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no advice to give

My son (he finally finished his Who am I? essay, by the way -- turns out he's Ed Scrimger) is tall, handsome, athletic, and popular -- all things I was not at his age. I have no advice to give him. I never have had much advice for my kids. Do your homework, eat your fruit, dress warmly, go to bed .... this isn't advice. These are orders. Mind you, my kids tend to treat my orders like advice, or maybe suggestions, so that a half hour after bedtime they are still up, and many meals pass through them without benefit of fruit. (Did you finish your apple? I ask Thea, and she shakes her head. Hoping that if you do nothing I'll forget about it? I ask, and she nods, without taking her eyes off the screen. Hmmm.)

But I really have no advice for Ed. A couple of years ago we were walking down by the beach and a group of girls came up to us (all right, who am I kidding -- they came up to Ed. I was simply the old guy with Ed) Want to play? they asked, real excited, and Ed, calmly, shook his head. We walked on. That kind of thing happen a lot? I asked him. He nodded. Yeah, it's kind of embarrassing. What should I do about it, Dad? I choked on my coffee. How about ... enjoy it? I said, thinking back to Grade Seven, a year when no girls came up to me and asked me to play. (Which did not sharply differentiate it from any other grade. Indeed, even now ... but let's not go there.) He sighed.

He still asks my advice (he's in Grade Nine, taller, more athletic, more popular than ever) and I still can't help him. We were standing in the body spray aisle of the drug store the other day, and he spritzed a sample into the air. What do you think of this one, Dad? I sneezed. Or this one? Spraying again. I choked. I am so not a cologne guy. Soap and shaving cream is about as exciting as I get. Maybe that's why there's no one asking me to play. Hmmmm.

Maybe Ed has some advice for me.


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