Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Kids and Music
Matt Seinberg

This column, my first, is about two topics that are near and dear to my heart. First is music. Second is my 14-year-old daughter, Michelle; y 9 year old, Melissa, is also dear to my heart, but this column isn't about her.

I am 52 years old. I like rock from the 1970s and Contemporary Country. Michelle likes anything she hears on three New York City radio stations: WBLI-FM, Z100-FM or WXRK-FM 92.3. Her list, of favourite music, includes "Lady Gaga," Britney Spears, Jay Z, L'il Wayne and other noise that I call "Loud Crap."

Does the sentiment and description sound familiar? That's what my parents said when I listened to WABC-AM, WXLO-FM 99X, WPLJ-FM or WNEW-FM, again, all in New York City. "Turn down that noise," was all I heard, growing up.

I say the same words, to Michelle, as my parents said to me. I laugh as I channel my parents. I wonder if I ever thought, deep in my mind, "I'll never say, 'Turn off that noise,' to my children."


I recall a family vacation to Cape Cod, in Massachusetts. We drove three or four hours from our home near New York City. I kept WABC-AM, which had strong signal, on the car radio, as long as I could. That was most of the way, to the Cape.

WABC-AM played "Joy to the World," by "Three Dog Night," so many times it was ridiculous. My parents glared at me. They changed the station.

I don't glare at Michelle, when a song comes on that I don't like. I change the station and laugh, again. It's fun. You should try it sometime!

Michelle wants a boyfriend. "Dad," she says, "I want a 'he.'"

"A what," I said, knowing what she meant, but wanting to hear her say it.

"A boyfriend, Dad; I want a boyfriend," said Michelle.

I said, "He, whoever he is, has to meet 'Derek Jeter,' first. That's what I call my baseball bat, a Louisville Slugger, "Derek Jeter," after the New York "Yankee" player. The Slugger is my way, of choice, to scare off boyfriends.

Michelle, undeterred, asked when I had my first girlfriend and kiss. After much hemming and hawing, I admitted I, too, was fourteen years old when my first girlfriend came along. It was Meredith Miller.

My family lived in Poughkeepsie, New York, at the time. I attended Croft Junior High School, as did Meredith. Her brother, Dave, warned me to stay away from her and not touch her.

He was too late. We'd kissed. We'd groped. We'd fallen out of lust and little interest in love.

This is why I'm too protective of my daughters. I know what fourteen-year-old boys think about, all the time and will try any time. If I had my way, neither of my daughters would date until, let's see, they're 37.

I read the first written document was a goat stamped on a small rock; the rock was worth 10 goats, in Samaria, 6000 years ago. The second written document was a lament on teenagers by a parent. I know why.

My parents hated my music. I don't care for the same music, as does my 14-year-old daughter, Michelle. She won't like the music her children love, but, as a grandfather, I will: it's a privilege.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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