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Jewish World Review Feb. 11, 2003 / 9 Adar I, 5763

Michelle Kennedy

Michelle Kennedy
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Consumer Reports

Uncool, unhip, and decidedly not groovy | It is not merely a well-known fact, it is an unwritten mandate: When you give birth or take part in anyway of the raising of a child, you, by default, become absolutely uncool. You are unhip, unkeen and decidedly not groovy. Period. End of story.

I was O.K. with this description for a while. For about ten years, in fact. I reveled in it.

I did not know where MTV resided on my television and I had no idea who Nickleback, Creed or Eminem were. I also had no idea that the superstar they call J. Lo was the actress Jennifer Lopez who played the teacher in "Jack" or the wedding planner in, well, "The Wedding Planner." I was perfectly happy to drive my van and listen to my James Taylor CDs on my way to dropping a child off at dance class or football practice.

Lately, though, my late night television diet of the news (I rarely make it to Letterman) and my primetime viewing of kid-friendly sit-coms (the only ones I can find lately are on the retro TV channel), have become, shall we say, unsatisfactory. Maybe it's a thirst for my youth or perhaps even a desperate desire to see leg warmers made "in" again. I don't know. I don't really care.

So I did some surfing (with remote, not actual surfboard) and I hit upon a show called "The Osbournes." I loved it.

I wish I could parent like Ozzy.

A tattoo? No problem. Pink hair? Whatever. Bored? Let's go to Malibu. But alas, I am too poor and, as I said earlier, simply not cool enough. When my kids need a lift, we head for McDonald's - a Happy Meal being our only reprieve from the daily grind.

But my children can't believe I watch "that" show. Neither can the other mothers at my their school, but if those moms can get their hair colored and frosted in a search for their lost youth, then I can watch "The Osbournes."

And I do. Even if I am not cool enough to remember the three-digit number that will call MTV up on my television, I am cool enough to know how to program it into my remote. So there.

I read recently that more baby boomers (a generation of which, for the record, I am not a member) are listening to Eminem. I am not sure if this is more frightening for the boomers, their children, or Eminem. After all, it must be shocking to Eminem that the very people he is trying to tick off are now championing his rebellion. Perhaps the boomers are looking for some of that old hippie, rebel magic?

Baby boomers are reportedly also getting the majority of advertising directed their way. For the first time, in like, forever, dude, advertisers are aiming for the older consumer (a.k.a those who kept their cash in savings bonds and didn't float a new dot-com venture) and not the trendy younger consumer.

So instead of "Dude, you're getting a Dell," the commercial will go something like "Hey Man, you're getting a hip replacement."

Finally, finally, baggy gray sweatpants and a T-shirt stained with baby food will be "in!"

But of course the danger of having been so uncool for so long is not the embarrassment I cause my children (that's the fun part), but the fact that by the time I discover something that is cool, it's probably on the verge of going out.

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JWR contributor Michelle Kennedy is the mother of four, a humor columnist for the Green Bay Press Gazette and author of The Last Straw Strategies, four books full of tips to tell you how real moms and dads deal with the best and worst of parenting. Comment by clicking here.


01/27/03: Do you know who you are?
01/08/03: How the tables have turned
12/17/02: In defense of moderation
12/04/02: TV by the book
10/31/02: Zen and the Art of Duct Tape
10/15/02: How to make a million dollars without really trying (No, really!)
09/18/02: I am Mom, hear me roar!
08/29/02: The dream of winter, a promise of summer
07/26/02: My Martha Stewart fantasy
06/25/02: Deliver us from Walt
06/06/02: This game fits parents to a tee
05/09/02: "Shut up!" "Stop shoving!" it's Mother's Day
04/18/02: Yes, They're All Mine!
03/25/02: Thrust into a Barbie dreamland
02/01/02: Shooting the 'surplus population'
12/20/01: Zen and the Art of Clutter
12/14/01: Confessions of a serial library fine payer
12/06/01: Too good at my job, I quit

© 2001, Michelle Kennedy