Even though we say we don’t, we all seek at least a little bit of approval from our kids. We want to be the cool parent (impossible) or the trendy parent (not in THAT shirt you aren’t) or the wise, approachable parent (very limited results). With my own teens, I seem to mostly fall into the applause abyss when it comes to keeping on top of technology. I’m not cool, far from trendy, and only wise in the ways of consistently choosing the slowest line at the store and never properly dressing for the weather. Technology is my only hope to remain relevant in my children’s eyes. My frail, aging self esteem insists on it.
My tech gap is around language. I’m a fan of words. REAL words. Not the ones that keep sneaking into Webster’s Word of The Year like canarding* or labradorescent* which are however both spectacular words that I would encourage you to use in day to day conversation. The language I am falling short on is abbreviations used in text.
I laughed in condescension at my older brother a while ago when he was struggling with lol. He had no idea what it meant, so I judged him, laughed at his ignorance, and explained it to him like he was 5. He’s my older brother…he was an ass to me on many occasions when we were young, so I feel no shame in my treatment of him. It seems however that karma had other plans for me. Half of the texts I get from my boys are staccato bursts of letters and emojis, telling me what time they’ll be home or how their science test went.
brb ?h8r??lol jk?
Can’t talk now, but I didn’t do well on my science test because the teacher sucks, just kidding I did great.
Or maybe he’s on a bus that can’t go less than 100 or it explodes. Or he’s finally figured out how to make a bong out of an apple. It could be anything really.
The part that is the most difficult to manage is that their speech is affected by this now too. They speak in memes, which for those of you over 30 means they speak in catch phrases, jingles and bad motivational posters. When we were young, a meme was a quickly drawn picture of a dick in a bathroom stall or Alfred E Newman from Mad Magazine with ‘Me, worry?’. Now, when I bake a batch of cookies I am thanked by him yelling Damn Daniel. If my coffee cup gets knocked off the counter and I would be RIP RIP Harambe consoled by my teen.
**This just in…I am being told that the memes mentioned above are dead memes and I am an embarrassment to the internet by quoting them and I should just go back to Facebook, because Facebook is for old people.
He’s right. I am too old for this shit.
Trying to keep up with this is impossible. I’m constantly irrelevant and subject to persistent eye rolls from my boys. I have managed to turn it around to my advantage though. For every meme he uses to speak to me, I counter back with an interesting, yet irrelevant snippet of actual knowledge.
A text conversation with boy when I tell him he has to mow the lawn tonight:
“Oof. G2G bro. Understandable”
To which I reply:
“A hen will lay roughly 600 eggs in their lifetime”
Our banter goes back and forth with:
“Are you drunk?”
“No. Just using the internet to increase my knowledge base”
“Good job mom. Nailed it”
“Mow the lawn. It increases microbial activity in the soil which makes earthworms happy and helpful”
I left it at that with him, but I did tell all my friends on Facebook about it.