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When a Generation Gap Becomes an Abyss

photo-5I have no idea what my 15-year-old son is talking about.

And I wasn’t going to be the cliché, you know? I was going to be down. Hip. In the know. For instance, I know that my girlfriend’s daughters are crazy about the One Dimension (“1D” if you’re in the loop), and I even know that one of the kids names in the English-Irish pop boy band is Liam. See? I wear concert T-shirts all the time. I saw Frozen. I support gay marriage, and I understand the complicated relationship between iTunes 11.1.4 and my iPhone 5s — unless you start talking about multiple users sharing a Cloud because what the hell?

Check this out. My dad was absolutely perplexed by the urgency of my need to fight for the right to party. Baffled. And when our generation gap achieved the uncharted status of “generation abyss” due to my dad’s complete lack of cultural acuity to appreciate the Beastie Boys and their newwww styyyyyle, I made a commitment right then and there to myself and my future progeny: I will understand you; I will appreciate the things that matter to you.

But what that naïve commitment failed to foresee was that I would one day have no idea what my 15-year-old son is talking about. I mean, he uses English words, I grant him that, but they don’t do that thing where they come together in the listener’s world to mean something. I’m guessing that the problem might stem from my lack of background knowledge within which to derive meaning from his syntactical moves. Did you read that? I accept it. I may have perhaps faltered in my commitment to stay down and hip and in the know.

But seriously?

When he leads with: “Dad. Can you even believe those 70,000 people and all that Twitch madness? So much for the infinite monkey theorem.” Are you kidding me? What am I supposed to do with that? “But they did manage to catch a Pidgey,” he continues; the dude is holding his chin and nodding his head. “And I have to admit that I’m torn between it being an extremely unlikely coincidence and a miracle. What do you think? You believe in miracles?”

“Do I? Excuse me?”

“Do you believe in miracles?”

“What? Like Jesus on the water and all that fish and bread type stuff?”

“Think about it, dad. 70,000 people all vying for control with contradictory commands, and they STILL catch a Pidgey?!? C’mon.”

I stare at him and don’t move because just because. This will burn itself out eventually. Maybe. Can you believe Yauch is dead?

“I’m telling you it’s just WAY too unlikely to be a coincidence. It’s like those 70,000 people are all bees in a hive, but instead of making honey, they’re making religion or something. That Pidgey and its alternative forms of Pidgeotto and Pidgeot are totally some kind of tripartite Bird Jesus. Oh my God I’m freaking myself out.”

I continue to stare. I love him, but he’s testing love’s limits.

“Look, dad. I have the chills, and all the hair on my arms is standing straight up. Hail, Bird Jesus! Praise Bird Jesus!”

Full stop. I do not care. Do I wish that I cared? Of course I do. Yes. But what I wish for more than wishing that I cared about stupid Bird Jesus is that my son was just a teensy bit more inclined to blast Paul’s Boutique through a boom box (yeah, I said it) so we could strut around the living room and grab our balls and spin on our backs on some cardboard but no! Not MY kid! And why not? Because apparently it’s too much for me ask for a son who is — I don’t know — sane.

I have no idea what my 15-year-old son is talking about. And honestly? I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if he tried to turn an Eevee into a Vaporeon using a Fire Stone.
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