February 02, 2005

Old Skool

It's a sad day when you realize you're talking like your parents. Some friends of ours invited us over for dinner, and I became middle-aged on the spot. Reality can be a harsh mistress.

Justin has been my friend since high school, and until last year, he's kept a bachelor pad. Then he met Stacey, while he was wearing a kilt for a friend's wedding in Florida. Long story short, Stacey and her three kids are now living with Justin in the house. When they had us over for dinner last night, the place had, without a doubt, been made-over by Stacey and her daughter to be a family sort of place.

[For the purposes of this blog, the children are Jen (17), Pete (12) and Mike (9)]

Jen was out studying when we sat down to dinner. The adults sat at the table while Pete and Mike ate in front of the TV. Of course, it took us longer to eat, since we were talking. When the boys were done, they kept on coming in and out of the kitchen, looking for more food and muttering street talk.

"The kids here talk a bit more 'urban' than my boys were used to, and they have picked it up," said Stacey, with a flat grin. You know the type. The one that all parents make when they've tried everything.

I was telling Miho some of the history between Justin and I when Pete came in talking to himself. "Old school..." Pete said, interrupting. "Old school..." Nothing else. Not saying anything WAS Old School, but just repeating the word. A dangling hip-hop adjective. My mouth let go of the clutch before my brain was in gear. "Do you even know what 'Old School' is?" I scolded. "It's stuff from MY era. In an 'Old School' corporal punishment is approved, and they'd swat your butt with a paddle for talking out of turn!"

When my brain came back from coffee break and read the transcript, all I could do was blink. Where the heck did THAT come from? I know that women go through a chemical change after childbirth that sometimes affects their moods and personality. Could the same be true for men? Or is it just parenthood that is the catalyst? I was reminded of Bill Cosby's line: "Kids, your parents USED to be cool! You made them this way."

Later, Pete came back through the kitchen and started talking about "The Man" doing this or that, like a character out of "The Boondocks". "Look, do you even know who THE MAN is?" went my mouth. My brain was taking a bathroom break. "I hate to be the one to say this, but it's YOU! You are 'The Man.'" He squinted at me and grinned. "And I'm not complimenting you with that, saying 'You're the MAN,' You're cool, don't get me wrong. What I'm saying that 'The Man' is, in fact, you."

I was using FingerQuotes(tm) and helpful hand gestures, but he just shrugged and walked off. At this point, my brain came back and asked if he missed anything. The liver, who was left in charge, brought him up to speed. I've found the liver to be a poor understudy for the job. He's always looking up digestive-related words in Roget's Thesaurus and completely ignoring the Central Nervous System. "Imbue" is presently his favorite.

After dinner, Mike grabbed Matthew and ran into his room. The two of them are truly kindred spirits; not particularly bad, just energetic and wild. Ten minutes later, Mike was calling us in "You've gotta see this!" Melissa and I ran up and saw Matthew, little almost-three Matthew, playing "Hulk" on Mike's PlayStation2. AND WINNING.

Now I was a video game junkie ever since I played Pong on my grandfather's TV at age four. In middle school, I couldn't say two words to a girl, but I beat "Contra" on my NES without using the cheat code. One time, in college, (no, not at Band Camp) I was so into playing "Populous" on a neighbor's PC, I didn't notice that the room had emptied out, the lights were off and the guy was in his loft with his girlfriend.

I have the gamer gene. And now I see that I have passed it on to Matthew. There he was, furiously mashing the buttons, making Hulk pummel the tanks and soldiers. Tears of pride filled my eyes. I whispered to Melissa, "He is...the Chosen One!"

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