Lawful Good

(scene opens in full airplane)

Beta: (spastic) Look! Look! Look! (pointing out window)
Alpha: (white knuckled, grits) Could you not?
Me: (calmly reading Kindle) Alpha, it’s okay. We’re not even turbulent.
Beta: Yeah, Alpha, not like we’re about to drop out of the sky in a flaming wreck.
Alpha: Seriously? Why would you say that?
Me: We’re in a tin can being thrown through the air, held aloft by the Laws of Physics.
Alpha: MOM!
Me: Math is magic.

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Begin the beginning

(scene opens in mostly clean dinning room)

Me: (sets up laptops) Duolingo for everyone!
Kids: (groan)
Me: Come on, you can do this.

(ten minutes of failure noises from the computers)

Gamma: I don’t know anything!
Beta: This program is stupid, it doesn’t know anything.
Alpha: Why can’t I figure this out?
Me: (goes to check each computer screen, obviously struggling with calm) Okay. Somehow I failed to give you the explicit instruction to start on “Basic”. You realize you’re trying to do the levels that already assume a level of fluency?
Alpha: (defensively) There were less lessons at that level!
Me: But you don’t speak German!
Beta: But if there were only three exercises, how hard could it be? There are fourteen on the first level! That’s a lot harder!
Me: (facepalms) You need to learn how to say hello before you can recite poetry, guys.
Gamma: Hola, mama!
Beta: (snarls) That’s not German!
Me: (Throws up hands) SHE’S LEARNING SPANISH!

Learn you good

(scene opens in cluttered parlor)

Me: (enters, sees Gamma on the computer) Gamma? What are you doing?
Gamma: Watching videos of games! (Pouty lipped cartoon character on the screen, with lipstick choices)
Me: (flinches inwardly) How about you watch something a little more intellectually stimulating than putting fake make up on a fake person?

(mother leaves, back momentarily, sees Gamma typing)

Me: Now what are you watching?
Gamma: I’m trying to find Kurzgesagt. Is that okay?
Me: (pauses, impressed) That’s fine.

Taken on faith

(scene opens up in tossed dining room, everyone on laptops)

Beta: (sounds of frustration) That doesn’t make sense!
Me: (getting up from chair) What’s the problem?
Beta: I’m doing powers and it keeps telling me I’m wrong! Six to the power of zero! It isn’t six or zero, so what is it?!? Khan Academy is broken!
Me: (stares at screen, recalls distant memory, types, computer makes victory noise)
Beta: (outraged) A one?!? How is six to the zero power a one?!
Me: I don’t remember why it is, it just is. (sits back down)
Alpha: Math is stupid.
Me: Math is the Universal Language, but sometimes language doesn’t make sense.

Someone reminded me what I once said

I wrote this January 2, 2016 – before I caught up with new-fangled things like blogs and Twitter – so I’m pushing it on in case someone finds something useful in it.

******
Dear Millennials and Younger,

I believe in you.

I know, I’m taking a different route than the endless “What’s Wrong With America/Kids These Days….” I didn’t/don’t much like it when Boomers say it to me, so I’m not going to say it to you. You are the product of the younger Boomers/older Gen-Xers and “kids my age” are already talking shit about you guys as if we were the ones storming beaches at Normandy and you’re pinko commies because you dare read FB while riding the bus. I used to read books on the bus and hated it when some stranger thought they could talk to me. Don’t believe the meme-y bullshit that not talking to your seat partner is bringing the decline of civilization. Utter and complete bullshit.

Yeah, ok, you have the internet and better video games than we did at any age you want to compare to, but I also had it better than my parents than I did at whatever age.

For example?

None of us ever lost a classmate to polio or measles. We had Mtv. Hell, we had tv. We had the start of mobile phones, so it didn’t matter if they weighed a ton and came in their own tote bag. You just have way better/cheaper versions.
You guys live in a future that I could only dream about. Nothing in the cut-rate science fiction I loved was ever going to come true. Not in my life time. It hurt knowing that. But now I can watch new Dr. Who episodes on my Star Trek-like communicator device. I can sit in my yard with a computer that weighs as much as my shoe and catch up with friends I’ve not physically seen in 20 years and talk to friends on the other side of the world. In real time. Without a long distance phone bill. Do we even have a long distance charges any more, or are they just now “roaming”?

