Sorry it’s been awhile. I moved (just across the street but it may as well have been to Utah, what with all the packing, purging and chaos) and had deadlines front, back and sideways, not to mention endless IKEA to assemble. A writer I know pointed out that they do big business in divorce and suggested that she and I approach them to do a “setting up your life post-split” mag-a-log (one of those magazines you pick up and kind of get into before you realize that they’re one long single-sponsor ad and then just feel pissed that you spent the three minutes a day you have to read on a big ad). I think it would make a great parody. Stories like, “Loss, Love and Laminate,” or “How to Furnish A Home Now that You’re Poor.” Yeesh.
No, but things are good. I’m at a very cheesy dude ranch in upstate New York with my daughters. My feeling about this trip was, if they’re happy, I’m happy. Given all that’s going on, if they wanted to eat fries at most meals, I’m not going to get all Scroogey and halve their portions like I usually do; if they want to play laser tag and pretend to repeatedly shoot one another, far be it from me to make the stink I normally would about how murder is, you know, bad; and if they wanted to sing Katy Perry at karaoke night, as long as they didn’t actually realize they were singing about having crazy sex without regrets or, presumably, contraception, hell, I’m going to get into explaining it? Nope. Not this week. I decided to let up and lower my parenting standards just a hair. So far, no one is on drugs, obese or carving satanic pentagrams in the flesh of her arms.
I have to admit, though, that I was kvelling when Vivian opted to sing Sweet Home Alabama instead of Justin Bieber like the other girls. She got up there are pretty much belted it out her Skynyrd, and the parents my age were bopping along and singing backup, myself among them. You could almost picture us with our feathered hair and tube socks, feeling every bit the free birds we were at summer camp or whatever when we were 10. I felt coolish by extension. If a very hip almost eight year old could hold her head up and sing the song like it was on the cutting edge of popular culture, how lame could we be, right?
Except that she knows that song from having seen Despicable Me on Pay-Per-View. To her, life is one long animated soundtrack, where silly-evil cartoon characters voiced by Steve Carrell rock out to the classics that are so old that the estates of the band are trying to wring whatever cash they can out of the titles before only parents in their 40s think their music is worthy.
In fact, far from validating her mom’s taste in music, I do believe that by singing that song between Selena Gomez’s rendition of It’s Magic and something by the girl who plays iCarly, she’s declassified the classic and somehow made it as cheesy as the guy in the cowboy hat who brings us our Froot Loops each morning here at the ranch.
Ah, well. Like I said, it’s about the kids, right? There will be a new classic that my girls will be appalled that their daughters have debased and I will let out a grandmotherly chuckle when the time comes. I don’t expect that future classic will be by Justin Bieber. He’s no Shaun Cassidy. That’s all I’m saying.