How NOT to be a teenager: The art of remaining tolerable while your peers whine, demand, sulk and smell
11 April, 2010

Catty has teen trouble. Apologies for the redundancy; if I’d just written ‘Catty has a teenager’ the trouble  could quite easily have been inferred. Because ‘yoof’ are appaling, aren’t they? Demanding the world but not even prepared to get out of bed before midday to get it.  Convinced they know everything and anyone older than mid-twenties is a hopeless dried up old fossil who, if they ever had a clue, lost it years ago. And they’re as dangerous to themselves as they are irritating to others, displaying a breath-takingly alarming combination of risk-taking with lack of judgement and tendency to experimentation with alcohol and drugs. What’s there to love?

Recent advances in neuroscience are interesting, if unhelpful. It seems the teen brain devolves to the level of a two-year-old’s… “Mummy, want dat! Want dat now!! Waaah”… before achieving a more sensible grown-up organisation. (Note: Those of you married to, or familiar with, men may have noticed that the final ‘maturity’ phase of development is frequently dramatically delayed. In some cases, death of advanced old age will be achieved before the ‘grown-up’ phase is reached.) Still, the knowledge that your teenager’s brain circuitry is as scrambled as the eggs going cold on the breakfast table while you invite, cajole and then threaten them to get out of the damn bed and get ready for school is of little consolation or practical benefit.

That’s where we come in. There must be a cure, I reckon. Or, if not a cure, some guidelines for ameliorating the condition until maturity – eventually – emerges. Here are some of mine:

  1. Shower or bathe thoroughly, at least once a day. Pay special attention to your stinky feet and lank greasy hair. No-one but you enjoys the way you reek when you don’t.
  2. Ask yourself, “Would I get a toddler drunk, give it the car keys and then hop in the boot while it drove me around late at night at high speed?” If the answer is no, then ask yourself why, when your mate Davo… whose brain is currently functioning at the level of a two-year-old’s…  is driving, are you stupid enough to believe that this is a hectic way to spend Saturday night?
  3. Only have intoxicated, meaningless sex at 3 a.m. with people you’d be prepared to have sex with while completely sober in broad daylight. And, anytime you fornicate, make sure you and your partner are safe. STD rates are through the roof, again. If you lot are so smart, what’s with that?

What are your anti-terrible-teen tips?

Go Go Crazy
24 November, 2009

My small son has become addicted to go-go pets. Be afraid, parents and associates of the knee-high:

  1. Their accessories and outfits cost more than an adult human’s;
  2. When they accompany the child into your bed at night  and somebody rolls on them, they start chirping and squeaking and tangle their wheels in your hair… not always the hair on your head, either;
  3. Having snarled their axles with human hair ripped screaming from reluctant victims, they don’t go-go anymore. You are then required – no, compelled – to put on hold whatever it is you would prefer to do, take the stop-stop apart with microsurgical instruments, unclog, re-lube and screw it  back together again. Hopefully, returned to go-go status. Only then will the high pitched whining from the affected child cease.

I will say this for them. They’re crush resistant and as yet the dog hasn’t tried to eat one. So when their plan for world domination reaches the unstoppable juggernaut phase, I’m suggesting flamethrowers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.