Friday, February 11, 2011

You think *your* parents screwed you over?

What?  Did your parents smack you around?  Tell you you'd never amount to anything? Blame you for their divorce?


Unless they used sorcery, as my parents have, to make you feel the agony of accelerated decrepitude, they haven't messed with your head at all.

My mom is 74 and my dad is 75.  Those are their chronological ages anyway.  But if you met them, you would never believe that.

"Your parents are so...limber."

That's something my youngest sister-in-law actually said about them.  I passed this compliment on to my parents, and their somewhat huffy responses were along the lines of: "Well, Jeez!  What...are we supposed to be shuffling around with canes or something?"

But the thing is that they are remarkably...limber.  Both of them gracefully squat down to play with the grandkids, then pop back up with no discernible crunching noises from their joints, or grunting, or grasping for support, or massaging of their lower backs.

Would that I could say the same for myself.

The "limber" thing was a new one for them, as far as I know.  But a word that they have taken umbrage with for almost two decades now is "still."

As in, "Oh, wow. You guys still ski?"

They get that a lot, because they do still ski.  Like maybe sixty to a hundred times a year.  And when it's not ski season, my dad goes mountain biking three or four times a week while my mom hits the gym or works in the yard.  That's when they're not hauling concrete and rocks down the side of the mountain to make improvements on our family cabin in Montana, which is what they do every year for their summer vacation.

The reason I'm resenting my parents so hard right now is that they are currently ripping through epic powder in Telluride, Colorado, while I'm nursing an aching hip that I injured by coughing (yeah...coughing) during this cruddy cold I've had for the last two weeks, and which prevented me from even considering taking a few runs at the rinky-dink Southern California ski resort where we just spent three days.  (Of course, we were there to let the twins have some fun in the snow, not to let me attend to my winter sports jones.)

So, you may wonder, how does it happen that a dude reaches the age of 43 and finds that his parents are actually younger than he is?

I have thought long and hard about this, and determined that there are a couple things going on here: 1) Taking care of children wears you down to the point that a simple cold can turn into a crippling condition; and, 2) My parents have a portrait of themselves tucked away in their attic that depicts them as if they had aged in accordance with passage of time, while their actual bodies have not changed since 1985.

It's irksome to me that my parents have not introduced me to this artist who can suspend my aging process as he did theirs, and instead have let me watch myself fall into disrepair.  If I press them on the issue, they'll surely claim that I'm being ridiculous, and that it just takes a while to recover from the early years of childrearing; and that when I'm their age, I will have forgotten about this brief episode of infirmity.

I ask you, could there be anything crueler for parents to do to their children than to deny them the secret to everlasting youth, that they have attained through their dabblings in the occult?

That's what I thought.  So stop complaining about your mom's guilt trips and your dad's emotional distance.  At least they aren't practicing  black magic to suspend the aging process, and throwing it in your face.

This is what my youthful parents are doing right now:

And this is the most extreme winter sporting that I have done in a couple years:


I posted my first piece at MamaPop yesterday!  It's a record review of new albums by Deerhoof and Cake, and determined that listening to them will make you cool without damaging your children's psyches.  Please read it if you have time, and leave some comments so my boss lets me keep reviewing albums and doesn't make me start watching TV.  Warning: you may end up spending half your day reading funny stuff on MamaPop once you get there.


  1. Dude, you busted a hip coughing? Oy.

    Am totally jealous of your parents whoopin' it up in Telluride and have made it my life's mission to be just like them when I grow up.

  2. I'm totally with you here. My mom is 65 and her idea of a relaxing, chit-chatty position is standing up with one foot up on the counter, leaning into her knee with her thighs at a perfect 180 degree angle. We work out together on treadmills, only she does it BAREFOOT. Like a badass.

    I get how they would resent the "still" part of those questions. Like, "You're still walking?", or "You're still sitting up on your own?" or "You're still alive?"

  3. My in-laws are on their way to being like your parents. I realize that it is nowhere NEAR the torment of it being my ACTUAL parents, but it's the closest I have. Does that count?

    My actual parents live in Florida, and the most thrilling thing that they do is ride the Mummy at Universal.

    Although they do throw in my face, all the time, that they live in Florida and get to go ride the Mummy at Universal. That's not necessarily youthful zest thrown in my face, but it is a responsibility free child-like existence. Does that count?

