Last night we bellied up to the telly with plates full of English fare and a pint of Red Stripe each for me and the missus. I know, Red Stripe is Jamaican, not English, but it was on sale, and besides, Usain Bolt is awesome.
We gathered the kids onto the sofa and turned on the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, or, as we soon found out, Bob Costas talking through the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Also starring Ryan Seacrest.
We wanted the boys to appreciate the moment, the cultural and historical significance that the Olympics symbolize — the best of a world that we are told has gone wrong. They, however, wanted to wiggle and complain about dinner.
I suppose that asking two little boys (ages six and nine) to remain still for a four hour Costas monologue is a bit much, but they didn’t even pretend to be interested unless I talked over Bob and gave my own color commentary.
Bob Costas: “Blah, blah, blah, mispronounced name, blah, blah.”
Matt Lauer: (laughs)
9-Year-Old: “Ooh, jet packs!”
Me: (loudly) “This is from David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust years. You see, David Bowie once had an alter ego…”
6-Year-Old: “Queen! Queen!”
No, my youngest wasn’t excited to see Her Majesty (other than Her Scenes with James Bond), but he does love him some Freddie Mercury, and I’m especially proud of that.
And in the distance Bob Costas continued to talk over things that we were meant to listen to, like live music and sentimental spots of silence, while my kids went back to squirming uncomfortably and asking if they could go to bed.
My frustration with the boys and their blatant apathy was only compounded by a quick check of Facebook which was filled with proud parent after proud parent sharing photos and status updates about how transfixed and excited their children were while watching the ceremony.
I looked at my bored kids, their dinner in various states of touched, their ears full of Costas, and I paused the television, because this is the future and we can do stuff like that.
“When I was your age,” I started, already hating the fact that my tone leaned heavily upon uphill walks in the snow and things we didn’t have — the go to speak of generational one-upmanship. “I watched the Olympics with my parents and grandparents, and I could feel the importance of it all. I could sense that it was something powerful, and I still remember how special it was.”
Bob Costas: (loudly) “This really is a great cover of this song…”
Matt Lauer: (laughs)
And then I tried to explain the Industrial Revolution. Again.
“Got to bed,” said my wife. She was talking to the kids.
“Wake me up when the United States comes in,” said the 9-year-old, and then he hugged Bob Costas goodnight and went to his room.
We sat there in front of the telly, watching great athletes and wonderful art share the stage, so many moments of cultural and historical significance, and we talked amongst ourselves. We could sense that it was something powerful.
Read more from Whit Honea at his site Honea Express and the popular group blog DadCentric. You can follow Whit on the Twitter or Pinterest (his opinions are his own and do not reflect those of Babble or most rational people).
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