Aging Grunge

21 March 2001

Most important things first: congratulations go to Michelle on her first Ph.D. program acceptance! She's been admitted to the English lit Ph.D. program at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Now that the long wait is over, I can safely say things like, "I never doubted she'd make it." But I was saying those things while she was waiting, too, so I don't feel too badly about it.

I should have just stuck with that good news from last night. Just should have let it carry me through. But no. I had to read the newspaper. And it turns out there's this woman in San Jose who locked her five-year-old in the trunk of her Honda Civic every day while she was at work. She let him out over her lunch breaks. According to her lawyer, she's now undergone extensive counseling and taken parenting classes, and "has a better understanding of what occurred and is expected to be a better parent for it." Her attorney is hoping the court can have a swift resolution "so that she can concentrate on being a parent."

Okay, maybe I'm a wee tiny bit picky, but..."a better understanding of what occurred"??? How about "a better understanding of what she did"? This is not something that occurred. The kid did not just fall -- oops! -- into the trunk of a Honda Civic for four hours at a time. She put him there. As for the understanding....

Is it okay to lock your kid in the trunk for four hours? Show of hands: how many of you hesitated on that one? How many of you had a little bit of doubt, or started to think about circumstances? "Well, a Civic, no, of course not, but if it had been a Grand Am...." Any of you with your hands up: stay away from my kids, when I have some. Forever.

I don't think this is about understanding. I think it is a perfectly valid criterion for being a parent, being able to figure out -- without "exensive counseling" -- that it's not okay to lock your kid in the trunk. I think that focusing on parenting is the last thing this woman needs to do ever again in her life. I know that baseball gives you three strikes. But I think she used up hers when she locked the kid in the trunk at the beginning of the first day, when she did it again at the end of the lunch hour, and then came back and did it again the next day. No. You don't get kids any more when you do that.

A couple of times, Amber has said that she thinks people should have to get parenting licenses. And I think that's a great idea -- as long as it's Amber who's issuing the licenses. Not me, because -- as we discovered in yesterday's entry -- I'm too quick with the smite button. Not the government. The government. Sheesh. Like they've done such a great job with sex ed. Or driver's licenses. Or, heck, literacy. Our current system has had its three strikes. I think it's Amber's turn.

On a totally different note: I ordered some nice, pretty undies from Victoria's Secret. What I got was a cardigan sweater and two white cotton bras (not my size). So I have to ship the stuff back and get them to try again. Dorks. And, as Mark pointed out, of all the wrong stuff that could have arrived from Victoria's Secret, how boring. I just feel thwarted.

And speaking of being thwarted, At Home is still being silly. Now I can upload things, or at least Timprov can by some back-door method -- but I can't use our cute little FTP program, nor can I view my own files once they're up there. So. If you can read this stuff, and you spot some grievous error, let me know. Or if you see the fnords. Let me know that, too.

Guess how easy it is to find the population data for Americans of Chinese descent in 1970 and 1980. Just guess. Nope, harder than that. Harder than that, too. The answer is Really Darn Hard. Now guess how hard it is to find factual first-person accounts from young Chinese immigrants who did not later become famous. Go ahead. Guess what? It's harder than the population data. Yay, earning my money!

Or something.

I'm listening to the "P" section of Timprov's CDs while I work this afternoon. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers began it, and now I've gone backwards to Pearl Jam. Backwards again. Wow. "Alive" is on right now, and I feel like I ought to be in Brian Digilio's big ol' green boat of a car, the one where he kept a full wet bar (in the trunk) for his camping trips. Or else in Scott's Civic (with no five-year-olds in the trunk!), having to knock on the radio knob every five minutes to get the tuner to work again. It's funny how much I enjoy this stuff now, because I just wasn't crazy about it at the time. At least not to begin with. Pearl Jam was Scott's band. Jethro Tull was mine, only they don't play Jethro Tull on the radio very much, nor did they in the early '90s, and anyway, it was always Scott's car.

Margaret Cho has this bit where she's talking about the tunes of the Eighties, how she'll be in a nursing home going, "Ooh, play 'Hungry Like the Wolf' again!" in a quavery old lady voice. Yeah. For us grunge-era fogeys, all of our kids will think we forgot the words to our old songs, or else have lost our dentures. Only we'll have them all exactly right. I think that was particularly kind of Pearl Jam when they did "Evenflow," so that we can rock out just as much without our dentures as we ever did with a full set of teeth. Also I want to thank the Cranberries for lyrics that I feel sure will remain with us when our children's names are a blur: "Twenty-one, twenty-one, twenty-one,, today, today...."

I can just picture taking my walker down the hall at the old folks' home to listen to Scott's copy of Vitalogy, because I never got my own. Yeah. That would make him so bitter. And if we could keep a promise from nine years before and go to see the new Star Wars movie together when it came out, I think we're well on the way to being able to make each other bitter seventy years after that.

That's what friendship is all about, right?

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