Tag Archives: White Castle

Don’t You Forget About Me

26 Sep

blog image breakfast club

Raising a teenager is hard.

Even if yours is kind, giving and even-tempered.  Mine is not.  But maybe yours is.  That’s why I said “yours.”  (Oh my, and don’t I just sound like a teenager right there myself?  All I need is to refer to myself with a lower case “i” and I am Ally Sheedy in “The Breakfast Club.”  Look it up, kids.  It’s a 1980’s classic where Judd Nelson, aged 45, portrays an 18-year-old.  Smoke up, Johnny.)

Any parent knows that prying information from a teenager is like trying to open a Diet Dr. Pepper without breaking a nail- nearly impossible yet so full of delight (and caffeine)- you must persist.  Get a pen cap or a dirty fork from the break room if you have to, but get that truth (and caffeine) out.

One of the best ways I have found to glean information from The Boy is by taking a nice, relaxing car ride where the possibility of eye contact is non-existent yet the probability for good music is high.

It was on one of these recent trips where The Boy, having been loosened up by listening to The Clash and then being comfortably lulled into spilling his guts by A Flock of Seagulls, (what can I say?  The 80’s were weird.  Like, David Hasselhoff weird) revealed that he “always thought that you,” meaning me, “would have become more.”

First of all, what 15-year-old has “always thought” anything?  As far as I know, kids don’t even think until they’re like, 6, and then it’s mostly caveman stuff like “fire hot,” “Judd Nelson overacts,” etc.

Now I’m not officially a child-rearing expert but I would imagine that the only thought a 15-year-old has always had is something like: “how is it possible for my dear mother to love me so much?”

Second: become “more” what?  Because if it’s more “me” he’s after, he’s about to get a dose of crazy the likes of which make Courtney Love look like Betty Crocker.  (Side note: Betty Crocker, along with White Castle, is featured in the 1986 Beastie Boys classic LP: “License to Ill.”  Are all of my references from the 1980’s?  Why would anyone do that?)  Oh, I can out-crazy the best of them.  Just tell me that we’re out of Nutella and see what happens.

Finally, I know that The Boy was complimenting me in there somewhere so I tried not to take it personally.  Given that he has forever felt this way and all.

I said I tried; I didn’t say that I succeeded.

So have I signed up for night classes since The Boy’s revelation?  Cracked open my knock-off “Josetta Bone” language CD’s and begun reinventing myself?

Nope.  Instead, I am practicing what all of my meditation studies suggest- doing less.  Because “less is more,” right?  (Examples include: having The Boy wash his own laundry, having The Boy schedule after school doctor/dentist/haircut appointments and having The Boy make dinner.)

PS: his cooking is good although it could use a little more.

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.

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