Jimmy Tomlin: So you want to raise a teenager...
There’s a teenager in our house, and I think she may be ours.
I’m not quite sure how she became a teenager so quickly. One minute she was watching Barney and putting Mr. Potato Head’s nose in his earhole, and the next minute she was wearing makeup, playing her music too loud, and asking if she can drive me to Starbucks.
Oh, and rolling her eyes at everything I say, even when I sneeze and say “Excuse me.” It’s her way of saying, “My father is SOOOOOO dumb! He has allergies and sneezes, like, a thousand times a minute! He’s so totally stupid! There’s no WAY I’m even remotely related to this moron — I must have been adopted!”
I’m kidding, of course, because she would never actually say that.
She would text it.
But seriously, it’s astounding how many IQ points I’ve lost since my firstborn daughter — whose name shall not be mentioned, lest she be embarrassed in public — became a teenager. That’s how puberty works, you know: She progresses toward womanhood, and I — in her eyes, at least — regress toward moronhood.
An acquaintance of ours once told her teenage daughter during an argument, “You should just go ahead and move out now, while you still know everything.”
I have refrained from saying something like this myself, because my teenager — whose name shall not be mentioned, lest she be embarrassed in public — doesn’t seem to appreciate my sarcasm, even though I’ve certainly given her plenty of opportunities to appreciate it. What can I say? Superman flies and Aquaman breathes underwater, but sarcasm is my superpower.
And eye-rolling is hers.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my teenager — whose name shall not be mentioned, lest she be embarrassed in public — but the proper care and feeding of a teenager is a delicate matter, one that requires grace and wisdom and discernment and patience and love and understanding and earplugs and sedatives.
Wait, did I say those last two out loud? Forget I mentioned earplugs and sedatives, because they’re not actually required to raise a teen.
Just highly recommended.
If you’re not careful raising your teenager, you may end up like the Oklahoma man I read about recently. When he asked his son to turn down the music he was listening to, the son threw gasoline and a cigarette lighter on his father, causing him to burst into flames.
This is particularly frightening, because on many occasions I have asked my teenage daughter — whose name shall not be mentioned, lest she be embarrassed in public — to turn down her music.
That’s just what we do as parents of teens: As our IQ points evacuate our heads, our ears become increasingly less able to tolerate any style of music — and particularly when it’s played loud — other than what we like to hear. It’s in the manual, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Your Teenager,” that we’re supposed to complain about their music. It’s just a matter of time before I start using the phrase, “Turn down that racket!”
The good news is that my daughter doesn’t have access to gasoline or a cigarette lighter.
The bad news is, she has lots of experience playing with Mr. Potato Head, and if I’m not careful, I may end up with my nose in my earhole.
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