Richard Ord: Smells like teen spirit, or their underpants!
'If you could travel back in time and be any age you wanted,' my 16-year-old son asked, 'what age would you choose?'
For obvious reasons, I took my time with the answer. There’s usually an ulterior motive or hidden backstory to any conversation with our children.
You can be sure the question: “Were you particularly attached to that ornate antique ornament in the front room?” is not a polite inquiry, but the preamble to explain how it was broken.
Similarly, you can bet your bottom dollar the question: “How much do wing mirrors cost?” Is not a sign that your child is developing an interest in car maintenance, but something far more, well, costly.
Unable to spot any traps, I answered our Bradley’s question.
“I wouldn’t mind being the same age as you boys,” I said (they’re 13 and 16), “it’d be fun.”
He was agog.
“You must have one sad life if you want to be my age,” our Bradley replied. “It’s terrible.”
Now, I know it’s not easy being a teenager these days, but my sympathy wears a little thin when the teenager in question is lying on his bed, in Calvin Klein pyjama bottoms, playing on his PlayStation, as I’m picking up the pile of dirty washing he’s left on his floor. Oh, the deprivation!
I’m sure his brother has the same view on the terrible life teenager have. Unfortunately, he wasn’t around to ask. He was in Italy skiing with the school.
Like I say, it’s a tough life.
Isaac, the 13-year-old son, returned home from his skiing trip to reveal exactly why I’d want to revisit my teenage years. Life is just one big party.
He kept a diary of his trip. It featured stories of boyish mayhem which he chronicled for just three days of his jaunt. The diary included bedroom raids, run-ins with someone known as the Cookie Monster, falls off ski lifts, snowball fights and something called ‘Ordy Time’ on the resort dancefloor.
“And what exactly is Ordy Time?” we asked.
From what we could gather (he wouldn’t go into detail) it involved leaping into the disco throng with the shout of “Ordy Time” and performing a dance routine involving an inordinate amount of hip thrusting.
He returned with a suitcase so full, it burst as it tipped up on the carousel at arrivals.
There wasn’t anything extra in the suitcase, he’d just neglected to fold any of his clothes, trusting instead to the roll ‘em in a ball and stuff ‘em in school of suitcase packing.
One bonus of his trip, was the washing. There was barely any. Even though he had been away for a week, he rarely changed his clothing.
“What’s the point?,” he explained. “ It was much easier to just put the same clothes on again the next morning.”
If I could go back in time, it’d be teens every time.
High jinx, high fives and (poor) hygiene. What’s not to like?