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Archive for the ‘Peer Pressure’ Category

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February makes me think of two things: Valentine’s Day and chocolate. I’m pretty sure one could make the argument that they’re synonyms. This is the season for love expressed via cards and candy, and maybe a dozen roses.

OK, I lied. It’s also the season for public declarations of devotion. Think Romeo and Juliet, on steroids, and for the masses. Basically, February combines the commercial concept of “The Bachelor” with the retail romance of “Say Yes to the Dress.”

But this is 2016, which means the bachelor may be looking for another bachelor, which is fine, and anyone can lay claim to being the bride, which is fine, and it’s nobody’s business whether the person wearing the gown stands up or sits down when using the toilet, which is also fine.

None of that is shocking. What’s shocking is that grammarians are in the news. Well, not just grammarians. Also linguists, lexicographers and etymologists. And if you think that’s a lead-in to a joke about them all walking into a bar, well, have I got a gender non-binary Valentine for you.

[Want to finish reading? Hit the link]

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/highland-park/lifestyles/ct-hpn-sally-higginson-tl-0211-20160203-story.html

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Felix Baumgartner takes a leap from space.

Here’s what I know from walking into a preschool class eighteen years ago with my first child. Every class has a Felix Baumgartner in it, and I don’t want my kids being friends with him. Or her. Or anyone who thinks it’s fun to jump because there’s a bridge, or climb because there’s an Everest, or dare because he’s a devil.

I’m talking to you, Felix Baumgartner, Mr. Risk-Your-Life-Jumping-Out-Of-A-Space-Capsule-For-Fun. Think about your mother, for goodness sakes.

Does this ring a bell? “It’s those friends of his. They’re a bad influence.” Every mother alive has blamed the first and second and sometimes third round of bad behavior on the company her kid keeps. Peer pressure is the scapegoat of every parent caught hand wringing in despair as she wonders why her child made bad choices.

So imagine if your kid hung out with Felix. Every night at the table would be the same old same old. “I don’t care if he jumped from a space capsule. I said NO.” Or, “I don’t care if he fell at Mach 1. NO.” Or even, in utter despair, “No, you may not jump from three atmospheres. Not today. Not tomorrow. Never. Understood? Now go finish your homework.”

Felix had to be tough at home, tough at school, and just plain tough. Maybe if he’d been in middle school now, he’d have been medicated out of his tendency to push the boundaries of fear and sanity. I’m not necessarily promoting the possible merits of medicating our youth, but perhaps on the right cocktail he would have been happy just bungy jumping or ice climbing or heli-skiing, like more typical thrill seekers.

The dinner conversation would still be the same, though on a smaller magnitude. “I don’t care if it’s a one-time-only opportunity to squirrel-fly from the Eiffel Tower. Not while there’s breath in my body.”

As far as I’m concerned, the fear-buzz Felix experienced before plunging toward earth could only be a fraction of what his mother felt. And I’m guessing she doesn’t enjoy the buzz from the emotional intensity of life-threatening activity the way her son does.

Sometimes it sucks to be the mother.

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