Megan recently posted about pop culture, parental duties, and the unique character traits of the no-longer-adolescent (biologically) teenage American male.
It’s an interesting post, because Megan has already figured out something that I am all too aware of while simultaneously in tragic denial: “It’s not my duty as a parent (aside from the whole character building thing, which is already done, really, I mean this kid is awesome) to make sure my son gets his pop cultural references right.”
As a young nerd, I built up a surprising resistance to external validation. In a real way, I rejected the idea that anyone else’s opinion should be a major motivating factor in my decisions. This may or may not be attached to the fact that when you’re a skinny geek in high school, if you care overmuch about other people’s opinions you’re either going to be massively depressed or disgustingly obsequious. I don’t know; I had plenty of friends in high school from lots of different social groups, so maybe this wasn’t a self-defense mechanism but just natural pigheadedness.
The interesting part is what happens when the skinny nerd grows up and becomes a pretty normal middle-class dude with a wife and two kids. You’ve learned that other people’s opinion’s do matter, if only because it’s nice to get along with people. My wife’s good opinion is very important to me, to the point where I’d gladly alter behaviors to retain it; thankfully she seems to think I’m pretty okay on my own merits (which, come to think of it, is probably one of the reasons I’m besotted with her in the first place). But I’m digressing (badly).
This post is more about being a parent, and having children, and somewhere buried deep in your nerdly heart the desire to pass on the torch of things that you love to the next generation.
See, Megan asked the question, “…Maybe there are some more hidden gems that I must make sure that he has in his pouch, before I let him go?” Egads, this is a HUGE question to me. Jack isn’t even FOUR, and I’ve already thought about *when* I ought to introduce him to Star Wars, and more importantly *how*. For those of you out there who aren’t precisely my age, you have to understand the unique exposure window for Star Wars – the movie was released on May 25th, 1977. I wasn’t even 6 years old yet. Mom had to convince the ticket seller to give her three tickets; it was playing at one of the old Century Theaters in San Jose (right next to Winchester Mystery House), on the *BIG* big screen, and there was one seat left, in the near middle of the front row. Meg and I sat on the floor. From the perspective of my very tiny self, when that Star Destroyer came across the screen at the beginning of the movie, it was the biggest damn thing I’d ever seen. It was HUGE. The rest of the movie could have been as bad as its future counterparts Episodes I-III, and I would have loved it anyway just for those first 90 seconds. (Side note -> I have absolutely no idea if this is an accurate description of my first Star Wars viewing experience. Megan can comment if she remembers it differently. We may have been off to one side. Maybe I’ve invented, over the years, Mom’s arguing with the ticket window guy. People’s memories are fallible, we remember what we contextualize. I might be making a bunch of this up, but this is how I remember it happening).
How do you replicate that, without buying a 104″ screen and a house with a room specifically designed to fit it? It’s a terrible problem. Anyone have suggestions for that?