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July 4, 2013

Teenage Summer Views

I asked my 14-year-old son to write my column this week because he was "bored" and couldn't think of anything to do with his summer besides parking himself in front of back-to-back episodes of Ancient Aliens on The History Channel. Yes, it's really him, and not me pretending to be him. Kid has a sarcastic side; not sure where he gets it.

Hi. Judging by my one-word lead, you probably know that this is not Starshine. My name is Stone, and I am Ms. Roshell's oldest son. This column will not, for a change, make fun of Christians, vegans, or any other thing my mom is not.

If that's what you're into, you'd best stop reading now and check back a couple of weeks when my mom will probably write a column that straddles the line between raunchy humor and uncomfortableness, as usual. This column, however, will discuss a few things my mom doesn't talk about and will not mention vaginas or flossing. Or vagina flossing, for that matter.

You may be wondering, "Why is Starshine making her son do her work for her?" Well, I'm not sure either, but the reason I accepted her offer was because she told me the only way I could get a glimpse at a TV before 8 p.m. was to bang out a column for her. And of course, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Why do parents feel so strongly about TV-watching anyway? Whenever I ask my parents about why "screen time" is so bad, they say "because it rots your brain," and they laugh and walk away. If teenagers want to sit on their butts and do nothing all day, don't stop 'em! What we do every day during the school year is equivalent to an adult work day, except worse. Adults get to eat lunch wherever they want, check Facebook when the boss isn't looking, and chat with friends all the while.

We receive minor versions of these luxuries (thanks to bros who'll buy you lunch off-campus, smart phones hidden under your desk, and the invention of whispering), but we don't get paid for it. Plus, after the school day is over, we have to go home and continue working on homework. So when we finally get to summer, and we wake up that first morning and have an agenda of absolutely nothing for the day, LET US DO IT.

In my opinion, summer should be one extended apology from the parents to the teenagers for all the crap they put their kids through during the rest of the year (room cleaning, studying, "family time," etc.) They should be offering us rides downtown, encouraging us to play video games, and buying us actual Oreos — not the Trader Joe's kind.

However, my parents allowed me only two weeks of zoning out on the couch. I feel robbed of my nothingness, in a sense. I should get an even bigger apology, because my mom is absolutely crazy (wow, I hope she doesn't edit this). Besides the fact that she has twice forced us to clap for her when she parallel-parked in a tight spot, she thinks that biking is a perfect alternative to riding in a car and that driving her son from point A to point B is spoiling him. Whenever I take longer than 12 hours to do my laundry, it suddenly becomes public property, and I wake up to find my dripping-wet clothes in a heap on the floor outside the washing machine. If I'm not careful about guarding my "nothing," I'll probably end up just biking around the world and doing laundry for the rest of my teen years.

So there's your column, Mom. See what you get for asking me to do your work for you? Now the world can hear my logical, well-thought-out views on teenagers and their free time. And look, I even got a few hours of screen time out of it!

Keywords: teenager  Ancient Aliens  screen time  Oreos  nothingness 


Nice article. I just hope that Stone comes to realize how much of his opportunity and ability to write it are a result of good fortune. Nearby there are kids whose main concern is how long it will be before their father beats up their mother again, and further away are young women walking 5 miles and back every day to fetch water for their families.

Fri, Jul , 12:25:04

This kid has real talent. I see a great future for him... hope he keeps it going. (Mom should be really proud, and I bet she is!)
Ray Morgan

Fri, Jul , 13:04:50

I must say, Starshine, you must do something right, no matter what your son may think or say! The kid sure can write, express himself well in his righteous indignation, and even compliments you (without meaning to?) with his comment on his first word!
Nothing wrong...on the contrary...with using a bike to travel around Santa Barbara (lucky we can) or around the world. Many things to discover that way which are hidden from a car occupant. As to TV, computer games and the like, same as with sugar or alcohol: a bit doesn't hurt, too much does rot your brain (or health).
Homework...well, it's a necessary evil, for both kids and teachers (bet you never thought of it from that angle, Stone).
Enjoy your summer! And write another column at the end of it, to let us readers know all the wonderful things you did!


Fri, Jul , 18:28:31

What a fun article! We have a post-teenage son & daughter - hence I was drawn to your headline. I was impressed - Stone did a great job giving an honest outsider's view of your column's typical contents. Ok - I read the first 2 paragraphs aloud to "dad". At the start of the 3rd paragraph, I said - "I'll keep reading out loud and see if Stone's writing stays afloat (entertaining) or sinks and fades." He's afloat! His viewpoint has validated my parental ideas re: laundry, Oreos & family time. Thanks again for the fun.

Sun, Jul , 09:38:00

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