The Last Teenager

CAN YOU HEAR ME? I’m talking to you. Stop playing your game for a minute and listen.
Your mom and I need some help with a few things. We’re both busy working and would appreciate some assistance with household chores and a few errands now and again.

The bottled water jugs need to be refilled, your brother has a prescription ready for pick up at the pharmacy, we need two gallons of milk…ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?

When are you going to get started on your life? You’ve graduated from school. I think it’s time you found a job. Are you even giving any thought to moving out on your own someday? When?

I see the game console is fully warmed up. It seems like it never gets a rest. How can you spend 22 hours a day twiddling your fingers on that controller and playing the same repetitive game over and over?

The pet cages need cleaning. The chinchillas are flinging their bedding into the room again. The rabbit needs water. The guinea pigs peed in their food bowl…CAN YOU HEAR WHAT I’M SAYING?

“Dad,” the young adult answered. “I hear you all the time. It’s always the same thing. Do this, do that, do something. I’m taking a break and playing a few games before I have to get a job and go to work the next 50 years. Let me have this time.”

I was stunned.
A response.
An actual verbal response.

I had grown accustomed to vacant stares and an occasional grunt. Perhaps even a frown if I stood in front of the gaming screen accompanied by a great sigh and dramatic flick to pause the game.
Never had I imagined we might someday bridge the gap and reengage with actual words.

I didn’t know what to say and within mere seconds, the episode passed into history.

Someone or something you can’t communicate with through writing (a baby, a pet, an object) can understand every single word you write today, for one day only. What do you tell them?

Verbal Jousting Needs How Many?

A lively group discussion, an intimate tête-à-tête, an inner monologue — in your view, when it comes to a good conversation, what’s the ideal number of people? 

The Canadian Mounted Police have a saying, “One mob, one Mountie, even odds.”

That’s how it is when I’m involved in a lively group discussion. I can work the crowd into a laughing frenzy or a hostile debate, sometimes both if the mood strikes me just right. How many people are too much depends upon the topic. Some rough guidelines to follow are provided here for your consideration.

Sex? Just the two of you.

Bodily functions? Up to three. Shouting for toilet paper to be brought to you is allowed in a family setting.

Health issues? There appears to be no limit to the size of the audience on this one. Stand in line at the grocery store and listen to the seniors describe their ailments in detail to anyone in listening range.

Politics/Religion? It’s an international stage where no one convinces very many to change their minds. Best avoided.

Sports? It varies with the particulars and the gender of the competitors and spectators.

How did curling end up in the Olympics? Those people are considered athletes worthy of competing at the highest level? Come on! It’s ice bowling without pins or beer!

American football? Whatever. Less than one hour of actual play continually interrupted by group planning sessions. “What should we do next? Hey, I know. Let’s try to get past them and move the ball further down the field. If we’re lucky, we can make it all the way and then do it again.”

I could go on, but my wife is standing near me watching me write this. I think she wants to talk to me.