Mar 30 2009
I remember when my youngest teen stopped me in the hall and asked if we could talk. Not having a whole lot to do, I obliged the lad. Without hesitation, he shoots out, “I think I am old enough to buy my own school clothes.”
I thought about it and replied, “You know, I think you’re right.”
Then we stared at each other for about a minute. He then broke the silence by saying, “Well?”
To which I replied in kind, “Well, what?” (Scintillating so far, is it not?)
He then says incredulously, as if I am a moron that was missing the obvious, “Well, I need some money!”
I said to him, “I thought you said you wanted to buy your clothes, not run to the mall and pick them out with my money. To be honest you could have done that when you were five.”
He says, “Whatever!”
That is one word that makes the hair on my neck stand up. Every time I hear it, I want to boink him right in the eyes, not hard, you know just like Mo used to do to Larry. I mentioned this because the word “whatever”, is one of the words that he uses that drives me crazy. The other one, and I don’t know why this is, is the word need.
I get tired of hearing that word come out of my children’s’ mouths. I have corrected them a thousand times. “You don’t neeeeeed the gummy bears, you waaaaant the gummy bears.”
“Whatever!” they reply. And so it goes.
We finally had it out in the mall. We weren’t there five minutes and everything his eyes set upon he needed. The proverbial straw was a pair of gym shoes.
“Oh Dad, I neeeeed these shoes, I really need them!!!! And look, they’re only a hundred dollars.”
“Only?” I said.
“Yeah,” he says.
First of all, let me tell you, I love the word “only,” especially, when it comes from the unemployed. I also have to tell you there was no way I was spending a hundred dollars for a pair of shoes that this walking hormone would outgrow on the way out of the mall.
So I looked him in the eye and said, “No, let’s go home.” Not thinking for a minute he would accept that.
“But Dad, I neeeeeeed those shoes!”
“You don’t need them, you want them.” I said. “Let me ‘splain’ something to you my little lad. First of all unless your name is Michael Jordan, never in this lifetime will you NEED a hundred dollar pair of gym shoes. But I understand how much you want the shoes, and I have forty dollars for your gym shoes.
Now I can tell you what you neeeeed!” I paused for dramatic effect, and said, “Sixty bucks.”
And for emphasis, I added “only.”
As he melted down in front of me, crying about the unfairness of it all, I strode towards the car and paused just briefly enough to utter, “Whatever!”
How are all of you holding up against the narcissistic onslaught of teenage needs? Do you cave in? Have you figured out where to draw the line?
I’d love to know! Click on the “responses” button and let us all know!