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Friday, Jan. 13, 2006
This is interesting. A little email missive from one of my adoring (and exceptionally well tipped) bartenders, reprinted here with all its arrow pointing hyperbole intact:

>JUST A REMINDER....31 days from today, all cell phone numbers are being >released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale >calls. ...YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS... >To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: >888-382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a >minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years.

I replied back to my friend that this was the first Iíd heard of it. Which should surprise no one. Head firmly ensconced in sand, thatís me.


In other email news, someone posted a question that wasnít entirely unexpected, given the content of my last two entryís. ďHow do you reconcile your sonís pot use with your drinkiní? Hmmm?Ē Or something to that effect.

Fair question. No reason for me to get outraged and try to snark back with the very sort of self righteous defense so common to the ďSíall About ME!Ē generation that I unfortunately was born into. Given any cosmic choice in the matter, I would just as soon have been born after the Civil War, and checked out just after WW2. Wouldíve had to go through that whole Prohibition thing, though. Irony, thy name is Outfoxed.

Beer and I happen to get along quite nicely. Whether itís a tall cold one after a long day spent whittling functional building products or perched on a barstool and conversing with others of my ilk. I happen to be a very mellow sort of drinker, the Norm of the Cheers gang, the pleasant rubber of elbows on long surfaces of oak. I donít care for the more high-test grades of liquor, but that doesnít mean Iíve never had Ďem. I like the history of beer, think most of the world would be better off if they had a couple at the end of the day and wish that the posers and stompers of the modern day work world could better remember how they behaved after two beers rather than how present themselves sober, when they feel the spotlight, and proceed to act out their own self-importance in front of people they are determined to impress.

Ganga and me is a little more complex.

Iím not a regular user. It could accurately be said that Iím not a user at all. I donít buy it, donít look to buy it and darn sure donít grow it. Damn stuff costs too much.

That said, if, in the privacy of a friends house and under the right scenario, if someone offered? Sure, Iím guilty as charged. Itís a very enjoyable thing to do. But Iíll bet Iíve turned it down just as often as Iíve tried it. My pot smoking friends (thereís maybe . . . 3?) are reasonable adults with an herbal quirk. They be meaniní no harm, mon. And I get along just fine with that.

But itís illegal. Argue all you want about the moral hypocrisy betwixt beer and pot, legal and illegal. I wonít disagree quite frankly. Donít make it any less likely that when caught with a bag or bong, the Man ainít gonna look too kindly on your moralizing. Getting used to that idea is very advisable. You can be discrete, you can be private, you can be halfway intelligent. Itís not all that hard.

Or, you can be dumb. You can act guilty, use the stuff as an attention getter, and attention is surely what youíll receive. 18 year old Ben has found that to be true. He isnít mature enough to handle it, and I mean both the pot and the negative attention.

Back to the original question, how do I reconcile what I do with what my kid does?

I donít. First thing to be done in this case is to hoist the parent up on a gallows and have the mob yell for his head. Could I be a better example? Well of course I could. I donít know how far anyone wants to carry this argument. In the case of the social workers assigned to do this sort of thing, they wouldnít be happy until I was a worried little busy bee, hunkered down in dutiful pursuits and Girl Scout cookies and volunteering to Save Whales. Thoroughly and unrepentedly sober, a Unitarian and a centrist Democrat. Nattering after every cause, having earnest talks with my progeny over each and every issue until we were made pure and anointed in the light of Right Thinking, the Path to Happiness according to Us.

At which point, I suppose, I could retire happy with my fully stocked 401K and spotless police record, my taxes paid and my reputation unsullied.

And bored out of my ever-loviní mind.

What Iím trying for here is to present a framework to my kids. ďHereís whatís legal, hereís what I expect. Now go, ye.Ē Much as a parent might like to, taking a kid by the hand and goose stepping through the day with them is bound to make more misery and resentment than anything I can think of. Trust me, Iíve been on that side of the road. Some of the most Ďwell raisedí kids Iíve known have come out on the other side of that as the most hell raising, demon seeking people Iíve ever met. And Iíll bet youíve met them, too.

People tend to seek their own level. The best advice I ever got about raising kids came from my Dad, and he waited until I had all three of mine on the ground to give it to me. ďAinít much more to be done than this, son. Put a roof over their head, feed Ďem and clothe Ďem. Love them. Most of the rest of it is gonna be up to them.Ē

I can live with that framework. It will be the one I pass along to them when the time comes. I canít help but think that the part about loving them will be the most important.

I like ethical e-mailers. Come on down to the bar and let me buy you a beer.

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