I’m an only child (or I was, I guess. Now I’m just an awkward adult). Contrary to popular belief, being my parents’ sole offspring did not mean I was anointed Child-King of the Household, Fearless Overlord of Juiceboxes and Awesome Birthday Parties. It did mean, however, that I spent a disproportionate amount of my life hanging out with people 30+ years my senior. As a result, I’ve had plenty of time to pick up on the idiosyncrasies of those born before the Vietnam War. What I’ve concluded is that the parents of my generation are a truly funny bunch. Whether they’re fumbling with technology or misnaming actors they claim to like, I am always thoroughly amused by Mom and Dad. God bless their imperfections, I’d hate to have those ultra hip parents are always jet setting and attending swingers parties. Keep rocking the cell phone belt clip, Dad. Here are the 7 Things Parents Will Never Understand.
7. The Three-Year Technology Turnaround
Three years. It takes approximately three years for parents to relent, shrug their shoulders and say, “Alright, give me one of those iPhones. Make it the big one” to a confused clerk. That’s how long it took my mom to make a Facebook, that’s how long it took my Dad to acknowledge that Twitter exists. It blows my mind. When something is constantly mentioned on the news, joked about by late-night hosts, and being used by everyone besides your book-club meeting, how the fuck does it take you three years to get on board? Are you scared? Learning how to use the car’s navigation system won’t hurt you, Mom. I love the classic parental defense of ignorance: “We didn’t have this kind of stuff growing up”. Well, last time I checked, computer-related technology has been around for the last 30 years of your adult life. So, step your game up, pops.
6. Internet Etiquette
Once my folks finally got a rudimentary grip on technology, I became subject to a barrage of their digital faux pas. “Mom, you don’t have to sign your text messages.” “Dad, don’t wire $2000 to that Prince in Nigeria, it’s a scam”. Parents on Facebook are always funny- excessive use of punctuation, unintelligible photo comments, and “Liking” things that they have no business “Liking”. My dad kills the Facebook game with his 45 friends and spam-filled wall. If my mom types one more web address in the Google search bar instead of the browser, I’m putting her in a fucking home.
One time my friends and I were playing Xbox in the basement when my mom came down to offer snacks and tell us about her favorite new pop song. “Y’know the one….’Apple bottom jeans/ Boots with the Thing!’” Parents are incapable of two things
1) Intentionally hurting their children
2) Knowing song lyrics.
I don’t get it. I know some of our most timeless songs came from their era, so clearly they have some experience with listening to music? Were lyrics not a big deal then? Were they living in a lyric-less society? Just learn the fucking words, it’s not that hard! Rap is especially difficult for parents. They’re okay when Rihanna sings the chorus, but for some reason when words are rhymed at a slightly faster tempo during a verse, they black out. Simply fascinating. I think it’s some kind of crazy subconscious resistance to anything current. The same applies to knowing the names of movies, actors or your friends. Word to the SNL Mom Translator sketch.
4. Cold Food
When we would order a pizza, my mom would wrap the leftover slices in aluminum foil and stick them in the freezer. WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING? NOBODY IS GOING TO EAT THAT! NO ONE IN THIS HOUSE IS GOING TO DEFROST A SLICE OF ALUMINUM FOIL PIZZA, BAKE IT IN THE OVEN AND EAT IT. NO ONE. Everyone knows the only thing better than eating hot pizza is eating cold pizza the day after. Maybe it had something to do with growing up during the Cold War? They were taught to fear the Cold War, so they don’t understand the deliciousness of cold food? Anytime I would eat leftover Chinese, my Dad would stick his head in the room: “Wouldn’t that be better heated up?” No it wouldn’t! Reheated coagulated Chinese is disgusting! How do you not know this? I do this every time Dad, I got it! And I’m spent.
3. Having Not Hilarious Names
Not something parents do, but more something parents have. It’s not their fault, but there are certain names I find hilarious because they exclusively conjure up images of middle-aged men brown sweaters; guys like Neil, Glen, Marty, Roger, Frank and Ed. Of course, the same applies for moms- Debbie, Linda, Lisa, Karen and Nancy. How did sex work back in the day? “Fuck me, Nancy” does not sound in any way natural. Of course, there are some names that can go either way, like David or Christina, but I’ll be damned to meet a ‘Howard’ under 50.
I’ll be the first to admit that I can be racist at times. But I’m way more self-aware of my racism than my parents could ever be. Where I’ll crack a racist joke simply because it’s racist, my dad will say some thinly veiled shit like, “ Oh, you’re going to see the Jay-Z concert?...I guess you’ll be hangin’ with all the brothas.” I think it’s far worse to drop brothas than to be up front about it and admit your reservations about me going to see a black artist. My mom thinking that the Hispanic woman shopping for groceries was actually a worker stocking the shelves was classic, too. I cringed when she asked her where the vanilla extract was. It’s not intentional, but it is hilarious.
1. Trying to Fit In
I remember Parent’s Weekend in college. My friend’s Dad walked into my room.;” What’s Up Krum? Where’s the girls… Where’s the BONG?!. The smile on his face like he just dropped a clever joke was even more disturbing than his desperate attempt to appear young. Sure it’s nice to share a beer with your old man every now and then but that’s where it stops. I remember this girl in high school once bragged, “My mom is totally cool, and we smoke weed together and everything!” Your mom is not totally cool, she is however totally creepy and irresponsible. PS: That mom went on to bang a fellow student. Totally cool for him, pretty sad everyone else. If you’re a parent and you’re reading this, please, don’t ever try and fit in, we love you just the way you are.
Have any classic parents moves you’d like to share? Are your parents like this? Are they not? Do you not have parents? Are you Oliver Twist? Would you like some more? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section!!!
Krum is an NYC based comedian, follow him on Twitter @KrumLifeDotCom.