Orange crush anyone?
For this week’s column, I was all set to talk about my 15-year-old son Alex and the myriad interconnected complexities of the social life of a soon to be sophomore.
I figured with Alex out of town this weekend attending a curling camp and competition, I could spill the proverbial tea of who was crushing on whom and by the time he got back, the paper would be in the recycling and he would be none the wiser.
Somehow Alex got wise to this plan. It probably had to do with my steady barrage of questions about his tangled network of friends. In retrospect having a notebook out and actively taking notes while asking probing questions was not the most subtle way to collect information.
Eventually, wising up to what I was doing, Alex told me he was not going to provide me with any more information, particularly not the names of any of his classmates.
In an attempt to launch an admittedly feeble defense of my actions, I noted that at his sister’s high school graduation I needed to be introduced to kids who had, as I learned later, been lifelong friends of my daughter. I made the argument that my note taking was simply a way to prompt my memory for if I met them later, and that developing complete dossiers on them was entirely normal.
Alex wasn’t buying it though and was pressing me to promise that I wouldn’t embarrass him and ruin any chances he had for a normal high school social life by oversharing information about him and his friends.
There go my plans for columns for the next three years and with it any real hope there was in closing the column gap between him and his sister. Alex’s godfather, who happens to be an attorney, reminds me of the column gap on a fairly frequent basis. I try and explain that I was writing columns about Beth for six years (more if you count the ones about my wife’s weird cravings for chili when she was pregnant) before Alex even came into the picture.
While I cannot promise that I won’t ever write about him, I did agree to terms of a truce. I would avoid writing about his social life, or lack of one, and try not to go out of my way to embarrass him. I feel this is a fair compromise, although as a parent of a teenager simply being seen in public with him could cause embarrassment.
Navigating the complexities of high school relationships is hard enough without worrying that your dad will write something that will come back to haunt you. In hindsight, this probably explains why Beth never talked about her friends much — at least to me. It would also explain why I had to be introduced to them at graduation.
So yes, the only crushes I will be writing about for the foreseeable future will be orange in color and be found in the soda aisle of the grocery store.
It is with interest that I have been following the start of school discussions at area school boards.
With COVID-19 concerns largely pushed to the background, we can hope for a more normal year ahead. This will be good for the learning environment and for the mental well being of all students, teachers and other staff.
Contact tracing and quarantining remain hot topics especially for young people involved in sports and activities where someone going to the wrong party could end up having an entire team benched. The easy solution, especially at the high school level, is for students to get vaccinated. Not only does this virtually eliminate the chances of contracting or getting seriously ill if exposed to the virus, but people who have been vaccinated get a pass from being quarantined.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.