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Sunday, June 1, 2008

Teenage Heroes

I got tagged by Erika, my favorite editor, and hardworking and talented developer of The Wham Magazine, for a meme that's thought provoking enough to make me set down my jelly doughnut and think for several seconds at a time. Why do I like to work at home?

I have a part-time job away from home. So why do I worry and work and stay up so late that people think the racoon rings around my eyes are permanetly etched on, laboring to get my at-home writing base up to speed?

Just now there are four teenaged boys in my living room. Their names are Twinkie, Fatt, Mini, and Seth. I’m not sure why they don’t call Seth by a nickname unless it’s because A) he has one, but I’m too old and parently-impaired to be allowed to hear it, or B) there’s not one awesome enough for a boy who can play the guitar with more ease than the rest of us strain spaghetti.

At present these guys are profoundly affected by the actions of several multi-colored creatures cavorting in cartoon-like battle rage on the television screen. Although they will all be eligible to vote come November, right now the actions of a round pink fellow with large, engaging eyes is more important to them than the actions of any of the candidates engaged in the brawl that is this year’s race for President of the United States. If any of the candidates ran on the Wii platform, they would secure the vote of teenagers all across the nation, and probably a few write-ins from outlying territories.

Following is a conversation taken from these actual teenaged boys. (Teenaged girls take note—these are authentic sounds used for communication in the wild. Not once did the subject of hair, nails, or what to wear to the mall enter into the conversation.)

Psychologists might make much of the fact that these guys seem preoccupied with death. But it’s nothing that a Care Package consisting of sodas and pizza can’t cure. Toss a bag of bite-size candy bars in the mix and they’ll swarm like yellow jackets in a State Park picnic zone. And there’s at least one of them that I know is partial to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off.

“We’re all gonna die!”

“Stop shooting me!”

“Ow! Stop killing me!”


Silence broken only by the bip boop bang of electronic battle noises backed by cartoon music.

“Run in fear!”

“Where am I? I found me! I lost me!”

“I killed myself off by accident!”

“I’m not dead yet!”

“We’re all gonna die!”

“Am I dead?”

“Run!” (Various colored creatures dash in different directions like a box of Crayolas kicked across the playroom floor. Think Pac Man on speed.)

Eventually, these young men grow weary and tired of the trauma of death by colored laser blasts. Then they switch to a challenge that involves a miniature guitar and more colored notes onscreen than sprinkles on a sugar cookie. One of them wields the guitar like a superwizard wields a magic wand, and the powers of good and evil hang in the balance. The others watch in awe and I stop in the middle of my essay on grieving hearts to see this kid play a toy guitar like Clapton performing Cocaine. The song ends in onscreen applause and real life respectful silence broken only by a hushed, "Dude!"

So why do I like to work at home? Because I get interrupted mid-project by gangland activity fueled by carbonated beverages that I just brought home from the grocery store. Because food disappears from the refrigerator like I have an automatic Hoover installation in the door. Because it won’t be long before these young men have families and responsible jobs and haircuts that don’t touch the collar of their pinstriped suits.

So for now, I’ll plan to do a little extra work later on tonight so I can stop to cheer for a fifty note run in a song that was famous when I was in high school.

And maybe I’ll make a peanut butter sandwich and cut the crusts off.


the Bag Lady said...

Dude..... awesome post.... you kill me!

colbymarshall said...

"gangland activity"- haha, I love it!

Janna Qualman said...

Wow, Amy, amazing post with meaning. So funny and so well-presented! Well done. :)