PITTSBURGH — 11-year-old indoor kid Tyler Zbrzeski reportedly wishes for the days before COVID-19 forced his gadabout parents to stay home, shattering his routine and turning his life into a nightmare of parental interference.
“I used to have the trendiest parents in town. They went to half-priced happy hours. They bullied their co-workers into cooking classes and escape rooms. One time they even went on a true crime walking tour, whatever that is,” said Zbrzeski, who used to peacefully spend his time doing homework, playing Final Fantasy XIV, or crafting Pokémon statuettes with his 3D printer. “I still yearn for those days. I didn’t know how good I had it.”
Thanks to a prolonged pandemic and his parents’ constant, almost pathological need to busy themselves with Instagrammable activities, Tyler’s favorite pastimes became a thing of the past.
“They’re like the Ghosts in Destiny,” Zbrzeski explained. “They’re always hovering nearby, saying something dumb when I’m trying to concentrate. ‘Hey, put down that Nintendo!’ They call everything a Nintendo. ‘Let’s take a family photo! Wouldn’t it be fun if we all dressed like Jamaicans with steel drums and dreadlocks?’ No, it would be stupid and offensive.”
Tyler’s father, Dave Zbrzeski, claimed that it “builds character” to spend time doing things you hate with your family.
“One day, that kid is going to look back on his life and really appreciate all the time I spent bothering him,” he said, compulsively rocking in his chair and tapping his foot during the brief moment he was sitting down. “That’s why I wait until he sits down with a snack to swing open his door and demand that he help me take apart my Jeep, piece-by-piece.”
Carrie Zbrzeski, Tyler’s mom, had a similar perspective on the matter.
“If he’s doing something quietly in his room, how do I know he’s not doing drugs? If he’s on microphone with a girl, I like to barge in and announce something embarrassing about his underwear or medication. This is a great way of reminding your son that you are still an important part of his life.”
Tyler, though not even in high school, has begun researching out-of-state colleges as a means of escape.
“In my darker moments, I tried to convince them that the pandemic was over and that they should go out partying,” Zbrzeski said. “I mean, if they’re stuck in a hospital bed they’d probably have to be strapped down, right?”
He later retracted his comment, admitting his parents would probably escape or demand that he play Celebrity with them via Zoom or something.