Growing Up in Pipestem
By Mike Stevens
A Pipestem Daydream Tale
Clem Cousins Jr. was listening to both his parents rag on him; first his mother:
“Son, you need to mow the lawn, then empty the garbage, then clean your room, and when you’ve finished with those things, come and see me and I’ll find something else for you to do.”
Then it was his father’s turn: “Boy, I saw the dirty look you gave your Mother, and I’m very angry with you right now.”
His father was always angry with him for something. Come to think of it, so was his mother, who was talking to him again. “Kids today! Why, when I was growing up we had it a heck of a lot worse than you do. I remember…”
His weary mind tuned her out, and he was soon lost in a daydream. He was done with school, permanently! As he walked in the front door of their 4-story house, he thought to himself,
‘I’ve made up my mind, I’m dropping out of school to pursue my dream of rock band super-stardom full time. I know what Mom and Dad will say: the odds for a regular kid becoming a rock star are astronomical. Well, I’m not a regular kid, I’m going to be a rock star!’
His parents had better not say one word, his mind was made up. As soon as he entered, his father called out, “Welcome home son. And how was your day?” Well, there was no point in delaying the confrontation. He just blurted,
“Dad, I know you’re going to be upset, but I’ve finally made a decision about my future. I’ve decided to drop out of high school, so I can devote 100% of my time to my dream of becoming a rock star.”
Now the crap would hit the fan! But much to his surprise, his dad replied, “A rock star? A very good choice Son. Eunice, come in here so Clem Jr. can tell you his exciting news himself!”
Clem Jr. knew then that his father was being sarcastic. Once his mother heard his plan, they would both tell him he was being ridiculous.
“Now that your Mother’s in the room, go ahead and tell her son.”
Clem Jr. cringed inside and told her, “Mom, I’m going to drop out of school and concentrate 100% on becoming a rock star.”
“Oh honey, that’s the decision I hoped you’d make! I mean, anybody can graduate from high school, but how many kids dream big, like my boy?”
Clem Jr. couldn’t believe what he was hearing! And here he had worried about their reactions.
“Son, I think a celebration is in order. Get you a beer?” his father then said. This was too good to be true!
“…and so you think you’ve got it rough, try walking 10 miles to school, no matter what the weather’s like!”
He woke from his daydream with a start, and realized his mother was staring at him, expecting his comment. “Ah, sounds like you had it a lot worse that I do when you were a kid. I realize now I’ve got no room to complain” he responded, even though his mother hadn’t had to walk any 10 miles to school. She grew up right across the street from hers. But knowing his mother like he did, it wouldn’t be wise to point that out. He rose to leave and saw the unhappy look on his father’s face.
“What are you so angry-looking for?”
“Son, we found empty beer bottles under your bed!” Oh crap!