Yesterday I had the privilege of being the focus of a classic teenagerism, which – though luckily a fairly rare occurrence with my particular 15 year-old – literally made me laugh out loud. (I also somewhat unethically shared it with a room full of co-workers, for their boisterous enjoyment.) Upon inquiring what time said movie was that he and a group of friends were on their way to see, I received the response, “I dunno; not everyone plans everything out in advance like you, mom!” Note the line reading here of “mom;” the drawn-out, exaggerated tone of disgust is most crucial. Muhaahmmm!
It’s true, not everyone plans things out in advance. Actually, I feel I’ve done relatively little life planning at all; I seem to arrived at this juncture, of being the mortifyingly embarrassing muhaahmmm of a teenager, all too quickly. What was it I was going to do with my life, exactly? I can’t entirely recall. But I do remember that the prevailing theme had something to do with the punk rock ethics of Challenging the Status Quo whenever possible, and Intentionally Living on the Peripheries of Polite Society. Well, done and done, pretty much.
Punk rock moms and dads are all the rage these days. I see them everywhere, their piercings hanging a little heavier from the weight of sleep deprivation that comes with early parenthood, tattoos slowly fading from spending too much time in sun-drenched playgrounds. Last year’s documentary, The Other F Word, apparently chronicles the new challenge of punk – that of fatherhood – and though I am vaguely interested in what that film may have to illustrate …. really, do we need yet another expose on a variation of the white male experience? Am I going to learn anything new? I’m guessing it’s pretty much same shit, different day. Punk takes on Society, yet somehow that ethos is most pertinent as seen through the eyes of a man. Oh, the irony!
You know what else is ironic? Not rain on your wedding day or a black fly in your chardonnay – sorry, Alanis,
those things are merely unfortunate. What’s ironic is that raising a child to question the social and political status quo means that this challenge is ultimately directed at you, the parent. Because, of course, from where your child’s sitting, YOU are the status quo. No no no, wait, I’M not The Man! The Man is all that other stuff – you know, the patriarchal corporatocracy, the military industrial complex, the knee-jerk hype mongers at Fox News!! That’s what we’re really up against here! The Man has nothing at all to do with me wanting to know what time your movie’s at – I just need to know what I can shove into my own Friday night plans before I have to pick your ass up from way the fuck out in the Richmond.
But, all muhaahmmms notwithstanding, they do eventually get it. My son may prefer to load his iPod with Old Blue Eyes, the Ink Spots and whoever else is decidedly NOT the Dead Kennedys and X in my dusty CD bins, but at least Sinatra is no Justin Bieber. The apple may have actually fallen somewhere within range of the tree.