Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

Until recently, I never knew having sons would be so much fun.  I’ve enjoyed ever stage of the boys.  Including the terrible twos and the amazing college years where they flaunted their individuality and “did things their way,” while my wife and I footed the bill.   

Let me give you a prime example of “sponsored” independence.  One of our boys came home for a weekend visit during his junior year in college.  Previously during his short visits, his beverage of choice would be a beer.  So as I went to the frig to get him a beer, he said, “I would prefer a glass of red wine, if you have any.”  My wife and I looked at each other with some amusement.  He took a sip from his glass and declared, “I like this quite a bit.  It has a hit of dryness about it, but it’s oakey and full-bodied.”

I’m not a genius, perhaps, but I immediately surmised that this wasn’t his first glass of wine.  He apparently had been enjoying the grape – a lot – at my expense.   And that’s merely one example.

Now, time has passed, and I have recently reached the pinnacle of child raising.  There is nothing better than watching your sons get older and discover they’re just like their Dad.  It scares them to death. Their worst imaginings realized.  If I had understood this when they were younger, I could have used this information as a threat when disciplining them. 

“You better be careful, or you’ll grow up just like me.”  I used to threatened them by saying, “If you don’t behave when we go out tonight, I’ll kiss you in front of your friends.”  However, “or you’ll be just like me” would have been much much better.

Our independent son, who was born knowing exactly what he wanted to do, was in Columbia, SC and saw a college student with a spiked Mohawk hair cut that was dyed a multitude of colors.  The rainbow boy had tattoos on his arms, pierced rings in his eyebrows, upper lip, ears and nose, and he was wearing one of those chain dog collars.

As this creature of self-expression passed my son and his companion, our son said, “If that guy had one ounce of self-respect he wouldn’t look like that.”  And his friend said, our boy stopped, stunned, his eyes as big as saucers, and said, “Oh my gosh.  I have become my Dad.”  I think the thought kept him awake for weeks.  I wish I could have been there to see it.

This same boy, who in high school declared that he wanted long hair and kept it that way for a decade, recently cut his hair to almost a buzz.  I think he looks wonderful.  Particularly since his friends now tell him, “Wow, you really look like your Dad.”  He forces a smile, but you can tell it’s fake.

Not long after the hair cut, he said, “Dad, I really have a receding hair line.  Do you think I’ll go bald like you?”

“Probably,” I answered, “however, it won’t happen for at least another week.”  I failed to add that baldness is most often attributed to the mother’s side of the family.  I know I was bad to tease him; yet, I couldn’t pass it up.  After all, I’m just like my Dad.

Date of Blog Story: 
October 31, 2007

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