By Wayne Chan
Northwest Asian Weekly
I’ve heard that as parents, we live vicariously through our kids. While that may very well be true, I think I’ve taken it a step further.
Apparently, as my son comes of age, I’ve managed to perfect time travel.
A few weeks ago, I went to my son Tyler’s high school open house to meet with his teachers and see how he was doing.
Before I get to the open house though, I should tell you a little about Tyler. He’s 17, he’s on the varsity tennis team, he watches what he eats, works out a lot, and has grown to be a very good-looking young man.
To give you a better idea, I can tell you what some lifelong friends said when they saw Tyler recently.
Tyler – you are so handsome! You look like a young version of your dad!
Now, you might think that along with Tyler, that I could also take that line as a compliment, but it’s hard to do that when they were referring to a specific version of me and makes no mention of their thoughts of the current one. But anyways, let’s get back to the open house.
So as we walk onto the campus, Tyler sprints a few steps ahead of us and within a few seconds, is surrounded by three or four classmates, all girls, chatting him up, all smiles as they walk toward their classrooms.
My first reaction was to wonder why Tyler felt like he needed to spring ahead of his mother and I in the first place, but I figured that whatever the reason was, it would probably make me feel completely inadequate so I decided to leave it alone.
As their little group reached the class hallway, the girls dispersed and my wife and I were allowed to walk with him the rest of the way.
Still curious, I decided to ask Tyler about his friends and get some insight as to who they were.
Tyler’s answer was succinct and was very familiar to me based on any important question I’ve ever asked of him.
After the open house, and after seeing throughout the evening that Tyler was friendly with a number of girls at the school, I thought that it might be a good time to sit down with him and have a heart to heart.
Not the “birds and the bees” talk, mind you, because at 17 years of age, he knows what goes where. It also wasn’t the talk about him needing to “be a gentleman” now that he was of dating age. That wasn’t my concern.
No, I felt it was time to have the “Here’s what you’ve got to do” talk.
This is the talk where a father gleefully coaches his son on how to be wildly popular with the girls at school, and it always begins with the line, “Here’s what you’ve got to do.”
For those of you who might not be aware, fathers who start off their talk with the line, “Here’s what you’ve got to do” are almost always ignoring the fact that:
The lack of success in meeting girls in your youth almost certainly doesn’t make you qualified to provide advice now.
Any actual success you might have had in the past must now be amplified with wild exaggerations in order for your advice to have any plausibility now.
That’s why time travel is so helpful.
With time travel, you can conveniently erase memories like:
The time I took a date out on a small sailboat on a neighborhood lake and got the boat stuck on a shallow part of the lake requiring me to jump in with all my clothes on to push the boat free.
The time I went to the county fair with a date for an entire day and then completely not recognize her when she said hello to me at school the next day. In my defense, she was wearing her hair differently.
The time I drew a big valentines card and left it in my girlfriend’s class just before she took an important exam for everyone to see and realized later that I had put it in the wrong classroom.
The time I went out on a few dates with one girl and then completely not recognize her when we both showed up at a holiday party a couple of months later. I imagine you’re starting to sense a pattern here but in my defense, she was wearing her hair differently.
Yet, despite these unfortunate memories in my past, I must be qualified to impart some wisdom on the topic of dating because I ended up marrying a beautiful and amazing woman. If I hadn’t done that, there would be no son for me to coach now.
If you ask me, I’m a smooth operator and have every right to give the “Here’s what you’ve got to do” speech to my son. If you ask my wife, she’ll probably say she decided to marry me after I promised not to take her out on any more boats. (end)
Wayne Chan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.