Charlywalker's Blog











{May 13, 2011}   Dumb as a Post

I am having great difficulty in trying to understand the workings of a seventeen year old boy’s brain.  I can understand a seventeen year old girl’s brain a little better because I was one…once..a long, long, looonnng time ago. My son is  a very clever chap and highly inventive with a heart of gold and yet manages to make me crazy and is driving me to pull out a rare bottle of Lafitte Rothschild that is  hidden behind a glass case.  There is a brass chain holding a plaque and a mini mallet on the outside  that reads: “Break glass in case of emergency”.

What is it about a teen  boy that makes their brain stop working and  experience hardship in the “logic” area.  Is that part of the lobe on a continual lunch break?  I know my son can put two and two together, but it’s when he has to think about putting them together is when the trouble begins.  He will find a loop-hole to master mind a scheme between the TWO'(s).  I have spent a lot of my” mom” time ascertaining “mom” knowledge that is based on experience with a little pinch of hindsight.  I have pitched independence and autonomy to my son and  left him  to hold the cards until they spring out like a magician who has  lost control  of his deck.  Maybe I should switch to Domino’s, at least they fall in consecutive order.

My son has been preparing for his SAT’s and  I have left him alone  with only minor nagging in order to conquer this feat .  A feat that is to predetermine where his future college will be.  A feat  that was developed to stir anxiety in a teen just by uttering the words” number two pencil”.  A feat to jam his feet into over-sized Ive league loafers.  He managed to sign himself up for the test center and print out his golden ticket for his special day.  He  also arranged to buy the Study guide and prep until he was too pooped to prep.  He announced in his big -boy voice  the evening before the big exam that “he is ready“.   READY...for what? Is he ready to get into the car, is he ready to get out of his flannel Guinness pajama bottoms and put on some Khaki’s, is he ready to possibly clean his room, or is he ready to PREPare some breakfast?

I asked my son what time he needed to arrive at the testing center and he assured me it was to be bright and early, “around 7-ish”.  It was the ISH that worried me.  I asked him to check his Willie Wonka ticket for the arrival time, but he pooh-poohed that notion, and had it in his head that he knew the time. ” I got this, MOM“,   were what I believe to be his exact words.  It takes approximately 25 to 30 minutes to reach the testing site.  Halfway there a light bulb exploded in his head and he decided to pull out the chocolate bar that held his winning ticket and read the instructions that listed the necessary protocol for SAT test taking.  It was now ten to seven and I was breaking the law in two states to get him there on time. My son mumbled the direction section and then I heard him yelp in a broken teen voice.  Under the list of necessities and PERTINENT information section; it stated in bold print that he needed his student I.D., and, “oh yeah, it says to bring your ID and arrive by 7:45” ………CRACK!…………..

That was the sound of  my  breaking the Lafitte Rothschild glass container………not a car accident.

I turned the car around and returned home so he could grab his ID and have a little time to, oh, I dunno…..THINK about what just transpired with his independent brain…...oh I got it mom…..  “ That’s OK son, mommy doesn’t mind getting up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday to prepare a healthy breakfast for you so your brain will have all the enriched nourishment it needs to remember all that information you study from that big fat Prep book that cost a small fortune. No worries, it’s just a test that determines the fate of millions of kids each year.  Maybe you could borrow an ID from one of the Princeton candidates”.   We drove all the way back home and then back again to the test center in order for my son  to make his scheduled debut.  My last words to him were;  well my second to the last words were; ” Phone me when it’s over and I’ll pick you up here..right here…same spot… don’t wander….don’t move”.

He phoned me when it was over and I told him I’ll be there in about  a half hour.  I arrived at the school and waited outside for a few minutes. He was no where in sight, mind you,  he’s six feet tall and not hard to miss.  I went inside the test center and there were a few students  left lurking in corners violently texting on their cells..  Probably got their results already and are forwarding them  on through the  Harvard information super highway. I returned to the car and waited another ten minutes. Still no sign of his blue sweat shirt. I saw a message on my phone from an unknown number and I listened to it.   It sounded like someone gargling salt water.  I returned the phone call and there was no answer.  I do not like chasing a teen down and I was never a fan of the game Hide-n-Seek…………SMASH!…………

…………..that was me stomping on the case holding the Lafitte Rothschild.

He phoned me and wanted to know where I was and that he decided to go over to his friends house who lives a few blocks from the testing area. He said he left me a message.  It might as well have been a message in a bottle.  I staggered  to erase my menopausal anger for a few moments to collect my thoughts to navigate  my car over to pick him up.  When he jumped into the car all he could manage to say was how tired he was from taking the SAT’s.    Oh my heart goes out to him for having to endure such pain in filling in Scantron circles.

