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Brain Damage and Sammiches

October 27, 2011

I heard a famous comedian say one time that all teenagers were brain-damaged. Not permanently, just while they are in their angsty teenage years. Considering that I was a brain-damaged teenager when I heard this theory, I didn’t understand it, pretended to laugh, and shrugged it off.

Now that I have my very own brain-damaged fifteen year old, I find myself sometimes thinking, “Holy. Shit. Did that really just come out of your mouth?”

My son has to be at the bus stop in his mother’s neighborhood at 6 am. It’s about 5 miles from my house and about a 10 minute drive. That means I have to get up at 5 am to make sure that he is up and keep us both on schedule to be out the door by 5:50 am. Without fail, my son will sleep through his alarm and I will have to rouse him. It’s hard enough getting myself out of bed (did I really need that extra beer?), but then I get the extra special joy of waking up a grumpy man-child.

Before the school year started, my amazing partner suggested that Tommy make his lunch the night before going to bed to help keep us on schedule. Genius!

Except that Tommy has also become “teenage lazy”. Every night he has to be reminded to make his lunch. He waits until the very last minute and when he does do it, he may just put some chips in a bag and declare, “I won’t be hungry at lunch tomorrow.”

One recent morning, in my bleary haze of pre-caffeine idiocy, I asked Tommy if his lunch was ready. I received a grunt and he gestured to a bag of chips and a granola bar laid out on the counter. “Where is your sandwich,” I ignorantly blurted. “I don’t like the way my sandwich tastes when I make it the night before,” he replied while keeping his head down in his bowl of cereal and noisily slurping milk.

Do what?

“Dude, all you like is some sandwich meat between two pieces of dry bread,” I implored. He does not use condiments, cheese, nor foliage. I could understand a PB&J getting soggy, but what harm might befall a pre-built dry meat sandwich? “I just don’t, okay,” he mumbled in an irritated voice between milk slurps.

As I stood there, trying not topple over and fall back asleep on the kitchen floor, I weighed the options of fighting this battle…at 5:15 in the morning. I had nothing. My mind was too foggy and wanted to be back  in my warm bed. “Just make sure you get it made and we aren’t late,” was all I could muster as I stumbled off to the shower.

Teenage brain damage. And teenage manipulation.

Somebody wake me when he is twenty-four.

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