Not having children is bad for my writing career. Everyone loves stories about families. It is bad for my social life. People with kids stick together. Mommybloggers ignore me, thinking me unworthy of their time. I’m stuck in a limbo blog-niche world, somewhere between dating bloggers and daddy bloggers. Separated husband bloggers? Eh, it has no ring to it.
I’m an only child, so I don’t have nephews or nieces. How am I going to write about a character who is ten years old when my childhood references are from decades ago?
Imagine that I’ve been hired to write a story for The New Yorker.
The New Yorker Editor: “We love your blog, Neilochka. We want to hire you to write a story for us, sight unseen.”
I hand in a short story that begins like this:
“It was 3PM, March 12, 2007. Young Taylor left school, his lunchbox in his hand, and entered the local pizzeria to play some Ms. Pac-Man.”
The New Yorker Editor: “What is this crap? It’s supposed to be 2007? What kid carries a lunchbox anymore?”
Neilochka: “Kids don’t carry lunch boxes? Where do they eat?”
The New Yorker Editor: “They eat at McDonald’s.”
Neilochka: “You mean ten year olds go out for lunch?”
The New Yorker Editor: “No, the McDonald’s is IN the school!”
The New Yorker Editor: “Don’t you know any kids?”
Neilochka: “Not really.”
The New Yorker Editor: “And seriously… no one has played Ms. Pac-Man since 1984!”
Neilochka: “So what would Young Taylor play at the pizzeria?”
The New Yorker Editor: “What pizzeria? What is this — Saturday Night Fever? He’d be playing World of Warcraft at home and getting a pizza delivered from Domino’s!”
Neilochka: “Wouldn’t that ruin his appetite for dinner?”
The New Yorker Editor: “Dinner? It is his mother who ordered the pizza. She’s too busy running her sex blog to make dinner. Get with the times! This is the worst story I’ve ever read. You’re fired. Never come back here again!”
Sad, isn’t it? Do you really want this to happen to me?
Luckily, I have YOU. Finally, you can feel happy about having your ungrateful, overly-expensive, snot-nosed children who have ruined your sex lives and careers. You can be MY resource for questions I have about children, 2007.
Let’s start simple. Have the cool TV-show themed lunchboxes disappeared forever? Is there such a thing as a “Lost” lunchbox? Did kids even bring their own lunch to school? Do they still eat tuna sandwiches or are they eating sushi for lunch?
I get the sense that most current lunchboxes are made for nostalgic baby boomers —
I was never a big baseball fan, but I have the fondest memories of playing with Topps baseball cards. The baseball card games were as intense as any Texas Hold-em tournament on TV. We would “flip” them and play games to win each other cards. Did anyone else do this? Is this as antiquated as wearing a suit and tie to a baseball game? I’m beginning to think I sound like I just walked out of an old Bowery Boys movie.
(Barry? Tuck? Are you reading this? Sophia asked me how we “played” with the baseball cards, and for the life of me, I don’t remember. How was one kid able to “win” a bunch or cards from someone else? Was one baseball team worth more than another, which enabled you to win the pile?)
Here’s one thing I’m sure hasn’t changed — going shopping with Mom for new “school clothes” in September. Am I right? Is wearing the “right” brand of sneakers and jeans also important?
I remember spending hours talking with my friend Barry on the phone about math problems. Do kids discuss their homework assignments on phone, or do they do it now via IM? Do kids get regular ol’ paper report cards or are they sent to the parents by email?
What time does a ten year old go to sleep?
On a related note, I watched “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?” for the first time tonight. It’s a good idea for a show, but Jeff Foxsworthy is totally wrong as host. The show would be much better if the host was a little more “teacher-ish.” And while ten year old Kyle may be smarter than me (who remembers earth science?), I can still kick his ass.
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