Sunday, March 10, 2013

Screenagers and the Money Tree

Screenagers and the Money Tree

Teens are growing up with a “give me what I want when I want it” mentality.  It’s the Google age.  Any time they want, they can find “How do I make a bomb?” or “Did Botox give my mom Adult ADHD?” automagically with their cell phone supercomputers.

“Screenagers” are also addicted to instant communication.  They jealously clutch their phones even while asleep because they may miss a 2 a.m. text or their parents might steal it and check their tweets.  

One night I tried to shimmy it out of my daughter’s hand and she morphed into an angry mutation, much like a hissing Gollum on Lord of the Rings, clutching his magic gold band, or like Charlie Sheen.  After consulting, I now swipe her phone during the night while she is sufficiently Benadrylled.  “Winniiiing!”  

Suspicious of my sudden use of “teen speak” gleaned from her texts, my daughter turned to TAMPER.COM, the website dedicated to Teens Against Moms Pilfering Everything in my Room.  Consequently, she asked me for money to buy a “parental sensor” for her phone.

“Sweetheart, I'm so sorry, but this time you need to use your own money!” I declared.  I mean, I try to teach my kids the value of a dollar.

Financial matters are foreign to my teens.  They don’t have time to do chores to earn money during the school year, and I’d have to be on crack to pay them an allowance when their rooms look like the apocalypse.  So the money they earn in the summer, receive for birthdays and Christmas, and regularly steal from their brother usually lasts until about, say. . . right now.

Then they experience heinous withdrawal symptoms from not eating at McAlister’s, and their brains get a little spazzo.

The following story, which for my daughter’s sake may be fictitious, illustrates:

My daughter texted me from school in Def Con 1 mode on the day school closed at 11:30 a.m. due to impending weather.   

Teen: I want to go to lunch with friends.  I don’t have money can you             bring me some???

Me:  No.  You don’t have to go out to lunch every time school closes early.  We’re gonna start handling the money situation differently around here.

Teen: So I can’t go to lunch???

Me:        You can go, but I’m not giving you money.

Teen: Mom why???

Me:  Oh, I forgot!  You have $60 Grandma gave you for 
Christmas!  I didn’t give it to you yet.  Ok, you can go.  Keep the receipt!

She and her friends went to lunch, and I picked them up at the restaurant.  I paid for her $16 meal, knowing she had money to pay me back.  When we got home, I subtracted $16 from Grandma’s $60 and handed her $44.  She stared at it for a few seconds.

“That’s depressing,” she moaned. It’s only $44.”

“That’s the $60 minus $16 for lunch,” I said.

“If I knew I was going to have to pay for lunch with my own money, I wouldn’t have gone.”

I’ve tried my best to be a good parent through the years.  But maybe I DID give her too much Benadryl.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Vital Warnings, Not That I've Ever Done This . . .

Recently I’ve shared various resolutions people should make this year so as not to annoy me.  Conversely, I’m now warning others about things they should NOT do this year.  I’m a giver that way.  
To maintain the high level of scientific accuracy that my readers expect, this list is based on personal experience and meticulous testimony of people I found on the internet.

Do not mosey barefoot through a cow pasture in your underwear after ingesting Benadryl and several Solo cups of "fruit punch" at a bonfire (’s complicated).  
When the head of the school talent show phones you at the last minute to state that your daughter can’t be in the show because the song she’s practiced dancing to for three months is “inappropriate,” don’t scream at her until blood pools in your eyeballs.  First determine whether she’s the sweet school chaplain who, furthermore, is about to birth a baby any minute.

Do not be a nimrod and go to the Ladies’ Room with your cell phone in your pocket.  Even if you have to put it on the floor.  At Chuck E. Cheese.

If you are a man over forty, there is no justifiable reason to wear Vans.

Do not assume a male is listening to a female just because he is looking her in the eye.  He is thinking about her anatomy, caulk, or her anatomy.

Do not assume a teenager is listening to an adult just because he is looking the adult in the eye.  The teen is merely planning a diversion to facilitate the quickest escape possible.  Ideally, with explosives.

Do not give in to the temptation to sing karaoke in a bar if you look around and think to yourself how unbelievably “hot” everyone is.

After eating raw oysters at Daryl’s Television Repair & Crab Shack, do not go deep-sea fishing for a day—or four.

In school assembly when they announce your seven-year-old son won the city chess championship, don’t pump your fist and scream, “BOOYAH!  ‘Yo Face!!!!” at the Poindexter who coaches the school chess team and who asked your son to resign because he’s “academically not ready” for chess. 

Do not disclose on a first date that you are a “Trekkie” and that the Klingon Carpaccio at Starfleet conventions has really gone downhill since Gene Roddenberry died.

Do not warn your two-year-old NOT to eat a candy cane off Target’s bathroom floor.  Or your ten-year-old NOT to put his hand through a chain link fence.  Or your sixteen-year-old NOT to date the Goth loser driving the van with curtains on the windows.

On a school field trip, do not tell your group of kids, “Gee, our house has NEVER been rolled!”

My goal is to make my readers’ lives easier and to help them avoid stumbling into pits of social quicksand which can result in them being called hurtful names, like “head case” and “nutjob” by the pretentious PTA moms who wag their heads at you and who no longer include you in their weekly, freaking Starbucks group (. . . . it’s complicated).