Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Cringesday: Remember when we were young?

My darling little 9 or 11 year old cousin (There are so many, I forget exact ages, ok? Sue me.) just sent this to me. She discovered email a few weeks back and I've been bombarded with little snippets into her world ever since. Her missives sometimes crack me up, sometimes break my heart, but always make me glad I've grown up (theoretically). I've drafted about 300 responses and none of them seem to convey anything useful, including instead helpful advice like "you'd better quit band now if you ever want a boyfriend" or "stressed out!? try a pregnancy scare then call me back about 'stressed out'" and "definitely keep playing basketball even if your teammates hate you and you're on a losing team because no one likes a fatty." So you see, I need your help. What do I say?

Hey Blythe, Whats up? We had to play our instruments for a bonfire a couple of days ago. It was so much fun! How are things going at your place? Hope your having fun at your school. Speaking of school, we had a couple of b-ball games over the past couple of days. Out of three games,we only lost both. But then yesterday we had another game: The 5 and 6 grade girls won, the 5 and 6 grade boys won, and the high school girls lost.[ aww man!] Enough about me, what about you? I'm so stressed out! There is so many things going on at our school. Your friends all reject you, then you are told that you're not a starter, and there is so many things to be mad about! Well, I gotta go and do my laundry. Talk to you later! Love you!

33 comments:

Dan said...

Well, you can start by getting her a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style.

blythe said...

Harsh, VTK, harsh. We can't all be natural geniuses like us. Or me.

Step Right Up said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Step Right Up said...

Tell her you love her, that you're glad she picked sports over cheerleading, and to stay off of MySpace.

Matt A said...

It's amazing what kids will say in a "post 9-to-11-year-old world."

Matt A said...

This is how it works:
You're young until you're not,
You love until you don't,
You try until you can't,
You laugh until you cry,
You cry until you laugh,
And everyone must breathe,
Until their dying breath.

Dan said...

I think you mean "or I".

Just kidding. I kid because I err.

Clinton said...

Dan... You're comment about Elements of Style just made me choke on my soda. Nicely done!

blythe said...

SRU - i suppose that would be the right answer. she's really very dear. she has two sisters and a brother. life can be tough.

matt - a little vagina spektor there. i like.

dan - oh. i thought you might kid because you love. oh well.

clinton - i know, me too. what kind of soda? i'm a diet coke plus gal.

Clinton said...

Diet Coke as well, but the regular, non-plussed variety.

Dan said...

clinton - thanks. I'm currently ranked as the # 1 asshole in Boston. And that's saying something.

bee-spot - it was love, until all this "boyfriend type person" business. now it's just like.

blythe said...

clinton - DC+ DC+ it's mother's milk.

dan - i waited as long as i could.

Michael5000 said...

That's a pretty impressive spew of words for a 9 year old, or even an 11 year old. Wordsmithery runs strong in your family.

Are you really looking for advice? (I'm always afraid that if I get sincere, I'll have missed the joke and everyone will throw stuff at me.) Here's advice: No point talking too much about your own life, because adult life is a mysterious faraway planet to kids. Better to just ask her lots of questions about her own life, keep her talking, and encourage her in the things that you like to see her doing. (Like, when my sweet little nieces take fake but very realistic-looking murder-scene photos of each other and post them on the internet, I give them some serious praise. 'Cause that shit cracks me up.) Oh, and don't be afraid to use sarcastic abuse. Smart kids love that.

blythe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blythe said...

Ok, this is what I ended up sending:


Hi XXXX,

I'm glad to hear you're still enjoying band and playing music. What are you so stressed and mad about? What kinds of things are going on at your school? Keep focusing on your instrument, being a good student and a good team player and things will calm down and work out.

Things are good here. My job at the university is going well, but very busy! When I'm not at work, I hang out with Mom and Dad, my friends, and our dog, Claire. Every now and then I see Josh too.

