Ahhh, another balmy Pennsyltucky Friday in late April. I had to come inside the house twice while mowing the lawn, to put on more seal skins, scarves, gloves, ski goggles, insulated boots and long underwear. There is no feeling in my face and my ears are blue and ringing. Excuse me while I fire up the acetylene torch and attempt to thaw the icicle that has formed on my nose. How's your day?
Happy Fifteenth Birthday Skylar Folk! You've made these the best fifteen years of my life. Oh, and I ain't goin' to Poughkeepsie, neither.
Total Disclosure: I've never owned a new car. Complete Total Disclosure: I've never owned a car that was made in the same decade as the one I was living in. Sometimes the car was as old if not older than me.
The grand tradition of naming these cars began with my very first: a light blue Oldsmobile. One of my best friends said that it looked like the one that Sgt.Vince Carter (pictured above) from the show "Gomer Pyle" drove; except without the fins on the back. Everyone began to call the car "Vince" or the "Vincemobile".
Instead of a needle, Vince's speedometer had a fat line that would change color from green to orange to red. "Oh no, we've got Vince in the red!" became a commonly heard scream from the back seats.
And then a new phenomena began. People would talk about seeing Vince out and about somewhere. Not me. Vince. "I saw Vince burning down Market Street the other day!" "Vince was sitting outside of the Turkey Hill." "How did Vince end up in that tree?" It began to feel like an out-of-body experience. The car had usurped the owner.
This trend didn't end through the decades. Many cars came and went, followed by a fleet of beat-up vans. They all had colorful names. And, they were all spotted going places without me. This also happened when I was given the nickname "Uncle Raymond". "Yeah, Uncle Raymond was up to his old antics the other night!" "Yeah, I know. Did you see him..." All of this with me standing right there. Sheesh.
I have now bequeathed (if only symbolically) one of the last of these four wheeled monstrosities to "The Rock Brothers" in my book "In the Seam". It seems only appropriate that they as young long-haired musicians should inherit "Vanikan Skywalker". I hope they take good care of the beast. Total Disclosure: They don't. They end up in the "Seam" by crashing him into an oak tree. Oh, well. He didn't have much life in the old tank anyway.
We were all children once. Yes...even you! And we were all teenagers. Remember being a teenager? It was the best, the worst, the most embarrassing, most excruciating, most exciting, most life-defining, painful, joyful, awful time of our lives. But you know what it wasn't? A time that our parents had to be there 24/7 to witness. I defy anyone reading this to say that they told their parents every detail of their teenage lives. I didn't. You didn't. I KNOW you didn't. And neither did your parents, or their parents, or the caveman with the burnt ass and dinosaur dung on his Sabretooth Tiger-skin p.j.'s. And there's a reason for that.
Technology is killing our privacy. There is no way that we could have gotten away with any of the things we did as kids if the Internet had been around. And there's no way any public person: Politician, Celebrity/ Sports-Music-Movie-Porn Star could have either. But maybe that's o.k. Especially if you're going through puberty.
As a teenager you take chances. And chances sometimes can become your life's biggest mistakes. But nobody becomes a complete human being without screwing up. It's how we learn, and how we become who we will ultimately be. Does your Mom need to find this out through a video that someone's kid who's a friend with a mother of a kid that she knows, posts on YouTube, or Instagram or CheckMyDumbAssOut.com? No.
So as parents, why are we stalking our children's social media pages?
Yes, I get that it's a natural instinct to want to make sure that they are doing the right thing. But who was watch-dogging you?
Before I finally broke down and joined Facebook, all I heard from people at work was that they did it so they could keep an eye on what their kids were up to! Huh? Do you wonder why most kids have fled Facebook for greener, less moldy pastures? They're not dumb. And they have a right to their privacy, and a right to screw up royally without us up their butts. We don't trust them, but they don't trust us. And they're right not to. Everyone has to earn that trust. In the immortal words of the Lord Humongous from "The Road Warrior": "Walk Away! Just Walk Away!!"
Don't be a Privacy Narc. Let them live through their teenage years without your Laser Eye. Puberty is punishment enough.
And you will still love them in the morning...even after you bailed them out of jail at 3 a.m.
End of Rant.