Today’s Headline : ‘Slacker Dad Has Not-So Slacker Daughter’

I was not the best student in high school. Sure I always passed my classes and I never failed, but I did the absolute minimum I needed to do in order to move on to the next level and I never looked back. I didn’t procrastinate. In fact I usually got things done pretty early on, but I didn’t put forth any more effort than needed. I had other things to do, like….like….well, play guitar and listen to tapes in my bedroom. Oh, and I had a couple friends to hang out with. And by my senior year I had a steady girlfriend so that really took up most of my time when I wasn’t working bagging groceries.

So you see…I was a grade-A academic mope. I knew enough to keep me out of the spotlight, kept my head low, and did what I was told and nothing more. Academia wasn’t for me. I told myself once I graduated that I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write screenplays for these fantastical ideas that were in my head. Juliard didn’t accept me into their music program, so I guess I wanted to be the next Bergman, Allen, or Soderbergh. I told my parents that I wanted to go into journalism so as not to scare them about the whole movie making scam. I took the entrance exams and passed. I was accepted to three different colleges in Indiana but realized I was too lazy to want to go away to school. I decided on a local campus(only 50 minutes away.) I could drive to class and still live at home. I was all set to go off and further my already shaky education.

Then something happened.

I got a job at a video store and decided I wanted to rent porn and video games to former teachers I had and other dregs of society. It’s okay, really. Within a year I’d gotten a job at one of the top 3 orthopedic companies in the world and that was all she wrote. I worked there for 6 years in various capacities. By the time I’d left there 6 years later I was a traveling auditor. I went to various distributors offices across the East and West coasts; as well as Florida, Texas and as far northwest as Montana. I counted the consignment implants they had on hand to make sure they weren’t selling our product under the table. It was a decent job, especially for a guy that was renting out porn and video games to educators and tweakers 6 years prior to that.

I left there in late 1999 and went to yet another orthopedic company. That one I’m still at. I did some furthering of my education a few times over the last 16 years. I took an Intro To Business, Intro To Computer Science, a Psych and Sociology class as well and got straight As. But, that still wasn’t for me. I’m the kind of guy that works as a cog during the day making a pretty decent wage(decent enough to put a roof over my family’s head, food in our cupboards, and “things” to make us happy.) My job isn’t my career. My job is a means to comfort. A means to do the things I love. Like writing and creating music. Those are the things I love to do regardless of monetary reward. Reading graphic novels with my son, buying vinyl, taking cool trips with my family, and going to concerts with my wife. Those are the things my job allows me to do, and I am ever grateful for that.

But I guess I want more for my kids. My oldest is leaving our local high school this fall and going to the Indiana Academy. It’s a school for junior and senior high school kids for just the state of Indiana. They only accept 150 teens per class for the year and my daughter was one of those teens. She’s extremely bright, but also a kid that “gets it”. She’s not what my dad would call an “egghead”. She appreciates the arts. She’s obsessed with Hamilton: The Musical, Grey’s Anatomy, dark and dry humor, and my homemade mac and cheese. So she’s got a good head on her shoulders. We received her transcripts from her old school so we could give them to the Academy. Out of a possible 12 point grade average, she currently has a 12.13. I really don’t know where she gets that pizzazz for school and study, but wherever she does, thank you.

She’s also a great oboist. She’s been playing for nearly 4 years now and she loves it. She’s currently enrolled in a week-long music camp at one of the semi-local colleges. She’s loving it and learning a lot. Today is her recital. Unfortunately for me I can’t attend it. I’m heading to Chicago with one of my oldest friends and we’re seeing The Cure at the UIC Pavillion. Now before you start calling foul on me not going these tickets were bought back in November. The camp didn’t come into the picture till about two months ago. I feel bad enough for not going, so don’t make it worse people. Thanks.

Bottom line, sometimes as parents it’s okay to gloat about our kids. Sometimes you folks that choose to not be a parent just need to deal with us gloat-y, proud parents. Even if just for a quick moment. I usually keep things to myself. I don’t go on the Facebooks and Friendsters and post a pic every half hour about how great my kids are and how I live only for them and yadda yadda(hey, those people piss me off, too.) I live for me, as well as my family. We’re parents, but we’re also still individuals and its okay to be an individual as well as a parent and spouse…and son, daughter, cousin, grandparent, gimp, what have you. We’re still lovers of music, art, film, comic books, great food, sports and have opinions of our own. I think that’s why our kids love us. At least that’s why I love my kids. Not because I have to because I made them and they dirty my bathroom and eat my food. But because I genuinely think they’re all pretty great human beings.

And oboes rock, in case you didn’t know.

9 thoughts on “Today’s Headline : ‘Slacker Dad Has Not-So Slacker Daughter’

  1. Oh man, it’s like I could have written this myself! Of course, not as well as you have, but seriously. I wasn’t your best student EVER (though I was constantly told I could have been), but I want more for my kids. They’re 7 and 4 now, so it’s early days, but I just can’t wait to see what they’ll choose to do.

    I find those constant update parents a tad annoying too, but I get it. Raising kids is so consuming, what else is there to talk about? Haha. Of course, they’re all wrong. MY kids are the greatest in the world! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha! So glad you get it. Yeah, I was told so many times I wasn’t applying myself. Of course I wasn’t, because I was miserable and wanted school to be done!

      The difference between my relationship with my kids and the one my parents had with me is that I think my wife and I are a little more engaged with our kids. My parents pushed me to do good, but only to a point. I think they figured, “Ehh, he’s not flunking and he’s not in jail. He’s good.” And I was good. But it’s not as easy to get a decent job now as it was 24 years ago. Every little bit helps these days. Whatever I can do to help my children succeed I’ll do it.

      7 and 4. You’ve got plenty of time left to make sure they’re on the right path. First things first, make sure they appreciate vinyl. That’s step one. 🤘🏼

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I totally get it. I kept getting told I could be an A student, etc. My thing was basketball, band, and girls. Of course, I kept my grades good enough to stay on the b-ball team, and music was my highest mark, and the girls… heh. Anyway, you’re absolutely right, it’s so hard to get a decent job, my current standing and marks would guarantee I never got one, thankfully I have lots of experience over all these years!

        Yup, we have time to watch the kids become who they’ll be. So far, academically, they’re ahead of where we were in school at that age. I may have told this story already, but my boy was doing his math homework, looks up and says “Dad, how do you spell vertices, again?” He’s 7. But you’re right, whatever they need to get to where they wanna go, if we can help, we absolutely will (so long as they understand we won’t do it FOR them).

        They absolutely appreciate vinyl. I’m doing my best, music education-wise. My daughter likes Jake Bugg, my boy likes the Stones and Motley Crue, they both dig Maiden. It’s all good!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this, JH. I was in the same boat at school. “If only he applied himself more” scrawled across school reports and muttered to the parental units during parents night. I done enough though. Could have achieved more, but I achieved what I wanted.

    As a new(ish) parent I can already see what I’d do that my folks didn’t. My boy is still wee, but every single day I engage with him and what he’s engaging with. He’s blabbering, he’s on his feet raring to go. He’s working things out and I’m joining in.

    And yeah, I’m proud of the little guy and, while I rarely share stuff about him, I could talk at folks about his awesomeness all day. I guess I never understood that until becoming a dad.

    Thanks for this post, fella

    Liked by 1 person

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