Saturday, June 11, 2011

Embrace Your Anger. Feel the Power of the Dark Side.

Over the past few days, instead of filling every moment of free time in front of a computer screen playing Dr. Mario at, I have decided to do something more productive. I don't set myself a very high standard there as just about anything else would be more productive but, anyway, I've been archiving all the old photos from my hard drive.

When you have kids, even one kid, in the age of digital photography, when paying for prints is no longer an issue, merely hard drive space, you end up with a lot of pictures. I mean a lot of pictures. I'd be willing to bet that JFK was not photographed as often as my kids have been. There are fewer stars in all the pictures ever taken by the Hubble Telescope than there are pictures of my kids on my computer.

After backing up all the pictures to DVDs and moving them to my newer, larger computer, I decided that time normally spent playing old obsolete video games that I claim are better than any of the new games out there only because I refuse to admit that the world has progressed without me, would be better spent going through the pictures one at a time and making any necessary edits. It has been some time since I've done any photo cataloging and the red eye removal features have come a long way. So, as I rotated photos to their correct orientation and zeroed in on those pesky red eyes one by one, I stumbled upon a discovery.

If you are anything like me, meaning a neurotic parent to pre-teen children, you may already find yourself dreading the inevitable time when your kids hate your guts. By that, of course, I mean the teenage years. I, for one, already imagine the day when my sons will be around me with their friends and laugh at my behavior, much like my peer group did throughout most of my time as a teen. I picture myself running to my room and crying into my pillow all over again. The only question is, should I pour my heart out into a traditional book diary or should I go video diary, potentially posting the results on YouTube for some unknown reason so that my very personal and intimate thoughts can be seen and ridiculed by thousands more people. Then again, when it comes to exposing embarrassing thoughts to anyone who cares to hear them, I suppose that's exactly what I'm doing now with this blog.

But I digress.

The finding that I wanted to pass on to you all was a method by which to desensitize yourself to the impending mental anguish that your children will put you through when they reject your existence as a human being for a few years. When it does happen, maybe you can avoid the massive heartbreak, instead spreading said heartbreak over several years. When your teenager attempts to make you feel like dirt, you can grin through it and say, "You can't break this heart, kid, because I've been slowly chipping away at it for the last decade in preparation for this very day. Bring it."

Look through the old photos of your kids. The round little faces, the smiles that more and more teeth slowly begin to appear in, the absolute joy on their faces that the simplest interaction with you would illicit. Then, as you progress through the pictures chronologically, notice how they seem happy less often. Take note of the times when their smile is forced. See if you can recall taking some of those pictures and hearing your kid whine in between them, "How many more are you going to take," because while you and your family were trying to share a nice dinner at that restaurant for once he couldn't wait to get to that stupid freaking skill crane near the front door even though those cranes can't lift anything for crap anymore and the toys contained within them have probably been there for about eight years. Go ahead, notice how over time you already start to get just as many sullen, angry looks at the camera as you get smiles.

Let your anger and you disappointment build. A nice, firm callous will form over your emotions and, before you know it, you will be making sarcastic comments to them before they can make any to you. You'll begin treating them as if they are already teenagers despite being a solid five years away from it. They'll never see it coming and you'll have the upper hand.

I have already found myself doing this. As I prepare to take a picture now, I recall how when I used to tell my sons to smile they just did as they were told. Instead of saying, "Say cheese," I give them a dirty look and say, "You are going to stand right there and smile for this picture or I swear before all things holy I will put you right to bed when we get home and then throw away all your toys and I'll burn the ones you like most so that you can't possible rescue them from the garbage."

They never saw it coming and, man, did it make for a great picture. They held perfectly still and I could have used the picture for dental records you saw so many teeth.

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