  4. hey, karma's a bitch... when u r your parents' age u will be skiing and your twins will be bitching!. lol what comes around, goes around

  5. My parents are similar. Though they DO take a lot of naps, I think it's more because, well, they CAN take naps.

    Gotta track down that artist.

  6. haha i love the oscar wilde reference. Technically it wasn't the artist who granted your parents everlasting youth, it was their sole desire to be eternally youthful which brought about the phenomenon. I'm sure the allusion would be even more accurate (and creepy) if your parents have been going down the muddy hill of debauchery recently, which based on these posts, they haven't. I bet your parents felt old while they were raising you. It's when they hit retirement and suddenly became active did they find themselves rejuvenated.

  7. I love the dorian grey reference! Too funny!

  8. @Sassy--Yeah, it's ridiculous, I know. I'm shuffling around like an old man. I also want to be like my parents when I grow up.

    @Steamy--Do you guys work out together on ONE treadmill? 'Cause that in itself would be badass. I think you have crystallized my parents' objections to that term.

    @Kev--Yeah, your parents are kinda jerks too. I can't believe we are paying into social security (and by "we" I mean you people with jobs) so these geezers can go cavorting around like carefree children.

    @KBF--Man, I sure hope I have half the fun my parents are having when the kids are grown up.

    @Keely--Yeah. Naps must be part of the secret too. My parents don't admit to napping, but I bet they are sneaking in some sack-time in the afternoons.

    @Leila--It's been a long time since I read _Dorian Grey_. Alls I know is that my parents have struck some kind of unholy bargain with the cosmos.

    @Michelle--Glad you liked it. I try to keep it highbrow up in this bitch.

  9. Dude, that's nothing, I once punched myself in the nose while coughing/laughing. Then had to contend with nose bleed while still coughing non-stop, which resulted in blood spatter that I am STILL finding.

  10. I get an ache in my arm when I cough.

    You know what it is, I think? How old were your parents when they finished having kids? being a new dad when you're middle aged puts the rheumatiz on ya quick.

  11. I have never checked my mom's attic for any aging photo of her but now I know what I'm doing this weekend (well, after a long nap and a hot cup of tea to ease my aching joints).

  12. My interest in any form of snow sport is only surpassed by my interest in termite racing.

    Other than that, I'm impressed. My own adoptive parents were/are distressingly decrepit, as is my adoptive sister (two years younger than me). My birth mother is still roaring around, do 50 lengths a day in what she claims is an Olympic pool. It is worryingly possible that she isn't lying.

  13. Parents suck.

    Always rubbing the good genes in our faces that they DIDN'T pass on to us.


  14. I'm so sorry to hear about your broken hip, Grandpa. And I hope that rheumatism clears up soon too.

    (P.S. I'm having the same issue with my father. He's 65, and made of iron. He goes on marathon cycling trips all over the country with his friends where they literally ride up the sides of cliffs. Goddammit.)

  15. Must have been some bout of coughing...


  16. Remember the "Kick the Can" episode of the Twilight Zone? That is what you need.

  17. I hear you brother. I am 43 too and def NOT limber.

    At least neither are my folks.

  18. Philip Larkin - This Be The Verse

    They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
    They may not mean to, but they do.
    They fill you with the faults they had
    And add some extra, just for you.

    But they were fucked up in their turn
    By fools in old-style hats and coats,
    Who half the time were soppy-stern
    And half at one another's throats.

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don't have any kids yourself.

  19. @Enviro Girl--Holy crap! That is the kind of accident I don't think I would ever tell anyone about.

    @H-man--My folks were done having kids by their early 30s. It probably does have something to do with their spryness. The rheumatiz is a bitch.

    @Nari--I think there are a lot of those portraits in old folks' attics. Let me know what you find.

    @Dad Who Writes--There are a lot of ways to interpret the difference in the fitness of your adoptive vs. birth parents. The most obvious is that NOT raising children is good for your health.

    @Ed--Tell me about it. My dad also is 3 inches taller than me, and has a thick, lustrous head of hair. Jerk.

    @DiPi--I'll get you, sonny-boy! *shakes fist tremulously* Once I get this walker unstuck from the sidewalk crack.

    @Frogs--About a two-week long bout. Sucks, big time.

    @Jack--That's what I need, all right.

    @James--Well, it's some consolation that your parents aren't more fit than you, anyway.

    @Jack S--Word up, mate.

  20. I know how much you love getting awards, so I've just given you another! Stylish Blogger award, check it out.


Don't hold back.


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