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How To Be A Perfect 15 Year Old

Your attitude must remain solidly encompassed with contrary-ness. Whatever grandma suggests, find fault. Should she grant your heart’s desire, switch desires. If you really want that proffered gelato, make sure and complain about the size or the amount, even the weather.

Never miss any opportunity to project pure misery. Hugs should always be accompanied with a heart-felt ewwww.

Attempts to engage you in conversation should be blunted before the conversation begins. Earphones were invented to prevent meaningful conversation. Deploy them strategically; default to ‘already more happily occupied.’ Make sure you miss the beginning of every exchange, forcing them to wave their hands and restate whatever it was. This frustrates ‘em and puts you at a distinct advantage. Properly deployed, this approach should get you a welcome invitation to just plug back in, which is what you wanted, anyway.

Do not be proud. Show yourself inept in small, helpful activities. Never leave a complete mess, just an apparently inadvertent one. This way, you can always suggest that the directions were not stated clearly in the first place. Inject an occasional, frustrated-sounding, “Jeesh, Grandma!”

Of perhaps primary importance, you must stay awake half the night, every night, and require a team of dray horses to drag you out of bed every morning. Then disappear into the bathroom to prepare for the day while the oldsters prepare one of their special breakfasts. Be sure to stay in there until the breakfast has gone cold and inedible, then declare that you’re not really hungry this morning.

You must never learn to put your dirty dishes into the dishwasher without being reminded fifteen ... no, sixteen times, at least.

If one of them asks if that movie moved you, ask what they mean by that, then obliquely comment that they’ll probably be talking about that film for the rest of the night. (An eye-roll could prove helpful here.)

Never over-play your hand. Remember, they still think of you as a sweet—or potentially sweet—eight year old, and you’ll forfeit most of your leverage if you too frequently puncture this illusion. If you get sick, withhold this information until it turns chronic, then wait another day or two before announcing that you’ve been barfing beetles since last Tuesday. An hour into a day-long excursion should be a perfect disclosure time. They’d have to be heartlessly inhuman not to turn around and slink back home.

Then take to your bed as if it were a throne. Accept the odd nurturing even though it might entail some dreaded conversation. If it gets too personal, play the woozy card and catch up on some of that sleep you missed overnight.

Love, true love, is measured in angst tolerated. Without angst, there could be no love. It’s easier if you really feel unloved or unloveable, or both. The dedicated grandparents will carry much more burden than you could ever suspect, so your diligence will be strained. Fear not, you’ll outlive ‘em both if they don’t strangle you in your sleep.

This almost never happens.

©2013 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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