Tag Archives: computer

Will You Still Need Me, When You’re Twenty-Four?*

I knew there was going to be trouble the first time I had to wag my finger in admonition and look up at Sarcasmo.

Physically, it’s been apparent for a long while that I was going to be the shortest male in the family. Sarcasmo, our oldest, is around 6′ 4″ now and should be finally stopped growing at 21. Zippy the Monkey Boy is 6′ 2″ or so and Hyper Lad is 5′ 9″, but he’s only 14 so has a lot of growing left to do.

When I realized they were going to be all taller and probably bigger than me, I quickly realized that I would have to come up with a catch phrase that would establish my authoritarian position as the leader of our little clan. It would have to be persuasive and showcase the innate superiority of the position of listening to their father and doing what he says to the idea that they can go haring off on their own and do whatever comes into their swiss-cheesed brains.**

Here’s what I came up with: “You might end up being bigger and stronger than me, but I will always be sneakier and meaner.”

And it’s worked. So far. Of course, it’s meant in jest and I made sure my young dudes know it, but the meaning behind the joke is somewhat more serious.

It’s not that we parents tell our children what to do because we’re control freaks***, but rather because we have life experience and understand how there might be a better or safer way to do something. The problem with kids ageing is that I can’t expect to have them do what I tell them to do just because I said they should do it. That works when they’re younger for a variety of reasons.

Little dudes start off doing as they’re told because Mom and Dad are infallible, but that goes away pretty quickly. They’ll also do as they’re told because, to be blunt, they’re scared of what will happen if they don’t. Not that every kid is worried that their parent will hit them, but parents are, after all, in charge of who gets the TV or the computer, the person who will take them to the park. Parents hold a lot of keys to a lot of different treasure chests.

As the little dudettes get older, though, these subtle threats begin to lose their force. The words “You can’t make me” or “You’re not the boss of me” begin to make the first of their years-long lifespans as a major part of her vocabulary.

And, once she gets past a certain age, she’s right. We can’t. Legally, if a young man 18 or over wants to do something, there’s precious little a parent can do to stop him.

Which, again, is bad news because, as much as the young dudes wish it weren’t so, parents really do understand more about life and really do know better.

Parents are a marvelous resource for young sons and daughters. Unfortunately, there are too many instances in which those resources go untapped and unrecognized.

So. We’ve got that all set up. Come back tomorrow and we’ll discuss what you can do to make sure your son or daughter not only asks for, but listens to your suggestions.

Footnotes & Errata

* With my apologies to the Beatles, but the song lyric just fit too well to ignore.
** Not really Swiss cheese. I just use that as a visual shorthand for the fact that (and this is science, dudes and dudettes) the male brain doesn’t fully mature until at least 25 or so. If you’re lucky.
*** Which you will certainly believe. As long as you don’t listen to any of my children. Or my sister’s. Or my neighbors’. Or that dude over there. You get my point.

Share on Facebook

Do You Remember This?

Memory is a fickle thing.

You might remember the phone number of your girlfriend from high school, but not be able to remember the phone number you just looked up on the computer and have forgotten it by the time you get your cellphone out of your pocket.

You might remember that horrifying time you accidentally ordered sheep’s brains in a French restaurant three decades ago, but not remember what you had for breakfast this morning.

Students, of course, have the most contact with the fickle side of memory. I’m sure every single kid has studied their butts off the night before a test and gone to sleep confident they know everything there is to know about the subject. However, when they sit down in class to actually take the test, the answers remain frustratingly out of reach.

I wish I’d remembered to take that sort of thing into account when my young dudes were, in fact, young. I would have saved a lot of money I spent at Walt Disney World, I’ll tell you that.

Latest research talks about childhood amnesia or infantile amnesia, which means we remember nothing before we’re about 2 years old. The more sporadic holdover takes us up until about age 10 and, from those years, we retain fewer memories than we should, based merely on the passage of time.

And, yet, still we took the young dudes to Walt Disney World because we wanted them to have great memories of the place from when they were younger. We knew about childhood amnesia, but thought we’d be different.

Which explains why I was in Walt Disney World last December, accompanied by Hyper Lad and his mom, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Hankering For More Mickey. See, we talked with Hyper Lad and he said he had never been to Disney World before. We begged to differ. He stood firm and we realized he just didn’t remember it.

Which led to me asking his older brothers and I found they didn’t really remember any of their trips with a great deal of clarity, only bits and bursts. Hyper Lad, though? Nothing.

At least, that’s what we thought until we got there.

We were walking through one of Disney’s resorts on our way to a dinner when Hyper Lad had a flash of memory. He stopped still and pointed to the window sill on a room we were walking by.

“That,” he said. “I remember that. We stayed here.”

No, actually, we hadn’t. We had, however, stayed at a hotel where our room was right next to the pool and there had been a windowsill like that outside of our room. He remembered something, but it required some visual and tactile reminders to trigger it.

You might want to keep that in mind the next time you’re considering an expensive vacation with a young dude or dudette. Or even a massively expensive birthday party for one of your spawn.

Which reminds me. . .  Let’s talk more about this on Wednesday, yeah?

Share on Facebook

Creative Endeavor

Get your eyeballs away from the TV and go do something.

If you’re one of the dudes who follows the @dudesguide Twitter feed, then you know I’ve been a bit busy in the last couple of weeks. Well, a bit busy might be underselling the whole thing.

Over the course of two weeks, I managed to write a little more than 80,000 words, creating a long-thought-about young adult book. It’s a really fun idea, but you’ll have to trust me on this one as I’m trying to get it represented by an agent so I can sell it to a publisher and I wouldn’t want anyone to look at the idea and then do it better.

Not that I think you would do that, but, you know, that guy. Yeah, him.

Moving on.

It’s been an amazingly satisfying experience. I don’t know what happened or why it kicked off like it did, but I found myself sitting down at the computer, turning on some tunes for the background and then typing. I would literally look up three hours later (or more depending on the day) and find that I’d written five thousand (or whatever) words and didn’t remember anything else but the story happening for the past three hours.

It felt as if a mere tick of the old-timey analog clock second hand hadPoor goldfish. All for an idea bout colored shoelaces that no one will actually care about. passed, and, yet, it was three hours gone down the memory hole. Three hours and I’d produced another significant chunk of a world that only I knew, but that needed to be shared.

Now, I’m not saying that what I wrote is deathless prose or that it will change the lives of anyone who reads it (although I wouldn’t be against that happening, you know?), but this is something that, before three weeks ago, existed only as a notion in my diseased brain.

And now it’s a thing. I’m in the process of showing it to some friends who are going to read it and then give me some insight on if it’s any good or what I should change.

It’s not like a book I can hold in my hands, but it is something I created by myself. I brought this into reality by conscious effort and directed intention. It is a wonderful, amazing feeling that more people should try to achieve.

Again, no. I’m not suggesting you all take up writing. Frankly, I don’t need the competition. But I do suggest you find something you like, something you can learn about, and then do it.

Create. Discover. Give birth to your ideas using your hands and your will. Feel the sense of satisfaction that comes from creation. Smile the smile of the dude who has done, and is getting ready to do again and again.

Stretch yourself. Find something that’s just a bit more complex than you’ve done before and then learn how to do it. Then do it. Improve your skills in whatever you choose, then follow your plans through to completion.

Dudes, there is nothing like creation. It is an unmatched feeling and it can be yours. Whenever you decide it’s time for you to get it.

So go get it.

Share on Facebook