Posts Tagged ‘parenthood’

Bridging Adulthood and Youth

July 1, 2009

Is it me or are kids more savvy today than they used to be?  Or maybe I was just a little slow on the uptake as a kid?

Case in point.  I grew up along the Gulf of Mexico (St. Petersburg, FL, to be exact), and we made frequent trips over the inter-coastal waterway and its subsequent toll bridges  to the beach. My mother – with her wonderful sense of humor – used to yell out my name “Jabin White!” as we slowed down at the toll booth. The worker would invariably wave her right on through.  It took a few years – probably a few years more than I would be willing to admit – until I realized that my mom had purchased an annual sticker which, when placed in the window, got the holder of said pass a wave from the toll booth attendant. It never occurred to me that there was some other way that this transaction was taking place.  What can I say? – we just didn’t think that way back then.

I’m grown now with two kids of my own, and remember fondly the joke my mom played on me back in the day. I figured it was time to revive the old standard, and the perfect opportunity presented itself just last weekend.  My kids (11 and 7) were in the car with me as we returned from the Jersey Shore into Philadelphia (my wife was in another car, as we needed two vehicles to transport all our “stuff” for the two-week vacation). As we approached the span of the Walt Whitman Bridge (not my favorite poet, but it’s a great bridge), I began to lay the foundation of the gag.  “Did Daddy ever tell you guys he has magic powers over bridges?” I began.  Skepticism ruled in the car.  “Sure, Dad…” was the reply from both kids.  But I was undeterred.

We crossed over the bridge and approached the toll booth on the Pennsylvania side (every time I do that, I think of the joke about it being free to get into New Jersey but costs $4 to get out).  I got into the left lane, and as we cruised through the toll booth, I yelled out “Kate White!” at the top of my lungs. As if on cue, the light turned green, the arm went up, and off we went.  Really trying to sell the joke now, I said “What did you guys think of that?”

“It’s E-Z Pass, Dad,” my daughter said. “A duh!” (Editors note: “A duh” is actually about 6 syllables, but I don’t know how to spell it.  Think Tina Fey on 30 Rock.)

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m all about technology, and the advantages it gives society. I’m also all about kids being proficient at technology. But when it cuts into my humor with my kids, I have to draw the line. JOK, perhaps I’m overstating it a bit, but is it wrong to long for yesteryear, when a parent could pull an innocent prank on a child without getting served?  Back in my day we had stickers on windows, and we liked it!