I blurted out:  “Son, what part of DON’T MOVE don’t you get?”. …..” What intricate part of your brain told you to send me on a wild goose chase to locate you.  What part of the garbled message from Jacques Cousteau was I suppose to interpret?”  He retorted back: “you need to have more understanding.”………SCREECH!………

That was me reaching for the emergency corkscrew in the glove-box……

“Oh I understand you had the wrong time scheduled in your brain, and I understand you forgot your Identification card, and I understand the unlimited mileage and gas used in  transporting you to and from and to and from again, and I understand you’re borrowing an unknown phone, and I understand messaging can get distorted, and I understand enduring twenty hours of labor and pushing out a nine pound baby boy can be hazardous to one’s brain; But I don’t understand your logic right now”.

He states emphatically: “Because I wanted to go over to Josh’s house”.

………and  POP!  goes the cork…….

I want(ed) to thank Carl Brigham for his insight and development of the SAT’s.  ” He derived that they could be used with accuracy to predict a person’s innate mental capacity;  however,  these tests failed to help with knowledge of baseball trivia, brand names, and cuts of beef.     AND also to help a son to stay put when his mother tells him to stay put…….


Ahh…pour and sip…….

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Spectra’s right: the brain isn’t fully cooked yet. You need to remind yourself of this at least twice every day. And please remind me once in a while, too, because my seventeen-year-old could be your son’s twin. (By the way, is he going to take the SAT again? I’ve published three SAT test prep books. I’d be happy to send him copies.)

Great post, as always.



I have a feeling he will take it again, and yes I would be very interested in a SAT book, thank you! Can you make them SIGNED copies???



I can’t do signed copies because the books are shipped from the US and I live in Canada. But if you think he can use them, email me a mailing address and I’ll have then sent.

mail@mostlybrightideas.com



Please do not post the info I sent..thank you!



Your boy is growing into a MAN.



LMAO! Thanks for the drop in!



Spectra says:

– Plus teens between the ages of 15-17 require several more hours of sleep a day, also hormone and growth related. And the teen brain is not fully developed in sensibility, some gland in the frontal lobe, will not be finished until around aged 20. Due to this, teens make very poor decisions and lack common sense yet. I was made strikingly aware of this when visiting a friend in CA – she let her 17 year old daughter drive, who kept speeding along the guard-rail-less cliffs, 400 ft above sea level, full of tight twists and turns. AS I already feared for my life, the mother continued to point out the sites where several teens from town had driven right over the edge and died on those cliffs. Then the mother and I had a cocktail and she didn’t pay attention as her teen drove us home at 58mph in a 35mph zone. Needless to say, I am no longer friends with this idiot.



That is one of the reasons I left Los Angeles and moved to a quiet town in PA!..Thanks for the drive by!



Heidi says:

I heard someplace that the male brain gets pickled in testosterone. Not sure if that’s it or not, but the potency of the brew is probably pretty high in his head right now. My son got better when he hit 25… hope that helps!



Thank you for that insight..that is the best explanation I have ever! Thanks for dropping in again!



As the father of a 9-year-old who would forget his head if it weren’t attached, I can only imagine what the future holds…



Stay tuned.. I’ll give you a sneak peek..



God bless hormones! Ever the fuel of “come here, go away.” May you out-maneuver those little beasties that turn darlings into enigmas.



They truly are from a different planet for several years. The question is, is their planet better than ours? 🙂

Did you ever see this? Required viewing where I taught:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/



I’m not sure, but I will give it some thought….LOL thanks for the drop in!



Phil says:

Ah yes, the joys of parenting. Would you believe I was once a gorgeous blond-haired blue eyed woman before I had kids? Now look at me – a googly-eyed frazzled old man, more or less as good looking as my avatar!

Thanks for the laughs and stroll down memory lane of high school aged kids, Charlywalker. The last of mine is now finishing up college, and after three college tuitions, I’m looking forward to retirement in oh, about 82 more years…



Oh I know!..thanks for the drop in!



How many times yesterday when my 17-year-old son was driving my mommy van and moi to rent his first college apartment did he utter those very words, “I got this, Mom”! Usually on the heels of my screaming, “You’re crossing the center line”, or “You’re ten feet behind a car driving 70 MPH!” My survival tactic, after hitting my knees and fervently thanking Jesus, Jose, Jack, and every other liquid buddy I could recall, was to pour one extremely dirty Ketel One martini! Think we’ll survive this??



ok, now were on the same page..you’re talking dirty (martini)!! Thanks for the POP-in!



Hahahaha! That’s hilarious! I can picture my brother doing this very same thing to my mom. My son is only 3 right now, but I’m looking forward to the day he does this torture to me. :/



It’s like to strings on a bull fiddle. One’s high strung and the other is too slack. 😉



Well put! Thank you for stopping in again, always fun when you comment!



This was great! Having had similar experiences, I appreciated the tie-in with the Lafitte Rothschild. Mine woulda been straight Jack Daniels.



LOL..I thought I should dress it up a bit! Thanks for the drive by!



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