I cried the day I saw a picture of a sunrise from the surface of Mars.

Of Mars.

Do you have any idea how fucking amazing that is to someone who thought we’d never see the surface in my lifetime?

I live in the fucking future and everyone who’s hit middle age who can’t see that over bitching about how awful you guys are are narrow minded old-before-their-time miserly scared-of-the-dark fearful curmudgeons that, quite simply, embarrass me. Go ahead and be embarrassed of them and dismiss them for giving up. For being afraid. After all the bitching we got from those that came before, you think we would have learned something. Learned how to be better, learned how new isn’t automatically the worst thing ever. Seriously, older generations have been bitching about the younger since the Roman Empire (documentable) and likely before. If we never had evolved and “did something new” then only unlettered barbarians would be wearing pants and “real men” would be rocking the office toga. Take that as a simple “Don’t learn history, doomed to repeat” example.

And go ahead and rock that office toga if you want.

I’m sure there’s some stuff that you do that mystifies me. I’m sure you’ll be doing something that I hate. Your music will supplant mine. Your culture will supplant mine. Your fashion will supplant mine. It is a reminder that all my generation will pass away. That once we were important and once we had power and once we had influence. The Greatests didn’t like it, the Boomers still don’t like it, we are now getting a taste of it, and one day you too will hate what the next wave will be. You can give up and insist that the “best music ever” just happened to be during those years you were in High School/College and you’ve never moved past it, or you can hear something new right now and like it and not only is it not selling out, but it’s not giving up on yourself.

Don’t hate them, those that are coming after you. Accept that seasons come and go and listen to new music and wear new clothes and embrace that new technology that your science fiction suggests could now be possible, understanding it’s probably already being attempted somewhere. There seems to be less of a gap between your world and your science-fiction and I envy you that. I envy you all the things that I might not live to see you experience because I am already in my 40s. It’s just not possible it’ll come fast enough.

You are the ones supplanting the Boomers, not us, and I gladly make way for you to see what you do with it. You have the numbers, you have the vision, you still have the youth and all that supposed optimism and potential that theoretically goes with it.

Give me something awesome, Millennials.

I know you can do it.

If she gets the jokes, we’re bad parents

(scene opens in chilly kitchen, hear Gamma off screen talking to her new Kindle)

Gamma: (runs into kitchen) Daddy! Daddy! Look at my boobs!
Parents: (freeze, share concerned look)
Husband: Your…what?
Gamma: (proudly) Boobs! She’s my new pet! (turns Kindle to show off screen and cartoon blob dressed as Harry Potter)
Me: (at Husband) Boos. As in scary ghost “Boo!” The game is called “Boos”.
Gamma: Mom, I want to change her name from Boos, but it won’t let me I want to name her after me!
Me: Let me try. (several minutes of trying to edit a stubborn profile)
Husband: Just put her name after Boos if it won’t let you erase it.
Me: Awesome. Now we have Boos Ser as a name and it won’t let me erase that either.
Gamma: (impatient) I’ll just play mom. (Grabs Kindle) C’mon, Boos Ser! Let’s play! (runs off)
Husband: Boozer. Good job.
Me: Well, now she’ll want to show off her Boozer instead of her Boobs. (throws up hands) Not my fault the clicky game has a shitty interface.

Big Brother is Mommy’s friend

(scene opens in dim dinning room)

Me: (putting lunch box on the table) I packed your lunch, Gamma. Do you like being able to get milk at the cafeteria?
Gamma: (slurping cereal) Yeah. I get chocolate.
Me: That’s nice. No more rice krispy treats. That account is for milk only.
Gamma: (pauses, stares wide eyed)
Me: I can see online what you’re buying and I have the same problem with your brothers. That food account is for milk and lunches, not treats and chips.
Gamma: That’s creepy.

What does that even mean?

(scene opens in tossed dining room)

Beta: Here mom, turns out we didn’t need this for school after all. The supply list was written by last year’s teacher and she’s not here.
Me: (takes thumb drive) Oh. Okay. (goes to put it in desk drawer)
Beta: Wait, don’t I get to keep it?
Me: What are you going to do with it? You don’t have access to a computer.
Beta: I’ll use it!
Me: Doing what?!
Beta: Filling it with dank memes! (assumes Troll Face)
Me: (WTF look) Go play.