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Smells Like Teen Idiots
I am fucking exhausted. It’s been a long couple of weeks with work. That’s a good thing, though. You want to be busy and making money. For those who don’t know (and how could you not at this point?), I am a bass player in a cover band. The summer is always mad, but it’s a good crazy. A lot of bars are opting for the cheaper option of a DJ (worthless things, they are), or paying bands less under the banner of the recession and that they have a ‘built in crowd so we don’t need a band, really.’ So when you have six gigs in six nights, you hop on that and do it with a smile and nurse your voice and hands on day seven. I’m still tired, though. I guess that I stay up late to play through the new Alice video game doesn’t help either.
School starts soon, for all of you high school kids who read me. Or, I suppose, for all of you parents who read me too. You know what that means, right? Not just a brand new Trapper Keeper and pencil pouch, but also modification and dress code confusion. Let the Google search douche my browser with stupid assed stories of idiot kids and their ‘we want justice’ banner waving parents.
I suppose you can tell where we’re going with this. Yes, I know I’ve written on this type of thing before, but the season is upon us so let’s talk about it. In searching the internet for something to write about today, I was already confronted with a half dozen of these dress code at school stories. And it’s only fucking August! To be fair, not all of the schools in the world are on the northeast schedule of September to June as I am familiar with.
Let’s just preface by saying that I don’t think anyone under the age of eighteen should be modified in any way regardless of his parent’s green light. We’ve talked about that too, and I’m sure we will again. But not here. In this blog. Today. No, today assumes that the underaged modifiers are headed back to school with fresh, shiny mods. So I don’t want to hear any shit about my contradicting myself. I’m glad we had this talk.
So you’re an underaged high school kid and you just got back from those three days in Wildwood where you drank on the beach; smoked some weed; had sex with some people whose last names you don’t know; snuck into the bars and heard my band play shitty top forty covers; and got your navel, nostril, eyebrow, labret, and Monroe pierced. Good for you, you little teen rebel rouser. I’m sure you’re taking care of your new mods exactly as you’re supposed to, and you wore a condom, and didn’t drink too much. You’re home now, hating your parents, loading your iPod up with crap, and not doing your summer reading. School starts soon, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you didn’t read the school dress code for next year. (Or your summer reading book.) So you go to school with your navel, nostril, eyebrow, labret, and Monroe.
Then in the first week, when you’re supposed to be taking a test on that summer reading book you still haven’t read, you get sent home and now have to explain to your folks that your teachers won’t teach you with that jewelry in your face. You’re as outraged as a background teen in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video. (Am I dating myself?) You want to put your shell-top Adidas foot down and take a stand for something for the first time in your life. Something that affects you, man. Something that means something, bro. Yeah. Something big and important, or so it seems to be in the brief portion of life you’ve occupied. You still haven’t done your summer reading.
At the dinner table now, you discuss this dress code thing with your parents. What to do about the modification, if the dress code rule is unjust or prejudice against whatever your inexperienced mind can muster as a group of people. What do you as a family decide?
I am of the opinion that a teen’s opinion doesn’t matter much. Don’t hate on me for that, but really; if you can’t ruin your credit score and still have the option of having petty crimes expunged from your permanent record, then your opinion doesn’t matter. So, Mom and Dad, in which direction do you point your dependent? This can be a big decision. Not big like what college to go to, or ‘you’re not dating the twenty-five year old with the Trans-Am and the beard,’ or hosting the beer party for all of his friends because as long as they’re here, they’re safe. But big nonetheless. To be honest, when I read these types of stories I am more pissed at the behavior of the parents than I am the idiot teen. We all saw the one about the parent claiming the mod is a religion. We all saw the one where the parent tries to sue the school or the state or wherever free money is waiting. So what’s the right thing to do? Which direction do you point your newly modded monster?
I’m not a parent and I never plan to be. I hate children. I hate how excited other people are when they make children. I hate the secret society that people my age seem to think they subscribe to when they make a kid. The whole, “Well, you’re not a parent, so…” kind of bullshit. It’s terribly irritating. But my stance on the mod thing (age of mod notwithstanding) is that you’re the parent and what you say ought to be gospel. My folks told me shit, and for the most part, I listened. Why? Because my mom can be terrifying when she’s pissed. (See also, the orange plastic spatula.) And also because I respect my parents and their decisions.
So your kid is modified and that’s causing a problem in school. It’s a problem because they want to tell your kid to not show up until they adhere to the rules. Did you, Mom and Dad, read the school handbook and rules? You had it before you sent that little bastard to school, so you must have known that the modifications are not protected by the school’s laws. So do you tell the little person that he can stand up to the authority (that obviously doesn’t understand your form of self-expression), or teach him to obey rules that were clear to start? (Also, the previous parenthetical was intended sarcasm.)
I like rules. I like clearly written laws and orders to be followed. If there is a flaw in the law, we have systems to remedy that. It’s called democracy. What’s not democratic is the voice of a child in the education system. Sorry, kid; your voice won’t matter until you graduate and pay taxes. Get over it. So the rules of the dress code in high school clearly dictate what your kid is supposed to look like. (This assumes it’s public school too. I should have said that earlier.) Your taxes are paying for that education. Have a problem with the rules and regulations of the public school system? Go to a board meeting. Or don’t pay your taxes and see how that turns out. Besides which, your brat has plenty of life left to screw around with things like modification. Unless he has some disease that will kill him really soon. In that case, man that sucks for you. Like really bad. Really, really bad.
Why am I writing about this. I’m writing about this because this kind of ‘waah, my kid can’t have her Monroe in eleventh grade’ type of bullshit kind of news story out of thin air sort of local newspaper cover story is damaging to our community. Those adults who modify and celebrate this culture and society of beauty don’t need this type of crap, this kind of ‘my kid can’t have his way so I’m going to make a big deal about it instead of saying no to him’ bullshit. Just stop. The kid too. He needs to stop as well. That’s why we have a minimum age for this kind of thing so that the decisions made are educated ones, ones that are pined over and researched and well made. In the next couple of months, I’m going to read a lot of these types of stories and it’s just going to continue to bur my spine. Attention to an immature teen being pissy that he can’t have his labret in school draws a childish notice to what we do in the culture, and it does nothing to further the acceptance that our modifications are enhancements to our own beauty rather than something some bitchy kid wants and can’t have because the people in charge say no. Jesus. Get over it and go drink in the woods like the rest of us did. Or stay home from school and whine about it. Colleges will love that. And, Goddamnit, do your summer reading. Stay beautiful kids.
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