Neil and Me

Si su hijo es tan grande como usted,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 “usted,” 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 dad, while watching a movie or a tennis match or whatever. The wheel had come full circle. Almost.

Digo “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.

La radio Sony juega en, impermeable a estas reflexiones tristes, con voces alegres jóvenes repartiendo canciones y chistes para el beneficio de una nueva generación de viajeros yuppie llenos de entusiasmo y afán de conquistar un mundo. Little do they know — it was all conquered many times over during the summers of yester years with the same gusto and passion. Las viejas vanguardias un paso al costado de buena gana y hacer espacio para los hijos de los nuevos veranos.

La nueva generación tiene diferentes gustos. Ellos zumban a diferentes iTunes en sus iPods. Este receptor de radio hermosa, con la mayor parte de ella diecisiete bandas de onda corta impares ahora silenciosa, es probablemente el último de su especie. La música y las bromas de la próxima generación han cambiado. Su peinado y estilos han cambiado. Pero los nuevos activistas cobran en los mismos sueños de gloria como los que antes que ellos. De ellos es el mismo entusiasmo. La misma pasión.