Friday, April 08, 2005


The other day I received an email from a very dear friend who I thought slipped off the face of the earth. It made my day seeing that email. It went on to describe how they were doing, stuff like that. Well, my friend went on to tell of their daughter's just-passed thirteenth birthday and how her hair is now pink... In my reply I just said, well you know how we were at that age. I'm positive my friend isn't worried, this kid is smart. Really smart. Mensa smart. I was at their house once and we were watching a movie on TV. The daughter was sitting in front of the computer chatting in yahoo IM (typing about 300 words a minute by the way), playing a video game and talking on the phone at the same time. Talk about multitasking. This kid will be ready to do quantum physics by the ninth grade and in charge of NASA by sixteen.

I guess ever age has there own little rebellious things kids do. I grew up in the middle of the Sid Viscous and the Sex Pistols years where six-foot tall multicolored spikes and mohawks were common. I was more of a Led Zepplin or AC/DC concert tee shirt and flannel shirt stoner dude in school. It's all relative if you put it into perspective. I remember my parents absolutely going batshit about the Beatles with my older sister. I think you understand where I'm coming from. But as I get older, things get a little more confusing.

Back in the early 90's there was this group of kids around Philly. I guess they were the precursors to the "Goth" look. Flat black hair, flat black shirts, flat black eye makeup & lipstick (unisex) flat black pants, flat black combat boots and listening to The Cure. (If that was the cure, I didn't want the disease) Black everything except for their pasty-white "I've just crawled out of a mausoleum" look.

Kind of creepy really.

One night my partner and I were at a Dunkin' Donuts (ok, no cop-donut jokes! I've heard them all!) and this group of about nine or ten walks in, sits at the counter near up and orders up coffee. They were pretty good kids for the most part and my partner and I struck up a conversation with them. But I was so damn curious.

My smartsassness came out, again so I just couldn't resist...

"So guys. I was wondering. Why are all of you dressed like that?" I asked innocently.

"To be different, officer!"

To be different? They all looked the same! They looked like they all were extras in an episode of the Addams Family.

"Well guys" I said. "How can you be different if you all look the same?"

"You just don't get it, man." I was told.

"No, really. I want to know!"

I guess I don't get it. I thought being different and celebrating your individuality was trying NOT to fit it with the pack. The lone wolf. James Dean with an attitude. I remember the "Preppys" in highschool. They all looked the same. cut out of a cookie cutter and trying their best to follow the pack. I hated them then for who they were. I rebelled in my own way. I enlisted in the Army at a time when joining the army wasn't all that popular with the intellectuals in school. Remember I was seventeen at the time of Ronald Reagan and Cold War tensions were at the highest level since the Cuban missile Crisis and people were believing we were on the brink of WWIII and a Nuclear Winter...

So even I was a rebel.

Sort of.

Looking back I'm sorry I was a little hard on those kids. I just wanted to know. But I think now there could be a lot worse things to worry about. Let your kids be kids because it doesn't last too long. I've discovered the more they want to rebel really, the more gray matter is working up in the brain pan. Your kid who comes home from school with purple hair may just be the next Albert Einstein, Nikolai Tesla or Thomas Edison.

So pink hair isn't so bad.

Mine is turning a lovely shade of gray all by itself...

Copyright 2005 Thomas J Wolfenden

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