Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An open letter to my daughters

My Dear Daughters,

You're each growing up so very fast. I'd like to discuss a subject with you before my opportunity to address it has evaporated.

What I'm talking about isn't new; in fact, this conversation has undoubtedly been waged over thousands of years among millions of parents and children.

The subject to which I'm referring involves generational icons of rebellion, psychological chisels intended to pry apart and further expose our gaping chronological cultural divides.

We older folks stand prepared in our roles, ready to crank up our manually generated beacons of righteousness. A full verbal arsenal lies within arm's reach when called upon, so don't be at all surprised to hear:

"Oh, sure. It might look rad and colorful now, but just wait until you're my age and your skin starts sagging like linguine from a colander."

"Oh, sure, you might believe now that half the cast of South Park embodies your life's philosophy, but will that hold true in fifty years?"

"Oh, sure. Just wait until your skin sags like baggy Levi's on a soaked soccer pitch. Did I mention that? I did? Oh."

Okay, so maybe it's not a full verbal arsenal, but we will have made our point.

Look, pierce your ears, your nose, your Achilles tendons, whatever. Dye your hair. Rock a rat tail. Cultivate a  mullet. I don't care, as long as what you do doesn't cause permanent mutation to your bodyscape.

No tattoos until you're eighteen, girls.

Although I celebrate your maverick desire to modify your body with skulls, crossbones and dubiously grammatical phrases like "Vengeance is Mine's," I prefer that you hold your adult self, rather than my adult self, accountable.

Believe it or not, I understand. Contrary to what you may think, that's not a varicose vein on the inside of my upper ankle. It's a full blown tatty. My friend and I, back in college, decided one Friday afternoon to down a few Guinesses, hit the latest Dirty Harry Movie and get some body art afterwards.

Okay, so it was just two Greek letters, and it required less ink than that wrist stamp I got at the Andrew Ridgley show (you know, the other guy in WHAM), but it still stung a little.

And now, twenty five years later, the thing has spread out so much that it looks like I'm on my way to the airport to smuggle a spoonful of plum jelly inside my calf.

Girls, it's one thing if you end up in prison. After watching a documentary on the Aryan Brotherhood, I'm fully aware that there's not a heck of a lot to do in there. After spending most of your time doing push ups or mastering the art of hands-free spleen removal, what's really left other than transforming your torso into Google Earth?

But if you still decide, upon achieving majority, that you nonetheless wish to subject your youthful flesh to that large, buzzing needle, take a deep breath, think long and hard...

And ask if you can do a quick spell check.

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