Teenage kids help keep parents' egos in check

"Soy un perdedor, I'm a loser baby, so why don't you kill me?!"

If these lyrics from Beck resonate with you, you might be the father of a teenage boy or the mother of a teenage girl (or someone in need of clinical assistance). It's true - I am the dumbest, clumsiest, most thoughtless and annoying person on the face of the earth. I know because I've been told so (maybe not as directly) many times.

What makes my flaws even more apparent, though, is a series of events. For starters, the three other children - all girls (collectively, the "Buffers") - are either in college or gainfully employed. Additionally, last year, for family reasons, we moved to our lake house. So, all my typical distractions, like golfing with friends, drinking wine and bourbon with friends, shooting skeet with friends, smoking cigars with friends, going to dinner with friends - well, you get my point - are gone. I'm now in a bunker behind the Cheddar Curtain, living only with my brilliant son and wife. The highlights of my week, and I wish I was kidding, are as follows: Sunday – go to church and then for bar food; Monday through Friday – work (not a highlight, BTW), watch "Wheel of Fortune" and then play pickleball two to three times a week. Yes, I AM training for retirement. Only 12 years left to go. Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!

And, as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. Given that's the case, I've been in jail since late August, when we moved to Wisconsin. It's not all bad - I wake up to turkeys, cranes, bald eagles, and plants that have been eaten by deer during the night. I live on a beautiful lake, and I'm reasonably sure five people have come to tolerate me enough to spend time with me, as long as it's a couples' thing AND my wife is present. The sixth is still on the fence, I can tell.

But I digress. The glaring sun that is my flaws has never been brighter than right now. As I write this, it's a Sunday morning (almost church time, yeah!) and my lovely wife is out of town, leaving me and the golden child alone. Despite the fact we went out to a really nice dinner last night (even by Hinsdale standards), at least as it relates to the food, service and decor, my blatant humanness was the consistent topic of discussion.

Apparently, I am: old, unattractive, offensive, unintelligent, inappropriate, forgetful and old – did I mention old? And those are just the ones I can remember. If I'm being honest, all these traits are somewhat factual (I mean who doesn't like being a little inappropriate sometimes, amirite, Suga?). Let me tell you, if someone tells you you're arrogant, go birth a same-sexed teenager. That'll fix you right quick. If it doesn't, you're probably not human – at least based on my experience. Your mileage may vary, however.

Ironically, I'm pretty sure this is all my mother's fault (isn't everything?). Seriously. When I was a teenager, she prayed I would someday have a son just like me. Way to go, mom! Never underestimate the power of a mother's prayer. Though when she said it, it definitely sounded more like a curse than a prayer.

All I can say is I'm looking forward to the day when my son is 21, and, according to Samuel Clemens, I will finally have learned some things.

Oh, and Happy Father's Day to you brothers in the trenches. Party on, Garth.

- Bill Lewis is a former contributing columnist and recently became a former Hinsdalean. Readers can email him at [email protected].