Advanced course in teen-speak translation
About two years ago, I wrote a column entitled “Consult this Handy Translator for Teen-Speak.”
You may recall it as a tongue-in-cheek guideline to maneuvering through the minefield known as conversations with teenage boys. It was an overview of “Communicating with Teen Boys 101,” an introductory course in translating common utterances by male adolescents.
Well, friends, it’s time for the next class. Today I give you the main curriculum points from “Advanced Interpretations of the Male Teen 102.”
1. Exhaustion is an Indefinite State of Being
We’ll focus on the many ways this word is used both callously and liberally by teen boys and delve into how its connotation is malleable to a given circumstance.
For instance, the same kid who can stay up until 4 a.m. playing “Dead by Daylight” (a video game based on the “Friday the 13th” movie series main character and serial killer Michael Myers) but pop right out of bed the next morning to meet his buds for an early game of hoops is too exhausted to rouse for school after a solid 10 hours of shuteye on a weeknight in October.
We’ll discuss how disparity straddles the realm between reality and fantasy.
2. Calisthenics are Situational
Closely related to the “Exhaustion Theorem,” the “Calisthenics Hypothesis” is another challenge for the critical thinker because the concept is truly a dichotomy.
For example, the same young man who nary breaks a sweat after swimming four miles, then running for an hour and wrapping things up with an intensive 30-minute weight-lifting session is too sore or fatigued to participate in home-based upper body and leg workouts that include lawn mowing, floor sweeping and the ever-demanding but highly unpopular exercise of debris dispersing, sometimes referred to outside the world of academia as “taking out the garbage.”
3. Selective Memory — the Myth is Real
A profile of how the young mind is a sponge, a steel trap. Teenagers can recall minute details of specific conversations from eight years ago with frightening precision (especially if Mom or Dad was in the wrong, yo).
They can, in a single night, memorize the entire dialogue of Macbeth (in iambic pentameter!) for AP English to clinch that final grading period “A” … but absolutely cannot remember to grab their lunch from the refrigerator, to bring home dirty gym clothes from their lockers or turn in their mandatory physical forms by the school-designated deadline.
4. Domestic Duties Doctrine
This section focuses on busting the long-held teen lore that household chores are a form of corporal punishment in the contiguous U.S. and Canada. Not so.
For example, cleaning one’s bedroom (including making the bed daily) caused no harmful side effects in any of the clinical trials related to the research. Conversely, a majority of respondents surveyed who learned to keep neat and tidy quarters in their formative years went on to have marriages that are, on average, 8,573 percent happier than those of the respondents who remained slobs from adolescence through adulthood. Seriously.
5. Parental Arbitrations: A Study in Tolerance and Compromise
Of main discussion, the art of the negotiation process between teen boys and their parents for the purpose of achieving peaceable solutions to conflicts that include “Breaking Curfew,” “Spending Every Dollar Made at Your Summer Job on Video Games,” “Balancing School, Sport and Social Interests” (aka, the Girlfriend Factor), and “Diffusing Heated Exchanges before the Threat of Forcible Removal.”
NOTE: The lattermost subject is typically restricted to father / son disputes. Mom doesn’t want anyone moving out, like ever — and especially not anyplace far away, capsice?
Opportunities for extra credit include papers on the following subjects: “Throwing Away the Empty Milk Carton,” “Picking Up Towels from the Bathroom Floor” and “How to Effectively Transfer Laundry from the Washer to the Dryer.”
Look for “Fear and Loathing in Teen Town: Successful Communications with the Pre-Adult Male” to be offered fall semester.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who adores that teenage boy living in her house. His dad, too. Read more about their familial antics via her daily blog www.patriciakimerer.com