Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Am Fluent In Parent Lingo

The other day my wife and I were in the car. She was flipping through the radio stations when all of a sudden before I knew it the words rolled off of my tongue, "They don't make music like they used to. I can't understand a word they're saying. All that crap sounds the same." I turned to my wife, "Oh my gosh, did I just say what I think I just said?" I might as well called them whipper snappers and started yelling, "turn that noise down!"

Honestly though, I don't get today's music when comparing it to the music I grew up with in high school, and that was 20 years ago.  I'm sure it's that way with everyone else too.

I've noticed within the last few years I find myself using that "old person" lingo. You know, those phrases that you heard while still living under your parents roof and swore you would never use. I know the cause of it. I'll be 37 years old this year and I seriously don't believe it has anything to do with age. Somehow I've been blessed with a slow aging process physically. I literally look at least 15 years younger than my age. The oldest anyone has ever guessed my was 24. I like to joke and say that Benjamin Button is my dad and that I'm growing younger as well.  I don't feel close to 40. Then again I don't know what that is supposed to feel like. You just hear all the hoopla about turning 40. Oh my gosh there I go again! I know I am getting older. I refer to my co-workers, not in a derogatory way, as kids. Yet they are college students while some are mothers. I'm even older than my bosses.

I am positive the fault for my "old" person lingo lies on my kids. At least that's where I'm going to put it. They are getting older, therefore it is their fault I am getting older. Looking back I see it was when their heads begun to grow harder and thicker along with pulling any kind of shenanigan stunt when the lingo started coming forward. There was another slip.

I couldn't tell you how many times I have told my kids, "Well, when I was a kid..." It's usually coupled with a, "we didn't have this or that," or "we had to.."  It's then usually followed with, "so you should be grateful."  So when you put it all together with an example you have yourself something like this, "Well, when I was a kid we didn't have no Wii to play when it was raining outside. So stop whining you're bored cuz' you don't have any games to play. You should be grateful you even have it." 
Of course my skills at motivational speaking has yet to work.

I know on more than one occasion I have told my kids when making them get off their butts and out in front of the TV to go do something, "When we were kids we didn't have no Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. We had to wait for our cartoons to come on and they only came on one channel at a time. So stop whining. Cartoons will be there when you get back."

My two youngest kids will complain of having to take naps. I find a common response that comes not only out of my mouth but my wife's as well is, "You better enjoy it now, 'cuz when you get older you'll look forward to them naps."

I still call flip-flops, "thongs." And though I do not wear them, G-strings are still G-strings and not thongs. When and how and by whom those were changed I have the slightest clue. But I'll tell the kids, "Pick those thongs up out the living room." or "You're not wearing thongs with that." "They're not thongs dad!"

More than once I can recall telling a co-worker that I remember when MTV was real MTV that played actual music videos. And yesterday I told someone how I remembered going to the drive-in to see Grease.

One phrase that I now see my own mom used out of being totally pissed off, "Don't you huff and puff at me." Of course we all know what this is all about. It's the child's way of expressing their disdained attitude for being scolded. "How dare you scold me for disobeying you."

Most of the time before I hear the huffing and puffing I say the words, "How many times have I told you?" As if they could answer. Mostly it sounds as if I'm searching for the answer. What would I do if I was to ever get an answer from one of children? I'm sure they would be in bigger trouble. Any answer would be sarcasm. Other similar statements that can replace the mentioned question are: "I don't want to have to tell you again," and "Haven't you been told?"

even with a flux capacitor
I'm even finding an increase of my sentences in conversations beginning with the word, "Nowadays..." "Nowadays, all these vehicles are more computers than parts."

I can recall on more than one occasion having the conversation to which my response began with, "Well, when I was in school we didn't do things like..."  and explaining, "We didn't have these color days. You either got in trouble or not. They didn't put up with our crap." Talking about having a "green" day, "yellow" day, " or "red" day based on their behavior.

Other signs I'm getting older...

I know I'm not "old." No gray hair or grandchildren. I'm not clinging to a walker or have my eyes on new shiny red scooter. I'm not pushing the process. But I do see signs of the process in works. The older I get more of myself reverts back to my younger days and the wisdom I was taught. I said taught, not received. Now as a husband, father and a man I'm receiving it. And it makes me seem older.

The older I get the more I remember my youth.

  • But there are also non-verbal signs I feel my age is catching up with me. For example, many times when people will call me, they will ask, "Did I wake you?" or "Was you asleep?" and it's 6pm.
  • I usually eat oatmeal at least twice a day.
  • I'm finding most of my marital conversations turn into "dueling ailments" or about savings plans.
  • For there to be enough room, a kitchen cabinet became the "medicine cabinet."
  • My personal phone book contains more names ending with M.D.
  • I receive AARP notifications and am actually looking forward to it.
  • My lawn mower is a prized possession and I take pride in my lawn.
  • I use my High-speed wifi to download 20/20, Nightline, and CNN more than anything.
  • Even though I rarely sleep due to insomnia, a late night begins after the news.

But the best way I know I'm getting older: younger men ask me for advice.

It's been a long time since I've been up night with a sick kids. My marriage is going great. But I look around and reality minds me of children and responsibilities. Even that doesn't keep me thinking and feeling that I'm not that different from a 20 or 25 year old. It turns out, this feeling is not that uncommon.

Then there are those moments when life serves you a large helping of reality. Sometimes they are predictable. Sometimes reality sneaks up on you when you least expect it whether they be small catastrophes like when you have to referee a verbal or physical duke out in the middle of the living room or whether it be a major crisis as when you're broke and there is no foreseeable income for the next two weeks.

But the truth is clear: In spite of how old I actually look, I'm not 20 years old, not even 25. I'm fine with the, for the lack of better term, "old" people expressions. Matter of fact I never was one of the persons who vowed never to mimic their parents or walk in their shoes. But I see firsthand vast differences my children face compared to the issues I faced as a child. Many of those things I never saw my mother deal with for me to learn from. I'm sure the same can be said of her and her generation compared to her parent's generation. So hence the expressions such as, "Well when I was kid..." They don't necessarily get passed down from parent to child. They just are.

There are truths to the expressions our parents used to say and they are more than just learned phrases passed down by being pounded into our heads. There's truths to them. They make sense and show some of our wisdom. As I experience life, do, learn. I'm getting older and thus better. 

I'm curious, when some of you noticed those phrases creeping into your regular use of vocabulary. Which ones did you find yourself using more often and how did you react once you realized you were beginning to sound like your parents?

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Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

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Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

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