Those of us who are senior members of The Digs staff recall with great precision what it’s like to be a teenager. We constantly remind our kids of this fact. We make it a point to start every parent-child conversation with the phrase, “When I was your age …. “
Then we impart valuable advice on dress, hairstyles (we recommend the mullet because, well, it’s timeless), relationships (“You’re not having one”), lunch room food, school, movies and music.
Recently we passed on to our children our best Steve Miller Band cassette tape, which we played constantly last summer while driving to Rehoboth Beach in our Plymouth Neon. It’s our opinion that kids these days need constant exposure to classic rock songs such as “Fly Like an Eagle” and “Jet Airliner.” Otherwise they’ll end up listening to Neil Diamond.
The kids must love the tape, because it’s never been returned.
Of course, as soon as we begin recalling our youthful days, our teenage children grab their phones and type the knowledge we impart. That’s one of the miracles of the modern age — wisdom can be spread to three or four people all at once.
Last week, for example, Daughter No. 1 typed on her phone, “Dad sez the original Carrie is the best movie of all time. LOL.”
LOL, said Daughter No. 2, means “Lots of Learning.” Our kids are proud their parents are so hip to the latest slang.
“I can dig it,” we replied, “to the max!”
Both our daughters immediately typed on their phones again. They grinned wildly — they couldn’t wait to pass on to their friends such a jivin’ phrase. In fact, we’re pretty sure we started a trend. Don’t be surprised if, one day soon, your teen offers a hand and says, “Be shagadelic and gimme some skin.”
Of course, it’s tough being a teenager. The challenges, we realize, can be devastating. We’ll never forget how difficult it was to dance “The Hustle” in those two-tone platform shoes we bought on sale at Gimbels in 1978. Gads! It’s a wonder we survived.
A few days ago, in a fit of nostalgia, we ventured into the PG picture files and pulled every folder labeled, “Teenagers.” Each contained dozens of crisp black-and-white prints showing kids dancing the twist or holding hands or trying to look cool by smoking cigarettes and wearing Led Zeppelin T-shirts. We couldn’t relate.
In our opinion, pictures of teenagers should be taken on an ancient Kodak camera held by a mother with horn-rimmed glasses and a beehive hairdo. The prints should be color — faded color. We wondered: Where’s the picture of the awkward, pimple-faced boy wearing a baby blue leisure suit and standing next to a girl with a Farrah Fawcett hairdo? Where is the photo of the bratty kid sister wearing a “Bay City Rollers” T-shirt?
We immediately rushed home, pulled out dusty photo album dated “1975-79” and showed our daughters pictures that proved we navigated our teenage years with class and style. All they could say was, “Oh, my gosh!” and “You’ve got to be kidding me!.” They clasped their hands over their mouths. They were so amazed.
Then they took out their phones and took pictures of our old pictures and sent them to their friends. We could tell they were so proud.
As they finished sending messages, we offered one last piece of advice.
“Don’t say ‘goodbye,’” we urged, “say ‘Catch you on the rebound.’”
They were so moved they couldn’t contain their emotions. Their faces turned red and tears streamed down their cheeks.
We’re hoping the Steve Miller Band comes to Pittsburgh soon. We know a few girls who’d love to have tickets.