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Rob Jenkins - 05/17/09

A teenager's take on parents

by Michael Jenkins

(Note: As much as I talk about my family in this space, it seems only fair to let them respond occasionally. This column was written by my 14-year-old son, with a little light editing from me. RJ)

I know you're used to reading my dad's column, but seeing as I am in need of money and he let it slip that he gets paid for this, I figured, what they heck. Why mow lawns when you can steal your father's spot in the paper? And if that doesn't work, I can always get the federal government to bail me out.

So today, instead of the all-powerful lord of the Sunday column (you owe me, dad), you get me, the lesser-known but more talented, better looking, and of course funnier Jenkins. (Never mind. You don't owe me. Just don't ground me.)

I guess if I'm going to write a column, I need a topic. So I figured, hey, why not talk about parents from a teenager's point of view. Fair warning, though: if you don't have teens yet, this may crush your desire to have them.

We've all heard the old saying, "Kids say the darnedest things." Well, that's wrong. It's actually parents who say the darnedest things. Take the line, "If all your friends jumped off a cliff would you jump too?" That's like saying "If everyone voted for Obama, would you vote for him too?"

First off, most of my friends aren't dumb enough to jump off a cliff or vote for Obama. Second, if they all did jump off a cliff, no one would be left to pressure me into jumping. Third, if they did come back and start pressuring me to jump, I'd know it was safe. And finally, if I got enough of my friends to jump first, I'd have a nice, soft landing.

Parents also have a way of quashing kids' dreams of becoming famous politicians. I know in my house I've been taught never to lie, steal or cheat. Well darn, aren't those the very qualities needed? Now I can never live up to my potential.

Finally, parents are notorious for being pushier than security guards escorting you out of a Kiss concert that you just crashed. (Not that I've ever done that, but my dad can tell you a great story about it.)

At least I know mine are pushy, always telling me to pick up my room, vacuum the den, and clean the bathroom. Oh come on. I never liked the carpet to begin with, and it looks better with my junk on it anyway. And cleaning the bathroom? My brother is just going to use it again, so why waste the effort?

Anyway, I hope this column doesn't tick off any of you parents too much. If it makes you feel better, I've just been grounded.