Tangible discourse with teenage boys is a difficult thing to achieve in the best of times. But as I listened to the video game gun and laser fire coming from the upstairs family room last Saturday mingling with the cacophonous strains of an electric guitar I didn’t even try to tell them to turn the volume down. A few hours earlier as the stream of teenagers raced upstairs carrying everything from sleeping bags, stacks of video games, and the ubiquitous snack food items I had accidentally overheard one of the boys say that Darth Spoilboy, my son, had the “cool dad.” Being that none in the small group heading upstairs openly disagreed or laughed made my day.
How such a title had come my way was a little beyond my understanding since I had never allowed much in the way of outrageous behavior and in fact had shut the breaker off one time to the family room after repeated yells for the guys to tone things down were ignored. Never the less I did take a sort of sanctimonious pride in hearing that I had been award such a title as compared to the other nearby dads who are far more conventional or, dare I say, boring being caught up in the near Stalinist conformity and regimented lifestyle of Southern suburbia.
While other dads are willingly tied down by indentured servitude to manicured lawns forever demanding more and expensive fertilizers and maintenance equipment I shrug off such bourgeois mindsets and do my best to let my lawn grow wild and free. I refuse to be condemned to mindless serfdom, forever tied to a tiny piece of land praying to the gods of mortgage brokers and real estate that my piece of the pallid and stale American Dream never declines in value. Only my lovely and charming wife forces me at least twice a summer to trim the curb and pick up the limbs from our trees that have fallen off. As for the leaves that fall from the trees during autumn I let my ally the wind blow them happily down the street and into other people yards. After all the anal retentive ones with the high tech riding lawnmowers with the super suction vacuum attachments might as well have the chance to enjoy their toys even more.
As much as it might irritate those around me I revel in my non-conformity happily embracing the liberal/tree hugging/anti-capitalist/gay marriage supporting mantle declaring my opposition to those for whom Rush “Oxycontin addicted lard ass” Limbaugh and Glenn “ insane corporate lackey” Beck are intellectual heroes. On more than a few occasions I have walked past such people and heard them whisper, “Yeah, he’s a liberal, and he was in the military, I wonder how he could have gone so bad.”
So why does this make me the “cool dad”? Because I believe the younger generation understands that the residual traits from an even earlier period, which today are called modern political Conservatism, are the dying embers of a fading fire flaring up one last time before the more tolerant and progressive younger generation and simple demographics assign them to the dustbin of history.
Never the less as Saturday went on I did have to run interference for the various young Sith Lords saving or maybe enslaving the galaxy. My daughter, Miss Wiggles, had a few friends of hers over and they took an interest in what the boys were doing upstairs. Several times I had to pull the girls out after they snuck up to where the boys were and tried to stage a coup by grabbing the controllers for the X-Box360 wanting to play the games themselves.
Only using the ultimate, urbane coolness of the “Cool Dad” was I able to play the peacemaker separating the two groups and restoring balance to the house. Well, ultimate coolness and the fact that I agreed to play tea party with them, complete with me wearing a seriously floppy hat, plastic jewelry, and day-glo pink feather boa. I drew the line at the matching pink tutu, even though I was shocked that my daughter had one I could even wear. Oh yeah, any pictures that might surface of me attending such an event dressed in floppy hat, plastic jewelry, or feather boa are pure fabrications created on the computer by my enemies….or my wife.
However the day was climaxed late in the evening when I decided to go to bed early. Nothing was on television that I wanted to see, the boys were in full swing with their activities, Miss Wiggles was in bed and I figured I would read until I dozed off. Though sometime after 11:00pm I was awakened by voices in my room.
“Dad?” I heard my son say in the darkness next to me.
“What’s up dudes?” I responded using the ultimate coolness lingo to him and his cohorts lingering in the background. Now I was a little worried. The last time my son had woke me up on a weekend while he had friends over was when he had broken the two month old 40” high-definition LCD by banging into it with the controller from his last X-Box360. That legendary calamity will be remembered alongside my wife turning the wrong way down a crowded one-way street in Washington DC, me gouging a four-inch strip on the bumper of the brand new Corolla by bringing the garage door down too early, and Miss Wiggles taking a bottle of red hair dye to the dog.
“Dad, someone coming to the door in a few minutes, can you let him in? We’re in the middle of an important part of the game.” My loyal son said with such earnest. But I was tired and didn’t want to be disturbed. So what did these fine examples of young men do? They all grabbed my feet and arms and bodily lifted me out of the bed carrying me to the couch. Only such a Cool Dad would receive such treatment and I was honored, except for the part when the tossed me the last couple of feet. However, when duties calls I have always been one to answer.
I didn’t really have to ask about, or wait very long for, the person they wanted me to let in. I saw the pizza guy coming up the steps and intercepted him before he had a chance to knock or ring the doorbell alerting the boys. This wasn’t the first time for such an occurrence, last summer the boys had ordered food without telling me and its wasn’t until I had an irritated delivery guy on my doorstep demanding money for the six pizzas he was holding did I know anything about it.
This time it was only two large pizzas and a couple of sodas, which I paid for and then hid after grabbing three slices for myself. Being caught up in the game it was a good while before the boys realized they should have long since received their pizzas.
They apparently suspended their efforts to save or enslave the galaxy and raucous guitar playing long enough to come down in mass searching for their delivered booty. Shock flashed across their faces as they saw me finishing the last of my three slices and gulping down their precious soda.
“Dad, when did the pizza guy come?” My Sith Lord son Darth Spoilboy asked. I actually heard a few grumbles from his friends who over the years I had given Sith titles to as well. Which is something they thought was a laugh riot.
“Oh, almost an hour ago,” I said smiling knowing what I was going to make them do for pulling the pizza trick again.
They didn’t like it but I made them bow down and declare their allegiance to the ultimate master of the Sith, Darth Cooldad, and to forever abandon all attempts to order pizza unless I have a chance to add to my own pizza to the purchase. After they all agreed and I received the tribute of another slice and more soda I then released my young Sith apprentices and started watching Saturday Night Live and reveling in my greatness and power.