In honor of Father's Day, here's another selection from my late father's copious writings. This piece appeared in 1997 in a monthly homeowners publication in the south Florida community where my parents enjoyed their retirement.
Kindly raise your hands if you are the grandparents of a teenager. Thank you. I asked you to raise your hands -- not throw them up in despair.
However, I share the bewilderment of you fellow grandparents as you contemplate the metamorphosis of your normal, beautiful grandchild into some strange, non-familial creature. The dire teenage landscape out there, we are given to understand, is punctuated with weird cultism, outrageous hairdos, bizarre tattoos and ring-pierced body parts -- not to mention attire unearthed from some nearby landfill.
Molly and I have been suddenly and disturbingly awakened. We have a model grandson: a prepubescent but wannabe teenager who will be twelve in May. We felt the first tremor of a tectonic shift in our grandson's geology when we received a letter from him.
Molly got to read the letter before I did. She told me, "You might be interested to know that Jacob now spells his name with a 'k'."
"I don't understand," I said, "You mean he now calls himself 'Kacob'?"
"No," she replied, "he changed the 'c' in his name to a 'k'. Jakob with a 'k'.
"Why?" I asked.
"Not 'y', she said impatiently, "'k'! I guess it's a trendy thing among pre-teens."
Fear clutched my heart. Were we witnessing the first Article in our innocent grandson's undeclared Declaration of Independence? How far down the road was that ring waiting to go through his belly button?
"Whatever possessed him to drop the 'c'?"
"I don't know," said Molly, "See for yourself."
"There's no 'c' in yourself," I mused.
Molly looked menacing. "Don't start with me."
So what else could I do but write my grandson a letter?
Please note that the salutation is exaktly as you dekreed. But forgive us if we konfess to some konfusion. We are also kurious. We thought you were kontent with 'Jacob'. How kome the change? We kan't help but wonder if you are kontemplating some other unkommon changes. Please remember that at our advanced age we kould not kope with anything too radikal. But if you don't kare to komment on the matter, we will understand and konsider the kase closed bekause we love you unkonditionally.
P.S. I'm wise to you. You just wanted to see what I would do. Well, as you see, I did not reakt.