Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Curmudegeonly Lecture?

My Aunt (by marriage) recently asked me to "have a talk" with her son, my cousin Junior. He's flunked out of college, hasn't even bothered to look for work and has started smoking pot- a lot of pot.

Perhaps, my Aunt suggested, I could talk to Junior and convince him how important education is and let him know what his uneducated future holds: "...a life-time of dead-end jobs, no respect, no future, no property, no family or the ability to support one..."

"Whoa," I interrupted, " you want me to tell Junior that if he doesn't get his shit together, he will eventually wind up in circumstances like mine: a 42-year-old failure with no real prospects for achieving success, happiness or anything of real merit, ever. In other words, you don't want him to be a lost cause like me."

I was more than a little bit hurt, resentful and angry with her bleak assessment of my life. I am suddenly an anti-role model.

"Well...", she hedged, " I didn't mean....it's just that...well...", she gestured around my tiny, cluttered bachelor apartment, "...you know. You don't have things..."

"I have enough things. I do need to ask a few questions before I talk to him."

"OK."

"Why don't you just kick him out? He's 20. Toss him out."

"I can't. It would break my heart...plus his (deceased) biological father left him a lot of money. He really doesn't have to work...but it'll run out after a few years at the rate he's spending it."

"Oh...hmmm. What's his passion? Hobbies? Is he still practicing guitar? Is there anything he really grooves on? Art? Cars? Writing? Sports? Drama? It doesn't matter if he's any good at it, but he has to be into it."

"Nothing. He gets high and he shoplifts. Next time he gets busted , his trial will be as an adult."

Fuck. My plan is already shot...I can't imagine being 20 and having no passionate interests. My idea was to find out what he's really into, give him some good criticism and remind him that I once had a decent shot (as good as anyone else, anyway) at "making it" in the music business, but my obsessive passions for writing and playing music were weakened, poisoned, ignored and eventually replaced by chemical addictions of a lethal, boring and expensive sort.

I was going to advise Junior to follow his dream, but to do it sober. There will be plenty of time to get high after he gets rich and famous...just ask Mike Phelps.

But Junior has no stated dream. I'm hoping that he has one and that he just might be unwilling to tell his Mom, fearing her disapproval. We'll see.

In any case, I'm a bit miffed at having my life held as a "cautionary tale" and having myself used as an example of failure, so I'm writing a speech for Junior. What to say?

Ya know what? I'm not so bad.
If Junior grows up to "like me", I'm OK with that. I just want to know what he wants to do , is all.

I hope his mother understands.

To Be Continued At Some Point

11 comments:

whimsical brainpan said...

Okay that was more than a little rude. If her son turns out like you then that means he is sober and responsible, who gives a fuck about things.

Though I can kind of relate to him in a way. Barring the trust fund and sponging off a parent, I have no idea what I want to do with my life and I'm nearly 40.

angel said...

so she's hoping for a "do as i say don't do as i do speech"? maybe add some -ugh at the end of every word and do it like a bible-basher! is she going to pay you moyivational speaker's fees?

i think i agree with whim- i think she's rude.

yinyang said...

Wow. Not just rude, but flat-out wrong. It's not like he can't go back to school later, when he's figured things out. My parents didn't graduate from college until later in life. Although a college degree is no guarantee of success, either.

And, I really don't like how she assumes he wants his life to be a certain way - with a family, property, and a career - when she doesn't even know what he likes to do. I suspect she's going to be disappointed with Junior unless he conforms to her expectations.

citizen of the world said...

I believe I'd be staying out of that little mess! Why do a favor for this woman, anyway?

yellowdog granny said...

maybe convince him to take some of that money he has and start a business..but if he has no passions..that's impossible..how sad..take him on a tour of a jail and a hospital full of dead beat dopers, and beds full of people hooked up to oxygen because they can't breath..
if that doesn't work, just kick the crap out of him

Allan said...

Whim-Thanks. I have some ideas.

Angel- Not sure what she meant. Wit's end, she's at.

YY- It's a weird dynamic and I don't understand it.

CW- Good advice. She's a good woman, just temporarily insane- the post is extremely abridged.

JS- I'll make it my business to 'dispose' of his dope.

Sling said...

Hey!..You could use me for a bad example!
I'm really good at it.
The kid's 20 years old,he already knows everything,so not much you tell him would stick anyway.

wtyang24 said...

i agree with yinyang that "she's going to be disappointed with Junior unless he conforms to her expectations." heck, mine are like that. so i say, live your life as you want it, not as how others want it.

Craig D said...

Boy, that took a turn I wasn't expecting.

I initially assumed it was going to be how Uncle Allen nearly died from substance abuse, put his life back on track and look at him now! He's supervising the US CENSUS and contributing to society.

(Do you need an intern at the radio station? Could he help you with your show?)

Maybe, just maybe, she didn't mean you're a bum. Of course, it sounds like maybe, just maybe I'm wrong about that.

Allan said...

S- When I grow up I want to be like you.

wty- True. And fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.Thanks for visiting!

CD- He is a thief.I'm afraid to have him at the station. It's a shame, really.

billy pilgrim said...

i believe mr k trout has the answer:

"you've been sick, but your better now and there's work to be done"

free will,free will!!