In every parent’s life, somewhere between “Oh my god are all the bowel movements going to be that color?” and “Help I’ve fallen and can’t get up”, you're going to get one of those embarrassing questions you’d rather avoid. A time when a rotten floorboard allowing for a quick exit into the basement would be a good thing.
Usually revolving around sex (did you ever) or drugs (did you ever), there is no easy way out and in my experience it is better to face these head-on and be honest. Are you nuts? It is much better to pretend you just lost your hearing and need to go to the mall for an auditory exam. Auditory, from the Latin auditorius, meaning a really large room filled with seventh graders and their homeroom teachers who can hear really well so don’t call Mrs Farnham The Old Bag unless you want detention for five days.
Just the other day (I think it was last Friday) I had to deal with the one question none of us who have been able to fake being a great dad up to now want to face. The question you would give the good Lord the remainder of your life as a priest in exchange for avoiding (ha ha I’m not Catholic and had my fingers crossed anyway). The question you would rather be sitting on the Group W bench with the mother-stabbers and the father-rapers than have to answer (ha ha I’m not Arlo Guthrie).
“Hey Dad, when you were my age did you like John Denver”? Well there it is. No matter which side of the Weber you stand on the smoke is headed your way. Better they hear it from you, rather than read about your love for Henry John Deutschendorf Jr (his real name I swear I am not making this up) in one of those love letters from Brenda What’s Her Name you thought you had hidden (ha ha ha) on the top shelf of your closet.
“Why do you ask son”? In parenting parlance this is known as a subtle delaying tactic. This will allow you time to formulate an educated (ha ha ha) answer. Or maybe that floor joist will give way.
“Well I’ve been listening to his stuff lately and I kind of like his music. Is there something wrong with me”?
“No son, there’s nothing wrong with you. Why experts (guys in white coats with bushy eyebrows) estimate that 10 percent of men like John Denver.”
“Well what about you. You know when you were younger”?
“Well you have to remember son that was a time when men were not allowed to cry in public. Why even being seen coming out of Terms of Endearment with red eyes was an invitation to the entire JV football team to see if they could get your underwear up over your head (No Wooger I haven't forgotten). I can admit now that I like his music but back then you had to store your 8 tracks under your seat and only bring them out when you were trying to show how sensitive you were in order to impress Robin What’s Her Name on the way to the Root Beer Stand.”
“Thanks Dad, I feel better. Now about babies? Where do they come from”?
“Go ask your Mom What’s Her Name.”
“Yes Son, what now”? (For God’s sake it’s time for Law and Order)
“What’s an 8 track”?
Love you all. Peace. Peter