Speech given at the Area 34 Humorous Speech Competition 6th October 2007
I was driving to work the other day when I saw a bumper sticker on the car in front.
HIRE A TEENAGER WHILE THEY STILL KNOW EVERYTHING.
The more I thought about it, I realised that life can be exciting from a teenage viewpoint.
I took inspiration from the bumper sticker. Despite being a parent of two teenage girls and nearly half a century old, I started an experiment. From now on, I would think like a teenager and behave like a teenager.
But how should I dress? When I was growing up I would often wear a singlet under my school shirt in the winter months. On colder days I might even wear a t-shirt instead.
The modern teenager has literally turned this idea inside out! Instead of wearing a t-shirt under a shirt, it is worn on the outside! So what, if the long sleeves stick out — this is youth fashion! The shirt on the outside is practical. If you get too hot it is a simple matter of taking off the t-shirt. There is no need to disappear somewhere to get changed.
As a teenager I remember my mother constantly nagging me: ‘Charles! Tuck your shirt in!’. Smartly dressed used to mean tucked in and looking neat. The modern teenager never tucks in a shirt. It should be allowed to hang freely over the pants. Young males like the look of women in stylish mini-skirts and are trying to dress accordingly. I think it is some sort of skirt envy.
What else do teenagers love apart from fashion? Music. In my teenage years, I listened to music on the radio or played records or tapes on the family stereo – as loudly as possible. A regular complaint from my parents was ‘Turn it down!’.
I decided to get with it and buy the modern teenager’s must-have fashion accessory, a special hearing aid with distinctive white cord — the Apple iPod. Judging by the high paced Shhh..Shhs..Shsss sounds emanating from the ears of other teenagers, this device is best described as the teenager’s pacemaker.
The word that best describes iPod is ‘cocoon’. I can be insulated from the rest of the world as I go about my daily routine accompanied by my own personal soundtrack. The headphones stay in all day except when answering the mobile phone, but it is alright to keep a headphone in one ear and place the phone on the other ear . after all, teenagers can do many things at once.
Speaking of mobile phones – being a teenager has taught me about high speed communication using the text message. Kids are doing everything with text messages these days aren’t they? Arranging dates or voting for their favourite Australian Idol.
You can do anything with text messages now. Just about the only thing teenagers can’t do with it is spell properly. I remember when they made addressing letters easier by giving up on all the punctuation. In the same way they’ve made text messages easier by giving up on punctuation and all the vowels.
My business communications are so much quicker now that I have given up writing punctuation and vowels. By the way, did you know that the Guinness world record for typing a 160 character text message is 41 seconds? Who is this champion? A 16 year old in Singapore. This is quite an achievement since the typing is done just with the thumbs.
Speaking of thumbs, I forgot to say that I bought an Xbox and a couple of bloodthirsty computer games. The sound and graphics are so realistic. I enjoyed the shooting so much that I nearly changed career and joined the army!
All good things must come to an end.
It was a fun experiment living like a teenager but I had to stop as I couldn’t remember how to get dressed, my aging thumbs were getting sore, and the iPod stressed me out with the high speed dance music. I couldn’t maintain the pace!
I concluded that being the parent of teenagers is just as much fun as being one.