Tag Archives: adolescence

This Song was made for You and Me

28 Nov

Have you any idea how depressing it is when The Boy asks if the recording artists to whom I listen are still alive?

As in: “Is Tom Petty still alive?”  (Although The Boy really only likes “American Girl.”  He, too, was raised on promises.)

“What about Bob Dylan?  Is he still alive?  And, hey- weren’t you at that Bob Dylan tribute concert in the 1990’s?  The one where George Harrison and Eric Clapton played at Madison Square Garden?  Are they still alive?  And how old are they now?  And how old are you?”

If you hang out with your kid long enough, eventually you will round a musical corner together into “The Dead Zone”- that random shuffle where the iPod serves up a bunch of great music by artists who are no longer living: Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Cash, Sid Vicious, Patsy Cline, a Beastie Boy for crying out loud- whereupon The Boy begins to understand why he sometimes has difficulty relating to his peers.

Even though I am just as wonderful now as I was then, my music may, in some circles, be perceived as retro, vintage or… old.  Even worse- old and bad.   (Although “White Castle fries only come in one size” is an eternal truth wrapped in an awesome riff.  And it rhymes.)

And maybe I have done The Boy a disservice by refusing to allow “kid’s music” to be played during his formative years.  No Wiggles or Barney or Disney soundtracks here.  (Disclaimer: “Bare Necessities” from Disney’s Jungle Book is not only an awesome song, it is a manifesto for life.  Besides being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, this track has been covered by Los Lobos, Brian Wilson and Louis Armstrong all of whom can be found on my iPod and only one of whom is deceased.)  Ironic that I once contemplated becoming a paw paw farmer.

As disservices go, I confess that I also fed The Boy mashed potatoes with truffle oil as one of his first solid foods.  So that pretty much rules out cafeteria bonding among classmates.

On the other hand, I am an expert at being me and at being me raising a kid in this moment.  (In the movie of my life, I am portrayed by Jenna Elfman and The Boy is a chocolate Lab.)  Anything else is as false as Rascal Flatts playing “country.”

Which brings us to my favorite musical category (yes; we’ve been heading somewhere all along): The “I’m Not Sure” Selections.  In music as in life: I don’t know.

Here is where we find Neil Young, Dr. John, BB King, Buddy Guy and the like.  “Are they still alive?”  I don’t know.

They ought to be.  They ought to live forever.  But I don’t make the rules- I barely follow them; it’s a daily struggle to hide my disdain for them.  But if I did make the rules, know this: David Crosby would totally have to fork over an organ, any organ, should Neil Young ever need one.

Listen Boy, not that this helps and I know you didn’t ask, but I have also had difficulty with relationships.  Mostly because there’s the outside- which is chronological age, height, weight, growth, etc. and there’s the inside.  Some days I feel 100 years old and other days I feel more like 5.  Such a range makes “peer” a tough word to define.  (Hint: at any age, a peanut butter sandwich and a nap will make everything better.)

And remember this: never, ever, do I appear older than 29.

My Long Beach Island Vacation

30 Aug

Staying with family is a great way to save money on a hotel room and a quick route to Regressionland- make a left at the corner of “I’m not getting back in the car to drive over and see your new kitchen; you haven’t been to my house in twelve years” then a right at “it’s probably not a good idea to put sugar on the baby’s broccoli” and there you are: the teenage middle kid trying to keep quiet and go unnoticed.  P.S: nothing I say matters anyway, so why even bother?

And while on the subject of adolescence, nothing is more scary than watching The Boy’s moods shift with the tides.  It’s “Goodfellas” and “Sponge Bob Square Pants” rolled into one gritty peanut butter sandwich (“this has sand in it”) washed down with paper cupfuls of lukewarm Vitaminwater.

So when remaining silent was no longer an option and I asked The Boy why he hated having to hang out with me and he responded that he, in fact, “does not hate me right now,” I felt that the six hours of driving and the never-ending schlepping of beach toys and coolers was well worth it.  The constant flow of money (in one direction) is simply the price you pay for truth.

Speaking of truth, here’s a tip: when your wife asks you to tug on that part of her swimsuit that she can’t quite reach, don’t yell “Hoist!”.  It makes her feel self-conscious which results in her sitting on the beach desperately flipping through damp, hand-me-down Oprah magazines in an attempt to overcome self-consciousness (and become a better friend) while completely forgoing all thoughts of swimming which, to me, is the primary reason for vacationing at the ocean.

Otherwise why not just put a sandbox in the backyard, download a “crashing wave” app and sleep on our own scratchy, low thread-count sheets?

Question: why is it always too late to realize that the people who I went away with are the people I need to get away from?

And why didn’t anyone tell me that Priceline has rooms at LBI starting at $119?  My relationship with my family could have remained dysfunctional, but well-intentioned, and I wouldn’t be sitting here now wondering if we are still invited for Thanksgiving.

Assuming that The Boy doesn’t hate Pilgrims by then either.

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