Yo, word up.
My little girls don't think their Dad is very cool.
Do I want to be seen as 'cool' in my little girls' eyes?
No. I want to be Dad the authority figure. The guy that Mom refers to when the kids are bad and she states "wait until your father comes home!"
But Dad can't be the authority figure.
Father holds the authority.
Dad is the guy who plays kick ball and throws them for flips in the pool.
But I am starting recognize that I have to be able to wear these two faces – with complete sincerity – at a moments notice.
So I am trying to bridge this new version the generation gap.
When we are playing on the Wii and they actually beat me – I have to be able to say to them "Oh no you did-n".
When do something really good, I have to respond with "BAM!".
Or sometimes "SNAP!".
So do I like talking that way? No. But it is becoming a necessity to reach inside what are becoming young girls minds – and speak their language.
I can't "dig their scene" – that was my generation, as groovy as it was. I have even caught myself holding my fingers in a V shape across my chest with my thumb up – saying "peace out" on the way out the door on my way to work.
But Father still has to speak plain clear concise instructions with no hip-hop inflections at all.
"I said put down the crayons and go to your room now young lady!"
I can't look at them and say "don't you be dis-n me!". It just doesn't work.
My older daughter Alannah – in her complete wisdom at the ripe age of eight – thinks she is pretty cool. I can hear and see the 'new west coast valley-girl' attitude already happening. She will stand there when she is mad – looking straight at me pursing her lips and her eyes in an angry glare as she struts her head from side to side like a bad Jennifer Lopez impression as she 'snaps me a Z'. In Canada – it would be a Zed –which doesn't carry the same weight at all.
I'm raising a couple of little J-Lo's. And I can't stop it – so I might as well go with the flow.
"Did you just snap a zed at me young lady?" I reply as Father. "Oh no you did-n! You can talk to the hand little girl!" I say as I accidentally slip into Dad. "You get in your room and clean that mess up!" says Father. "And don't be hate-n!".
As you can probably tell, I haven't yet perfected this skill of transition.
Now I realize this doesn't sound very masculine. But when you're the man in a house full of women – you have to acclimate. And you have to remember to lift the seat.
But I can't let Dad show up at work. I have to be Professional-Guy at the office, which is not as fun. Sometimes at the office I have too much fun. Ask anyone I work with.
But someday in the near future this might change.
Right now in my department, we are looking for a new programmer. It is a junior position. Ideally this new hire would be a young person for this role that can grow and mature with us.
But the younger people that my colleague is interviewing are of this same generation and influence as my daughters.
He'll probably be named Zeke or Mango. His pants will hang across the crack of his butt with his designer fruit of the looms exposed.
But I can imagine in ten years, as I am in my late fifties, sitting in a room full of early-twenty-somethings and holding a meeting that goes something like this:
"Yo word". I will start.
"Word", they will all reply.
"We have to make some changes to the holographic image translation service. So we are bustin' up into possies to optimize our productivity". I say pointing to the hologram chart projected over the round table floating in the air. I reach in and point at one of the team charts which makes it expand into focus.
"Mango, you'll be rolling with Ashton and Charity".
"Dude", would say Mango.
"Don't be hate-n", I will reply as I look at him over the rim of my bifocals. "Yo word to yer mother. You're a team of skilled individuals, and you will be professionals".
Charity would stand up and snap a Z at Mango.
Ashton would interrupt and say "Chill y'all".
"But that ain't how I roll", will reply Mango.
"Snap" will say Ashton.
I won't be able to discipline this new generation, as the laws of that day will require us to be much more tolerant of employee behavior. And we will require their new skill sets to achieve this holographic translator that I can't even imagine a use for now.
So I'll be stuck.
At that point, I will have lost this group – and I will have to reconsider my resource allocation in my project plan. Because the peeps in this one possy will simply not work together.
But at my retirement party – another ten years down the road – should I ever be lucky enough to retire – I would hope that Mango would get up and say a few nice words about me.
"Dude", he would start.
"Mr Brill is good peeps. We rode some rad narleys over the last ten years here and the man was always pretty phatt and good homie. Even though he always rolled it old school – you knew he was down with ya".
And my lovely wife Darlene will turn to me and say "ahhh … isn't that sweet".
I can see it coming.