The Parental Rift

(If you read my last entry, it was about the things I remember from my childhood, now that I’m in my 40’s.  Today’s thoughts are sort of a tangent to the last entry.)

I used to be cool.  Well, sort-of cool.  Well… y’know what?  None of you were there, so I can claim that I was sort-of cool and you all have no reason to not believe me.  So there.  At the very least, I had a decent grasp on what was cool, what was popular and what was “in.”

Then something happened a little over 15 years ago…I became a parent.  We went into the hospital in 2000, and came out into a swirling melee of diapers, feedings, high chairs, bicycles, first days of school, temper tantrums, late nights, early EARLY mornings, school recitals, play dates and Happy Meals.  We’re just now coming out on the other side of it, kind of like a bear waking up from hibernation.

And I realized that I only have a very slim idea of what’s cool, popular and “in” right now.  I was at the thrift store yesterday and saw a Smashmouth cd and actually thought “oh, cool, I could play that in my car!  Wait, I think we already have it.”  When was the last time they were cool?  2000?  Ever?  Same thrift store, same day, I found a (I thought) super-cool herringbone sport coat.  My oldest girl deemed it “really ugly, like something Matilda’s dad would wear.”

I really have no idea of the state of the art.  Of anything.  I’m happy having stereo speakers hooked up to my tv.  I heard there’s this “surround sound” thing that you can do.  Sounds cool.  I was stoked to get a cd player in my latest car.  I hear that bicycles have suspension on them — something I drew pictures of when I was a kid…like bicycle-science-fiction.

Who are these “Kardashians” and why are they popular?  What happened to “Battle Bots?”  Isn’t it called the “WWF” anymore?

I have a smartphone.  I think it’s cool.  It’s a really useful thing to have an internet device in my pocket.  Why does everyone walk around with their face shoved in the thing?  Why does everyone DRIVE with their face shoved in the thing?  It’s. Just. Not. That. Interesting.  Is it?

When did it get cheaper to buy pre-made food than to cook at home?  When did the vegan-organic-natural-food-hippies become relevant?  What’s a “Whole Foods” and why do people worship them?

When did everyone get so god-damned intolerant?

When did “drinking” become a no-no, but craft beer and craft-whiskey became “hip?”

Is “hip” even a word anymore?

I swear, I never thought I’d be this person.  You know…somebody’s dad.  Not the actual act of becoming a father…but one of those people who’s defined by all the traits of the stereotypical “somebody’s dad.”  Lame, unfashionable, uncool, trying to be cool with their teenager and his/her friends but doing it with references that got old 15 years ago.  The person that gets their kids’ rolled eyes and an embarrassed “Daa-AAA-aad!”

I’d like to think that if I tried really hard, I could be sort of cool again.  But really I’d probably just look like that old guy who’s trying to be cool again.

I should probably just accept it.

It’s easier to wear my comfortable Nirvana t-shirt with flannel overshirt, crank my Smashmouth cd in the car with the windows open, yell “gnarly!” at the top of my lungs…and then let my kids out at the high school.

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