Yo, Fam and Friends:
And "yo" yet again!
Take a gander at the below! I Mighty Proud!
My younger daughter, now an art student in college, was particularly nervous about her grades this semester due to these factors:
1) art history ("Survey of Western Art") is apparently the hardest class at her college, as it well should be, on the one hand, but taught by one of those self-important professors who, in the Ivory Tower of his/her tenure, feels free to warn the kids that he/she never awards anything higher than a "C" - on general principle. What the heck does that mean anyway? I think we could expect slightly more pertinent principles from a "teacher" (world hunger? AIDS issues?) than those he dispensed - especially at a tuition rate of $42,000 per year. Earth to Mars!?
2) that "form and space" art class was giving her trouble. If you've ever met my daughter, you probably realized right away that she's not cut out to be a welder.
My daughter called me one night in tears during finals week.
She had been trying to solder (soldier?) together some kind of wire structure
thing-ey (technical art jargon, don't worry about it).
It was very late at night and she was calling from the art studio. Apparently after working on her project for many hours, her wire form had finally been "okay," but very much like her mother, she decided to embellish it just a tad more, and the whole darned thing fell apart. That final straw on the camel's back.
I cheered her up thusly:
Honey, you are in college.
You are privileged to have a first class seat on an exclusive private jet. You are on a field trip that only the most privileged youth in today's world can afford to take:
Destination: Existential Despair
You are being served a first class meal called: "Who the heck am I and what do I want out of life? And what day is it? What time is it? I feel like I haven't slept in weeks." And you are extremely fortunate to have parents who can (barely) afford to let you sit back and digest that meal.
You might as well enjoy it because the Existential Despair field trip is a requirement for graduation, especially in your chosen field of the arts. You can't get out of it. Also, you have to depart from the main campus. You can't proctor it. You can't take it by correspondence. Take comfort, honey, in the fact that your family and loved ones have all taken and survived this very same trip.
If I know you, your ears will perk right up when I tell you that you get to wear really cute clothes! In my day, it was torn bell bottom jeans, flannel shirts, beaded jewelry, and appliqué patches on everything. The fashions have certainly changed since then.
So, like I said, honey, sit back and enjoy the ride. It's actually a pretty cool place to visit once you learn your way around (although I wouldn't want to live there).
Some day you'll look back on this field trip and be glad that you boarded the plane. You will feel pride when you remember how you successfully negotiated the rocky trails. You will smile when recalling the great times you had.
It will take a little distance of time. You will be older and wiser. You will have some life experiences under your belt. You will be qualified to define your own principles. You may have children of your own. If you do, I bet you'll make them board that same plane.
WARNING: With your first class seat, you may have been given an extra bag of peanuts put out by a company called, "But I wasn't ready to go to college in the first place. I wanted to take a year off to work. I wanted to travel around the world."
Also, hon', you are experiencing the thrill of having absolutely no spending money whatsoever. It is the eve of finals. You haven't eaten in days and you can't find your meal ticket. (Did you look under your bed - the usual (hmm, hmm) place?) You can't even afford the art supplies to finish your final project, especially given today's cost of welding solder.
What artist wouldn't give an arm and a leg - or even an ear! - to be in your shoes? This is all very character building, honey.
By the way, I know a great technique for laundering your clothes in a shower stall using nothing but a flat stone and 20 Mule Team Borax. You don't even have to take them off. Let me know if you're interested.
Now, honey, aren't you feeling better?
I think I really helped her out of her funk. Always call Mom for a chat . . .
College Student Grades
for My Daugher, class of 2007
Term: Fall 2004
[Note: Mom's emphasis ALWAYS added! It's the rule!]
|SURVEY OF WESTERN ART||4.00||B+|
|FORM AND SPACE||4.00||B+|
|RELIGION AND CULTURE||4.00||A|
On Super Bowl Sunday - February 6, 2005, the day that the New England Patriots flattened those Philadelphian feathered fraidy cats flatter than an eagle flop and became the first football dynasty of the 21st century (phew) -
my daughter called me from her college dorm room.
My fellow Patriots fan and hound, Buddy, and I were totally immersed in the game. Buddy was all dressed up in his New England Patriots-cheering outfit.
Tom Brady and his team needed our undivided attention and support. However, I turned away from my TV
and took my daughter's phone call anyway,
even though I was missing the greatest battle of the 21st century.
My daughter was calling because she could not get her laptop to work.
I asked her if her laptop was plugged in. "Well, no . . ." So we fixed that.
It still didn't work.
I asked her if the external keyboard was connected. "No . . ." So we fixed that.
I told her all the plugs and wires are color-coded such that even a Philadelphia Eagle could figure it out. (She is absolutely like her dad when it comes to computers.)I advised her exactly as Tom Brady does his team during SUPER BOWL - just THINK! And HURRY!
While my daughter and I were on the phone, I looked over at my ever alert pooch, Buddy - my Super Bowl sentry - to see how the game was going,
and then I looked over at the TV
to see that THE EAGLES HAD SCORED A TOUCHDOWN!
I had a TV going in every room in my house for just such an eventuality as receiving a phone call.
I was mortified, and I panicked at this terrible turn of events - the Eagles' touchdown, that is.
The New England Patriots needed my help, and I had to get back to the game.
However, I was glad that I had been able to help my daughter get down to the business of writing her essay.
Some rather l---o---n---g while later, however, my daughter called me a second time.
