and holds it as a disapproving eyebrow raises ever so slightly. That eyebrow is like a hook that hoists the rest of the face up into a sneer. It is a look of contempt. "If you were a better parent, this wouldn't be happening right now." Well, lady, if you were a decent human being you would not be shooting eye daggers at me during this fragile situation.
And the thing that bothers me about Judgment Starers is they don't know how much worse I could be making it. I'm not screaming at my child. I'm not concocting new obscenities on the spot. I'm not beating him. I'm not letting him just run off to live life as a Target hobo like he wanted to in that moment. I'm not buying him toys to appease him. I'm not throwing a tantrum. I'm not in the fetal position crying. Those are all things that I'm tempted to do, but I'm trying to keep him calm and firmly teach him a lesson. All in all, I'm doing a fairly awesome job in an absolute no-win situation. Judgment Starer Lady has no appreciation for that.
Which is why I hope that there will be some sort of divine retribution for Judgment Starers. I do not wish hell on them. I think it is quite un-Christian to wish hell upon anyone, but this is how I see the exchange with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates go down.
Peter: Let's see, Ms. Umbridge?
Ms. Umbridge: Yes.
Peter: Welcome to heaven. We're glad you're here. (consulting notebook) I notice here that while in your terrestrial form you frequently stared at parents disapprovingly when their children were throwing tantrums.
Ms. Umbridge: Well, I'm kind of surprised you're bringing this up, but I just think if they really knew how to raise children...
Peter: You don't need to explain yourself, Ms. Umbridge. You'll just need to carry this (hands Ms. Umbridge a screaming child) with you for your first five years up here.
Ms. Umbridge: (stammering in surprise) But...but...I can't...how do I get him to stop?
Peter: Oh, you can't. Ever.
Now you might be thinking, "Chris, wouldn't the presence of tantrum-throwing children make heaven a little less heaven-like?" Perhaps. And obviously, this retributive penalty would hit all of us and runs afoul of the entire grace idea. God knows what kind of five year penalty I'd get hit with. But I will tell you that, for many parents, seeing the Judgment Starers get their comeuppance via a meltdown-having child would sound like the angels singing.