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Saturday, 2 March 2013

Of Genes, Teens and Affliction. Profound and ridiculous.

"And, after all,  you gotta remember,  take into account,   you've actually  AFFLICTED  them with your genes",  "Huh?? JEANS!!!"  "Yeah, yeah,  the other word.  An' that's on top of  you know all the other hardships,  pressures on them from... um... all sides.  And no prospect of jobs or money any more,. Its just very hard for them  you know ".  I am  confounded by this conversation with my dear friend PK about our teenage children and what to do with them.

I was confounded to start with.  The boy has taken the heart out of me. Having been first persuaded and then dispatched off to do after school study at his place of education,  in this his exam year, he, as I have now learned, never actually went. Oh he stayed in after school, yes, and stood outside the school gate for collection when I turned up, yes,  and duitifully told me that he got lots done, oh yes.   But,  he didn't actually go.... there. He went uptown with his friends, he went  to the pool hall,  he went  to the shopping centre,  he went to his favourite street corner to hang, but never, not once,  did he go to the study hall.

Of course  he betrayed himself in the end. Caught bang to rights. And reaped the whirlwind. Grounded, restricted and banned, internet x box, and  tv, gone, gone and gone.  For weeks.  He is going to the study hall now.    PK warns me about  undue harshness. "But...but." .I protest  "I  mean I arrived, having changing work hours to suit, and  at great trouble to myself to get him every evening after work for WEEKS, so pleased not to be faced with the vision of him lying on his bed earphones plugged in loosely clutching a text book, so happy that the penny had dropped at last.  But.  HE DIDN'T ACTUALLY GO.  Not harsh. No. Am I?"

My husband snorts derisively when I run this by him. "Nope, don't buy it." he says "As to money, all he  has to do is wheedle and he  gets it, and as to  jobs, well ... no,  what does that have to do with HIM , that's YOUR job" and he proceeds to some very derogatory remarks regarding my  dear friend PK's genes. As to the affliction, "now THAT''S  profound and ridiculous both" he finishes thoughtfully.

He may be right.   Ridiculous, definitely.   I have a crystal clear if inconvienent memory of myself, ensconsed in the family sitting room to study in an  exam year,  regularly and hastily whisking  my  novel "Angelique and the Sultan" etc, under the cushion before graciously taking the carefully prepared supper tray, delivered  through the saving  hatch by  my anxious mother. Deviance that.  But..... I came to application later on, and have a constitutional inability to achieve anything unless self driven, and obsessively in to it. Otherwise I am fuzzy and unfocused. The boy tends to that.

Profound, undoubtedly, the very notion of the boy,and all the boys, with their burden of genes and a  life's task of whipping  and chipping the DNA into shape, taming the chemical messenger. But.... I am conceding nothing. I didn't ask for them either.  And now I have passed them on. So let's just  see what  the boy and his kind  make of them. My husband is taking me off down the pub to unwind.