“Welcome to the 21st century!” – A tongue-in-cheek text message received this morning from my twentysomething son Jonny. My offspring moved to send the quip on hearing I’d recently set myself up a WhatsApp account.
Deeming myself as ‘down with the kids’, I pointed out to my boy his whimsical criticism was unjust. After all, his pater has been the owner of Instantgram, Facebooker and Witter accounts for years; A facts that show I possess a decent grasp of social media for a man of my vintage.
Although Jonny was only joshing with his old man, the text made me reflect on how ‘with it’ I actually am. I always counted myself as a pretty cool dad – Able to interact humourously with my kids mates, not to mention quite liking the youthful inner city disenchantment of Jay-Z’s rap ’99 Problems’
Receiving my son’s message, though, set me pondering whether over the years the kids and their mates were laughing at me, not with my whimsical craic. Could it be ‘knock knock’ jokes, interacting in an inane whistling language, and banter about Spuggy on 1990’s teen soap Byker Grove aren’t appreciated conversational fare for my children and their peers?
Is it possible my inane behaviour, such as trying to saw Jonny in half during a lame ass magic trick, was just not funny? Were the laughs I got when coughing and making it appear I’d emitted a white dove from my mouth the chuckles of juvenile nervousness, not genuine indications of mirth at my actions?……. And equally importantly, where the hell did the dove come from?!
Was witnessing the look of sheer bafflement on a kid’s face on saying “When I was your age I was seven.” following advising me they’re five years old far too self-indulgent?
Is the fact I’ve put my ‘WhatsApp doc?’ as part of my newly opened account details paint me as witty, or a misguided bloke vainly attempting to portray himself as a ‘character’?
So many doubts. Misgivings that a few years ago would’ve been given far too much housespace within GJ Strachan’s neurological corridors. Now, though, I don’t get as hung up about it. What people think about me doesn’t now possess the same dagger into the heart which plagued me when I wore a younger mans clothes.
Don’t get me wrong, I will apologise when my actions warrant it, however these days I’m far more selective with what I’ll tolerate.
Anyhow, on that note I’m off to get ready for a rare meetup with my brother Ian. The two of us cooking a turkey dinner for family members. Two fat northern blokes with beards creating a culinary masterpiece; a sort of poor man’s Hairy Bikers.
I’ll return to the laptop tomorrow, food poisoning permitting!