Have you seen any good movies lately? What shows do you watch on TV? What music have you been listening to? What are you thinking about asking for for Christmas? How are your sisters? How's your brother? How's the new house? Wow. I have a lot of questions!

You've inspired me to do my laundry tonight too! In the meantime, I miss you and will see you at Christmas.

Love you,
B

ok enough?

TK said...

Works for me. I would have just sent her the lyrics to "Wild World" by Cat Stevens.

She is quite the precocious little thing. I agree with the Myspace advice. Also, tell her to avoid clowns and people who smell like gin.

blythe said...

tk - good ideas. the cat and the mysapce and the clowns. the problem with the gin thing is that she'll have to find a new family.

melba said...

I think you sent a very sweet and happy response. I google chat with my seventh grade niece and kiddingly offer to prank call the little witches who are mean to her because she is really smart. And for some reason this isn't cool in seventh grade. I would trench yards in my Toyota Echo for my niece though. Luckily she has more sense than me and doesn't want my "help"

blythe said...

melba - oh yeah. i've got her back. and the rest of the gang too. your echo might not leave much of a dent. better to use TP and eggs.

Matt A said...

You need to add, "and stay in schoool!"

blythe said...

and don't do drugs. and stuff.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

Good thing your cousin is a girl, because your response of "Keep focusing on your instrument" would have held an entirely different meaning.

d said...

ok. first of all, why is a 9-year-old doing laundry?

second of all, someone seriously needs to teach this kid some grammar. is instead of are (singular v. plural) you're instead of your. that kind of stuff.

third of all, this kid's 9 and she can't count? is she slightly retarded? if so, nothing you say can help her.

as for what to say? tell her to just start drinking already. it'll set her up for a lifetime of stupor and pain avoidance.

d said...

ok. obviously i didn't read the comments before i posted. once again, late to the party. i gotta stop spending so much time making sure my hair is just right before i leave the house.

good response back. i'm sure it was exactly what she wanted to hear. also, nice way to lead by example, re: the whole grammar and proper sentence structure thing. teaching without preaching that's what i always say.

Mr. Shain said...

i'd seriously slap that bitch, blythe. "I'm so streesed out!" My ass you're stressed out. Try writing three 25 page papers, grading 100 exams, telling six kids they're getting expelled because they plagiarized, rehabbing two post-surgery bulldogs, all while trying to study for your general exams in the spring. Seriously, try it.

Big Daddy said...

I think it's cool that she wants to chat period.

Most kids I know think us elders are lame.

So@24 said...

Compliment her on the fact that she knows the difference between "your" and "you're".

She's smarter than 90% of bloggers/MySpace users out there (or is it "their"?).

Beau said...

You should have offered to substitute teach at her school, that and the advice of staying off myspace.

JHC said...

I think your reply was spot-on, B. You showed interest in her problems and let her know you take them seriously, answered her questions in a positive way, and closed by talking about some every day stuff.
You did good.
Next time, make sure to tell her not to ride in cars with boys until she's 25.

blythe said...

cherry - oh yes. i hadn't thought of that. leave it to you.

d - yes, you're hair is grate! also, she goes to school in nowhere, panhandle, oklahoma so it's actually a miracle she's literate at all. seriously. additionally, her parents are republicans.

mr. shain - they got expelled? nuh uh. and for such a shitty paper.

big daddy - i know! it's cute. they're all chatty, except for the littlest one.

so@24 - well, she shows a more competent grasp of english than our preseident. i'll give her that.

beau - yes, yes i should've.

jhc - thank you and yes. i buy them smith stuff most years for christmas hopefully leading them to think that they'll actually never need to encounter boys.

The [Cherry] Ride said...

One of the few things I love about Shain is his need to not only whine on his blog, but in the comment sections of other people's blogs too.

(yeah, I went there.)

5 of 9er said...

It's been so long since I've been young... I'm starting to forget. :(

Mr. Shain said...

one of the few things i love about the [cherry] ride is SHUT THE FUCK UP.