Neil and Me

Wanneer jou kind is so groot soos U,en

My mom used to say that when your child is as big as you, you have to treat them with respect. What she actually said was that you had to address them using a respectful form of “jy,” which doesn’t make any sense in English, but may work in Hindi or French. It worked poetically well in Malayalam. I was reminded of this maternal pearl of wisdom recently when I was watching a movie with my son.

The protagonist in the movie, who felt like a human punching bag, was feeling low and getting drunk in a bar. And then he gets snubbed by a stranger, and walks away muttering something like, “Do I have an Everlast sign pasted on my forehead?”

My son, accurately guessing that I wouldn’t have gotten the reference, explained to me that Everlast was a boxing brand, and that they had punching bags with the name prominently painted on them. He had seen them in his Muay Thai gym. I remembered then that this was exactly the kind of tidbit that I would have loved to share with my pa, while watching a movie or a tennis match or whatever. The wheel had come full circle. Almost.

Ek sê “almost” because I also remembered a time when the references would become just too many to share, and the sons would turn quiet. In the next five or so short years, I can imagine that my son will also find it overwhelming to keep explaining every little reference that flies past me. He also will turn more and more silent. While dreading that inevitable age of silence, I enjoy this moment for now, when his repertoire of interesting tidbits has grown beyond mine. And remember some other things that I wrote a while ago, in a moment of melancholy inspiration.

Die Sony radio speel op, ondeurdringbare aan hierdie droewe musings, met jong gelukkig stemme dishing liedjies en grappe vir die voordeel van 'n nuwe generasie van yuppie pendelaars vol oorgawe en gretigheid 'n wêreld te verower. Little do they know — it was all conquered many times over during the summers of yester years with the same gusto and passion. Die ou Vanguards stap eenkant gewillig en plek te maak vir die kinders van nuwe somers.

Die nuwe generasie het verskillende smaak. Hulle neurie aan verskillende iTunes op hul iPods. Hierdie pragtige radio-ontvanger, met die meeste van dit sewentien vreemd kort golf bands nou stil, is waarskynlik die laaste van sy soort. Die musiek en grappies van die volgende generasie het verander. Hul hare-doen en style verander. Maar die nuwe veldtog hef in met dieselfde drome van glorie as die kinders voor hulle. Hulle is dieselfde oorgawe. Dieselfde passie.