I am obsessively organized about such matters, so I rapidly opened up my Excel password file, located her log-on name and password that I had set up when I readied her laptop for college, and gave this information to her.
While we were on the phone, however, I heard Buddy snarling angrily,
and I instantly knew that THE EAGLES HAD SCORED ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN! Buddy was so upset that his pupils literally disappeared.
I told my daughter not to call me back until the game was over.
How could I possibly impress upon my daughter the importance of Super Bowl Sunday and the fact that the New England Patriots needed my full focus and support?
Also, although I didn't tell her this, I was beginning to suspect that she was jinxing my team - two phone calls from her and a Philadelphia Eagles touchdown each time...
Tom Brady was overjoyed when he learned of my strict order to my daughter not to call back during the Super Bowl, and he reacted thusly:
After all, Tom had to get busy and do this:
Well, my daughter didn't call back this Super Bowl night, and thus the way was paved for Tom Brady and his Patriot gang to be victorious for the third time in four years in this Super Bowl XXXIX!
And a Gatorade bath for Coach Bill Belichick:
SUPER BOWL XXXIX!
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 24
v. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 21
NE PATRIOTS - 3 WINS IN 4 YEARS!
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -
1st FOOTBALL DYNASTY
OF THE 21st CENTURY!
Buddy and I were ecstatic!
My joy was put on hold just a tad, however, when I started reflecting on the fact that my daughter was now six months into the school year and obviously hadn't even dusted off her computer yet.
I wondered how she had been writing her term papers, essays and such.
I tried to put these thoughts out of my mind, however. She's a big girl now, and a mother needs to know when to let go.
This brings me to some thoughts on technology and the future which is our children.
My daughter is an artist. She is studying the fine arts and studio arts at college.
I fully understand and accept that she has not followed in the footsteps of her geeky, techie mother, and I actually thank my lucky stars for this fact. I hope my daughter never becomes the tech addict that I am.
On the particular day in the below story, I had used my Dell workhorse computer to:
1) write and revise some documents,
2) load them up to my website which is full of graphics I had previously downloaded from the Internet,
3) take a couple of digital photographs of my three animals and manipulate them using digital software so my little cocker spaniel doesn't look so fat, and then email them,
4) look at (and worry about) my financial status using Quicken software, which I keep current by downloading software updates and market prices for my few small investments,
5) pay bills using an online bill pay service,
6) email friends and family,
7) email a 3.8 meg song (Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville") that I had long ago downloaded from the World Wide Web,
8) scan a photograph autographed by the great New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick and proudly email it to some friends,
9) upload to my Palm Pilot appointment dates, times, and contact information that I maintain in Outlook,
10) burn a backup of all of my important data onto a DVD,
11) retrieve some archived mp3 song files and burn them in an audio format to play on my stereo,
12) wander off for a cup of coffee while thinking about how radically technology has changed since I was my daughter's age, and
13) especially wonder in total disbelief about the fact that all of this miraculous technology would be pretty darned hard to take advantage of if it weren't for the lowliest peripheral of them all - that little mouse that hangs on a thin wire like a soap on a rope.
It was while in this frame of mind - a bit of pride at having achieved a certain level of proficiency with technology that hadn't even been dreamed up when I was my daughter's age - that I found cause for renewed hope regarding my daughter's ability to negotiate the lightning fast changing world of technology.
Here is the reason for my confidence:
daughter is a top-notch
In fact, I believe
this is how she has been
writing and submitting
her term papers all along.
I think she has been text-messaging them to her professors.
In my efforts to open up a further channel for communication with my dear daughter (always important for a parent to do), I thought I myself would take a stab at text-messaging. I went on the World Wide Web and looked up the directions for doing so with my little Tracfone.
When I winged my virgin transmission off to my daughter, I was ever so proud! Below is the first set of profound communications I had with my daughter using this wonderful new technology.
(my very first text-message ever! I'm going to have it framed!)
Daughter: Hey, Mommy, that's great!
Daughter: Mommy, did you get my message?
Daughter: Mommy, are you having trouble turning caps-lock off?
Daughter: Mommy, are you getting my messages?
Daughter: Mommy, can't you turn caps-lock off?
The above comprises our first back and forth text-messages. I felt like Dr. Watson must have when Alexander Graham Bell spoke the first words into a telephone: "It's elementary, Dr. Watson. Now come in here."
I knew that my daughter was in the art studio at the time and I didn't want to interrupt her concentration so I sadly put away my Tracfone - but not for long.
I knew that little girl of mine would be going out boogy'ing later that night, and I cleverly thought I'd provide her with a source of pride in her Mom as she hopped from one house party to the next. Besides, I couldn't stop myself - text-messaging is a blast and I'm an irredeemable tech junkie.
Here are my transmissions to my daughter while she was out doing God knows what:
(my magnum opus!)
For reasons still mysterious to me, she did not reply to my text messages this Boogie Night, so the following morning I text-messaged (jeez, I love the sound of that: I text-messaged!) her the following:
Take note of my daughter's eloquence in her text-messages to me including, but not limited to, spaces between words and actual punctuation. Compare that with my sorry attempts to transmit anything at all, let alone a coherent message as my stubby little fingers trembled tentatively over the keys necessary to convey my love and parental wisdom and advice to her.
While I am extremely proud of my newly acquired skill, I am also a little sad at my realization that this new generation - our children - will soon leave our generation - the Great Boomers - completely in the dust as to technology. I suspect they already have.