A Slightly Skewed Look At Life By And For Those Of Us On The North Side Of 50

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As any parent of a teenager knows, (and for those of you who haven’t had the mind-bogglingly-insane-experience-of-dealing-with-hormonal-rage-and-emotional-overload-after-asking-your-daughter-if-she-wouldn’t-mind-cleaning-her-room – sorry! Didn’t mean to type that out loud….)

RE-START HERE: For those of you who haven’t experienced the bliss and joy of sharing your teenage daughter’s blossomingness into a young woman (that’s what I meant to say; I’m such a kidder!), you are well-acquainted with the phenomena of the various conversation styles employed by teens.

Usually, there’s just one for daughters: Words fly out of the average young female’s mouth at upwards of eight hundred and ninety miles per hour, scorching everything in their paths which have not been properly calibrated to those same high-pitched, Saturn-rocket like velocities. Most parents, however, are now biologically incapable of understanding anything more than every forty-second word in any conversation involving their teenagers. (Adults suffer from greatly diminished hearing as a result of years of listening to music their parents labeled as “noisy trash,” unlike the ear-bleeding noisy trash our kids listen to now. That doesn’t help … although, okay … truthfully, our hearing deficiencies are a huge benefit.)

But by the time we’ve figured out both the first and forty-second words of those conversations, approximately seventy-eight other topics have been covered in between, so at that point understanding what our daughters are talking about becomes a monumental waste of time in any event. This leads to the familiar refrain: “you don’t understand!” We take that literally. We don’t understand! (This is by design.)

Sometimes we do, however. Sadly, sometimes we do.

On one especially noteworthy teenager-related occasion (among the 2,357,892 total noteworthy ones; the Are You F**king Kidding Me occasions are a separate category, with nearly three hundred and eighty sub-categories) I picked up my lovely step-daughter and one of her legion of equally boisterous and astonishingly chatty female friends. Trapped in the car with them, I had little choice but to listen. It’s another consequence of parenthood which I very, very slowly came to terms with.

Danica’s friend (who, for obvious reasons, will not be named), slowed her speech down to a pace just south of warp speed long enough for me to understand that she had just purchased a fabulous outfit at one of the sixteen local malls within four hundred feet of her home. Amanda (Oops!) then announced that she planned to wear this new ensemble for a specific school event on Tuesday.

With all due seriousness, Amanda (Oops, again!) then proceeded to inform Danica that she would instead be wearing the outfit on Monday, “in case I forget to wear it on Tuesday.” (Absolutely true!)

Swiftly regaining control of my car, I pondered the meaning and intent of those words. But my head began to hurt, my eyebrows detached, and I tore a large gash across my forehead as I scrunched up all of my facial equipment in a useless attempt to focus and then understand that comment. So … I abandoned that plan and then started thinking of how to apply that same (or reasonably close) line of logic (ha, ha, “logic” that’s a good one!) here in Adult Sane Land.

“Boss, I know I had an important presentation to make this morning, but I was afraid I would forget to prepare for it, so I didn’t bother doing any of the work. But I shot an 81 yesterday, and I birdied my first par five ever!”

“Sorry, honey, I would have picked you up at the airport on Wednesday night, but I was afraid I might forget, so I took another woman home with me Tuesday evening.” (By the way, that conversation so totally does NOT end well.)

“Son, I know that money was for college, but I was afraid I would forget to send it in, so I spent it yesterday. P.S. Convertibles are so cool! Total chick magnets!” (You assume I would know what to do were I a chick magnet. You assume incorrectly. I’ve been a repellant, which I believe represents a different scientific characteristic.)

I’m not so sure that we want to encourage that kind of thinking (which is quite difficult to do in any event until the fourteenth or fifteenth beer). The fear is that teens may use this same logic for even more worrisome things. I can just hear that tiny bowling-alley-lane sound of all three brain cells rolling together to formulate a rational thought (I kill me! “Rational thought” and teens in the same paragraph. That’s a good one. I have to write that down!)

“Dad, I know I was supposed to bring the car back home last night, but I was afraid I’d forget where I parked it, and so I-”