“Monkey see, monkey do,” as the old saying goes, and when the Father and Mother Monkey smoke profusely and/or make fools out of themselves at Christmas Parties, it should come as no surprise when the little baboon-ettes develop a certain natural curiosity. Kids are finding the Devil’s Candy earlier and earlier these days, and it’s not just the toilets in the stalls of high school bathrooms that contain floating cigarette butts. And underage drinking has always been around, since about the time the first ape-human hybrid stepped on a fermented grape. Dangers are prevalent for both age groups, but for kids especially, death and lives full of the “wrong crowds” are inescapable (discounting Mormon households, of course).
When a kid does it, it’s healthy. When a dad does it, it’s creepy. When the two do it over the same girl, you have just encountered a dysfunctional father-son dynamic, and nothing particularly new or rare. Most dads fantasize about exactly that which they aren’t getting out of their own marriage (which may sometimes be youth...or someone they are attracted to). What comes to mind is the dad from American Beauty who decides to act out on his id’s every whim. Few men are so honest with themselves, however, repressing such thoughts with dire waves of guilt when their wives reenter their minds.
Have you ever been walking behind someone you thought was a strategically-dressed teenage girl (Ugg boots, plush jacket with fur-trimmed hood, yoga pants with the word “Juicy” on the rear, etc.) and then sped up to get a look at her face only to find crows feet and a leathery complexion? This is an epidemic sweeping the nation, and malls all over, in which moms facing mid-life crises look at their teenage daughter with envy. These very mom’s treat their daughters as role models, seeking fashion advice from someone endemically familiar with the youth culture trends. These very moms somehow raise their kids to be responsible adults, while at at the same time want more than anything to be BFFs. What a sad sight to see a mother and daughter gossiping in a food court about the cute guy who works at the Chick Filet.
It’s against the law for teenagers, but it’s perfectly okay for adults (sound familiar?), even though adults die just as easily (recall the case of Heidi Montag’s plastic surgeon, in which none of the king’s horses or men could put him together again). It should be equally illegal for any age group given the documented risk, especially when bans to talk on the phone and drive have been rallied for. Sure it’s tempting, when staring at an endless highway horizon is just so boring, but no one’s ever been angry at a cautious driver (although there is such thing as being overly cautious...ask anyone whose ever been stuck behind a senior citizen in blue blockers).
Because motherhood is naturally a sixteen-year-old occupation, high school kids get knocked up after too many dicey nights of poor decision-making. It’s a problem that swells like the stomach of each of these highly fertile teen moms, so much so that MTV has many a reality show devoted to the epidemic, and you even see film (Juno) and TV (The Secret Life of the American Teenager) plots accommodating the trend as a matter of modern fact. It used to be that a baby would end all hopes for a promising future; now baby mamas are finding their ways to college (even grad school) and even getting careers, thanks to such positive cultural reinforcement (and grandmas who babysit for free).
The economy is such that a fully actualized, educated adult has to compete with his own kids, or those of the same age, for a job which barely supports a kid’s movie theater and ice cream habits, let alone pays a mortgage. Seeing a full-grown man at a McDonald’s flipping burgers no longer stands for a life of poor choices. That fry cook could very well have a bachelor’s degree, in fact he probably does, seeing as how he needs to pay off those student loans somehow (although he is no more qualified than any of his other coworkers, unless, that is, you ask him about the philosophy of a potato).
If you’ve ever seen a “back to school” commercial in which a mother buys her elementary school-aged child a laptop as part of school shopping, you’ve seen precisely what is wrong with this country. Kids are spoiled, or at least over-anticipated; what kid learning about the times tables or Christopher Columbus for the first time could possibly need private internet access and a dual core processor? While sure, they may be typing their essays by that point in their middle school careers, but is letting junior just use the household computer on the rare occasion he actually needs it so unthinkable? There are only three things that come to mind why any kid actually would need to use any computer let alone his own: to talk with friends, play games, and...well, you can think of the third surely (hint: it requires the dismantling of any and all family filters).
If we had the power to defy stress, we’d be superhuman, but there does exist the ability to avoid exposure to circumstance that promote stress. For one thing, no kid, dependent on a household with a self-sustaining income should find himself stressed out by a job he doesn’t really need in the first place. A lot of overachieving high school kids juggle school, a job, a social life, and extra-curricular activities as if they live some jet-set metropolitan life with no room for rests and pauses. Any money saved is hardly enough to take a noticeable chunk out of future tuition costs (unless we’re talking community college), but is mostly a nice way to feel “rich” when you have no true bills to worry about. When it comes down to it, adolescence is a time reserved specifically for being young and making mistakes you hopefully learn from, not a time to acquire hyper-tension at an exceptionally early age.
There’s something horribly wrong with seeing a soccer mom blasting rap music from the windows of her mini-van. There’s something even more wrong with that rap CD not belonging to the daughter who had borrowed the van last night to loiter at a Dairy Queen. Parents try desperately to understand their kids, and in the process often become a casualty of the horrible music they listen to. Meanwhile some kids are shopping at record stores listening to the same records their dad grew up with, and a yin yang has been successfully created by the universe.
New friend request: it’s mom. Do you accept? The question is, who would want to give their mom an additional (and absolute) means to invade your privacy and listen in on swear-ridden conversations, the kind that might come of as appalling to anyone from a more conservative generation? An appropriate response would be to call your mother a little more often, perhaps write an email, even visit her (even if that means just leaving your bedroom for a few minutes out of the day). But never accept. The day parents and their children poke freely is the day Sodom and Gomorrah reopen for business.