Help! There’s suddenly a teenager in the Tyree house!
Yes, my son Gideon just turned 13. He’s a good kid with a bright future, but sometimes the inevitable “attitude” shows up.
I know that many teenagers are creative, hardworking and respectful of their elders; but I still have worries about the coming years. Teens have always faced a mountain of changes, responsibilities and temptations ---- and the pace is only accelerating.
I must admit I led a rather sheltered teen life, but you still couldn’t pay me enough to go through all the frustrations and emotional rollercoasters again. And I certainly saw enough classmates who drove too fast, broke curfew, obtained fake IDs, became addicted to nicotine and alcohol and suffered the consequences of unplanned pregnancies.
The sordid events on “Riverdale” (the CW’s soap opera reimagining of the Archie Comics universe) do little to ease my concerns about Gideon’s challenges.
Besides prayer, the one thing that keeps me going is knowing that others have passed this way before. Some of history’s most influential people survived their own stereotypical teenage behavior. For example:
- George Washington, who remarked to a young lady, “Hope your parents didn’t notice the hickey I gave you last evening. Uh, could I have my teeth back?”
- Militant atheist Richard Dawkins, who proved to be a real buzzkill when he renamed the party game “7 Minutes In Heaven” as “7 Minutes In Meaningless Oblivion.”
- Actor Lon Chaney, who wailed, “Yes, I’m The Man of A Thousand Faces ---- and every one of them has a great big ZIT!”
- Col. William Prescott, a hero of the Battle of Bunker Hill, who years earlier gave the command, “Don’t fire until you see the hands of the alarm clock.”
- South African heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who mused, “Someday these fingers may save someone’s life, but right now they’re just made for giving wet willies!”
- Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who snapped, “Yes, it’s your roof and your rules, but did you forget who DESIGNED that roof?”
- Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish business magnate and founder of IKEA, who muttered, “Who cares if they won’t let me sit at the popular kids’ cafeteria table? I’ll just build my own!”
- Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch, who -- years before committing “The Scream” to canvas -- confided, “This is a doodle of how I feel when my parents wave at me in the mall.”
- Magician Harry Houdini, who told his parents, “If all my friends were jumping off a bridge, would I jump, too? Of course ---- but only if I was blindfolded and handcuffed!”
- Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, who grumbled, “Nah, I think I’ll stay here on the couch. You take the chair.”
- Astronaut Neil Armstrong, who growled, “And it’ll STAY one small step for man if you keep buying me these cheap knockoff sneakers.”
- The unnamed Indonesian natives who responded to the 1883 eruption of the volcanic island Krakatoa with “It’s got a good beat, but someone really needs to crank up the volume.”
Still, it wouldn’t hurt if you sent your teen parenting advice to the address at the end of this column.
I would hate to get to the point of reassuring myself with the teenage misadventures of FICTIONAL characters ---- like, for instance, Ishmael Ahab.
“Okay, maybe I’m obsessed with my hand-held device ---- but a HARPOON sort of goes with the territory, dude. Gimme a break.”
Danny welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”