Image by j.gurian via Flickr
I get to be the center of a much sleazier reality show as mom of the Planet Teenage Girl citizen who apparently fell out of bed and hit herself on the head with a sledgehammer…. or whatever is necessary to make a person capable of INSANE behavior. Ahem… After yesterday’s edge-of-your-seat episode with the Planet Teenage Boy citizen and the Old Guy with the road rage problem to mask the Equality Of Immaturity Demonstrated Across Generations problem, I thought perhaps, I might have earned a milder day as a mom juggling the ricocheting Planet Teenager inhabitants. I think God laughed. Instead, things get more epic by the minute, as I am electronically informed that my PTG citizen received an office referral for “Profanity with hand signs” and no, this did not involve any standard form of manual obscenity, but rather the creativity channeled by a child who has a Deaf mom and therefore has taken it upon herself to invent some new, previously unheard of sign language (being the expert with the Deaf mom and all) to express vulgar-ness towards her friend she was mad at.
I was requested to write some “Parental Comments” on the detention form. Best I can come up with so far is “Epic Fail,” although I’m not sure if that pertains to my parenting ability or my Planet Teenage Girl citizen’s ability to attain civilization. Her Life Is Over, by the way. She protested, “But, I still have a life, right?” (big hopeful puppy dog eyes.) I informed her that I Have Canceled Her Life, as she surrendered her rights to said life when she crossed the boundaries to insanity and behaved in a manner unbecoming of someone whom I Physically Gave Birth To.
Planet Teenage Boy citizen jumped in with a well-timed comment about how he felt so “trusted” that I let him drive the car alone, without the hassle of having to bring me along….. oh, wait, he meant without having to hassle me with riding along in the car….. Anybody want some teenagers cheap?
Choosing not to go with either of the moral puppy dilemmas presented in today’s Post A Day question, I have been re-energized in my crusade to save the Earth, one teenager at a time. I came across Bridget Baker’s post where she mentioned a saying of her’s, a revolutionary one in my opinion, that “Responsibility is sexy.” While this has motivational pull for my own life, I immediately thought “Well, duh!” How did I miss this beguiling approach with my dear citizens of Planet Teenage Boy and Planet Teenage Girl? (PTB/PTG) Advertisers know the key term to motivating their gold mine 18 to 24 yr old male segment of the population is via the word and or concept sex. While they use this to get young guys to eat more hamburgers, I am wondering why no one has turned this little gem on it’s head for the Betterment Of Mankind In General? No one, that is, until Bridget Baker.
Teenage boys care about 3 things: girls, food, and sports. Not necessarily in that order. Moms of teenagers everywhere want one thing to occur on Planet Teenage Boy: maturity, civilization (ok, so that’s more than one thing, but it’s closely connected.) Why not create a win-win situation by marketing responsibility as a Sexually Desirable Trait? “Chicks think responsible guys are totally hot.” Can we get one of those video game makers to have those type of statements subliminally flashed across the screen when someone plays their game? I’m in. If I actually had any capital to venture, I would quickly sink it into a product which could simultaneously satisfy both teenagers and their parents. Forget the “Carl’s Jr. Burger Break” at halftime, replace it with a scantily-clad, flirtatious hottie lamenting the serious lack of responsible and mature guys to satisfy her needs. Can anybody say “Superbowl ad”??
Creatively productive. There’s the holy grail. To express the fullness of my potential as a unique individual and somehow do it well enough and often enough to get paid for it. Which is more important? Caitlin Kelly blogs about this and points out some of the beloved irony of us creative types — she won a Canadian National Magazine Award for humor for an essay about her divorce. Humor and divorce really don’t seem to go together, but that’s probably what made it work. I will spare you all the make lemonade with the lemons of life metaphor (whoops, that didn’t work.) In Real Life we must be productive, but do we put the cart in front of the horse with our focus on quantity? I am fascinated by Austin Kleon’s advice not to wait around until you know yourself to make things. Just make things, which leads to knowing yourself and thus the well of human creativity.
People tend to be amused by my eccentric creativity, but where is it’s value? That’s the big question. What makes a painting created by random slinging and splattering worth thousands of dollars, or not? I’ve got some pretty amazing metaphors and word plays up my sleeve, but what makes it marketable? Austin Kleon’s work, Newspaper Blackout, is a smash hit, but does the monetary value lie in the use of markers on newspaper? Would people value the same poetry if it were just typed out on regular ole paper? People are funny like that. Some things are perceived as wickedly cool, while others are relegated to lame gimmicks. I happen to think Austin’s work is Wickedly Cool, by the way. Does anyone care about the monetary value of Mom-ness? Is my in-depth research on the citizens of Planet Teenage Boy and Planet Teenage Girl significantly marketable? I have lots of creativity, but creating productively is the heaven to which I aspire.
Image via Galerieopweg
Somehow, having a job with responsibilities changes the perspective of certain citizens of Planet Teenager. Major rant about how the people last night didn’t clean up when they closed the store and actually left *GASP* dishes in the sink!! Fire them all, they know better and they know that “everybody depends on everybody else to do their job correctly.” How inconsiderate those night people were, didn’t even bother to Wipe Off The Syrup Pumps! “Why do they even have a job if they are going to be irresponsible?”
Suddenly the camera changes focus from the PTG citizen and the mother to the bathroom where there is makeup all over the place, some dirty, some “status undetermined” clothes are on the counter, and there’s toothpaste globs in the sink….. And yet, of course, our very miffed PTG citizen Sees Not The Irony Here…..
Planet Teenage Boy (PTB) and Planet Teenage Girl (PTG), specifically, their citizens. Constantly befuddled by their responses, sudden random acts of sweetness, moodiness, angst….. I always thought infancy was the most “fragile” time in mothering, you’ve got this helpless baby dependent upon you for everything, and whatever you do, as a mom, don’t screw it up. Then I Had Teenagers…. Now I truly believe the teenage years are the most “fragile”, because decisions of who they are and what they will become are bubbling up during this time. A sweet kid can suddenly veer off into random territory and it’s frightening. Other times, a teenager can be incredibly thoughtful and candid. The trick is, you never know what’s going to happen next. With a baby, some things are fairly predictable — the Eat, Sleep, Play Cycle. Teenagers are either eating everything in sight 24/7 or not eating at all and being freaked about being “fat”. Sleep… either up all night long as-though-this-is-not-going-to-affect-me-tomorrow, or sleeping 14-16 hours a day, Like A Rock. Play involves all of the social complicated-ness, boy/girl stuff, who they hang out with, and it’s not the result of an Arranged Play Date. Parenting teenagers is hard work, constant chaos, and yet attempting to appear Serene (insert perfect melodious music here). Infants require changing the diapers constantly, teenagerhood just brings in the poop a different way.