Seeing the world through a teen can be eye-opening

first_imgThen there’s the sudden advent of flag football, a sport that must be closely watched by all parents if it is watched at all, if you have any heart at all. That’s because if I don’t watch the game – if only for a moment I should talk to some mom about the wonderfully scandalous behavior of another mom occupying a chair just out of earshot – my son will make the play of his life and I will miss it. And should I miss it, we won’t be able to analyze his moves, combing through them like airplane wreckage, until they come to resemble in the retelling something as sublime and beautiful as a ballet. I don’t know exactly why we do this but it might have something to do with how we are both males and victims of the sports we have adopted to take the place of hunting, gathering and the once holy passing of seasons. Somewhere in this glut of activity, when I think that I am not ready to do it all again, it occurs to me that this is the last time I will do this, the 4last new year at this school, my last year with a 13-year-old boy going on as only a boy his age can about pro and college players that weigh in like circus elephants. Now back to the poem, which I quote here in selected snippets with permission of the author and quote at all because there is still something endearing about these last passing days of boyhood. It begins, “I am a liberal because I like being different from everyone else.” OK, so he’s my kid, but I didn’t know that he thought of himself as a liberal or thinks of being liberal as something distinctive. After all, Hillary Clinton is a liberal and all she does is try to convince conservatives that she isn’t. He continues, “I wonder why we don’t try harder to save the planet we live on.” Then, and this is the kind of statement that soon won’t come easily, “I cry if I think about the night my dog Cymbre died.” I wasn’t, however, ready for this line: “I understand that love exists and that it is just the greatest feeling and that it’s one of the very few true things in the world.” I’m surprised because most men spend decades getting to the nature of true things. That is, if they ever get there at all. And this: “I dream that one day I will be married to a beautiful woman, a smart and funny woman who loves me and that we will both love each other more than the day we met. I dream that we have two boys” (the above-mentioned ones). Then “I try to be a nice brother, friend and son. I hope that I will get into a good college and get a good job that I like and make enough money doing it.” He concludes, “I am a liberal and like being different.” Only he’s not so different in all the longing that goes with being 13 and all the desires that go with being a human being. With these coming amid the popcorn, cookies and all the other things that dilute us and wind up making dreams of our dreams. I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at [email protected], call 310-543-6681 or send a letter to Daily Breeze/John Bogert, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077. Hear my podcast at 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Van Helsing is, of course, the fictional vampire hunter while Mantle is The Mick and Brady is the New England Patriots QB. But more on these fictional sons and fictional wife later. Now back to back-to-school week, Catholic school style. Which is to say, the school needs money, as always! Actually, they need it all at once. Within the next few days, I know from long experience, I will receive information on the coming jog-a-thon, a yearly tradition that generates more money than a McDonald’s franchise. There also will be announcements for the sale of the following items: See’s Candies, Cub Scout popcorn, Girl Scout cookies and God forbid I should start a year without a letter warning me that my son also will be selling Sally Foster gift wrap, which is more costly than the costly skin of a new BMW. Every year we buy six rolls of the stuff, which means that for the past 14 years one or another of our offspring have trundled out a single paltry box of wrapping paper on pickup day while other kids have their parents back in SUVs to carry away their orders. But best of all is the announcement for the annual back-to-school gray-meat-burgers-on-wet-bread dinner. Every year we go and sit at long folding tables on the playground and make small talk with far younger parents who always seem to be talking about having second and third kids or buying new BMWs with lacquered skins as smooth as their own, as smooth as Sally Foster gift-wrap. I’m neck deep in back-to-school week. On top of that my 13-year-old eighth-grader asked me to proofread a poem assigned to him on the first day of English class. The first day! The poem was titled “I Am” and in reading it I discovered that he’d someday like to have two sons and live across the street “from where I used to live when I was a kid.” Which, of course, is the house he currently lives in because he is still that kid. Oh, and he wants to name his sons Van Helsing and Mickey Mantle Bogert. “If my wife and I have a third son, we’ll name him Tom Brady Bogert,” he wrote. last_img read more

Antonio’s peace pipe

first_imgANTONIO Villaraigosa has long played the role of peacemaker in Los Angeles politics. He famously resolved the MTA strike in 2003, and ended a downtown squabble that threatened to derail the Convention Center hotel deal last year. So, naturally, the city now turns to the mayor to bring peace to the South Central Farm fight. That is, if it’s not too late – which it may well be. The squatting farmers, activists and one-time celebrities who have made preserving the farm their passion make a good point: South L.A. needs green space, and the farm is a treasured community resource. But that doesn’t justify their obnoxious and unlawful protests. Again, for all their excesses, the protesters do have a good point. South L.A. needs the farm and its green space far more than it needs another commercial project, which is what Horowitz’s property will likely become. So we can only hope that Villaraigosa will be the peacemaker here, that he can quiet the rhetoric, soothe the hurt feelings, and press upon all parties to take the high road – if not for the good of each other, then at least for the good of all of L.A.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2First, the protesters demanded that the property’s owner, Ralph Horowitz, give them his land for free – just because they’d been using it for so long. Then they filed 61 different legal challenges against him – all of which were rejected – tying up his time and money in court. All the while, they demonized him in their rhetoric and campaigns. When Horowitz offered to sell them the land, they failed to meet his asking price or his deadline. Then they refused to leave his property, leading to Tuesday’s drama in which cops had to drag them out. No wonder, then, that when the Annenberg Foundation offered $10 million at the last minute to help cover the full price for the land, Horowitz angrily declined. He said he would not do any business with the protesters or anyone who supports them. This is where conflict of this sort usually leads – a dead end. And the only way to move forward now is to cool the passions. last_img read more