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Disgruntled Dad

Well, it’s about time. After much persistence, the fine folks at Lincoln Kids have finally agreed to give voice to the opposition. Me, your Disgruntled Dad

Why, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps they thought it was only fitting to add a little humbug to the impending holiday spirit, or maybe this just proves that complaining long enough and loud enough can get you somewhere. Whatever the case, I’m here now to start setting some things straight about those ultimate incessant complainers – our kids. 

In this column, I’ll be sharing tips, tricks, and rants about how to put up with those little buggers. Be sure to check back in each edition for new and proven strategies on how to ignore, avoid, and grumble. Trust me, it works!

I’m sure some of my advice will prove controversial, and I assure you, I look forward to ignoring your opinion too. But before we get into the hard stuff, let’s start with a topic we can all agree on: the Internet is the worst. 

Like many of you, I’m old enough to remember the soothing tones of a dial-up modem and the promise and perils of the early years of the digital Leviathan. Remember those olden days when we were all afraid the calendar might break on New Year’s? Ah, those were great problems to have. Now, we have YouTube, which last month served our 7-year-old a how-to video for making a prison shiv out of a toothbrush. What’s next, Wild Krats Visit the Big House?! 

Speaking of algorithms, who starts these horrible trends our teenagers keep adopting? I’m not talking about Tide Pods here. That kind of stupid is timeless, like playing on train tracks, or trying to pet a raccoon. No, I’m talking about “prom-posals” and whatever they call the homecoming version. It was bad enough when they all learned about proper skincare and how to take pictures from magic angles that make them look taller and cooler and older than we did when we were that age. Now their dates are also organizing choreographed “asks” with witty posters and gifts worth more than I spent on their mother for Valentine’s Day.

Even the schools have gone over to the dark side. Online parent-teacher conference sign-ups in emails I can’t be bothered to read; GroupMe’s to coordinate soccer snacks I won’t remember to bring; spelling lists, gradebooks and attendance records all buried in different apps with different logins that I’m supposed to check every day? Don’t they realize I already have a full-time job’s worth of this kind of nonsense to ignore?!

I wish there was an easy solution to all this, but frankly, I’m stuck. Like you, I tried all the obvious steps. I’ve tagged them in pictures on Facebook and commented on their friends’ Instagram posts, hoping that would embarrass them back into the real world. I’ve forbidden them from using some apps and ridiculed them for using others, hoping to goad them into classic acts of teenage rebellion like reading Sartre and criticizing my bourgeois values. Nothing seems to work. 

So, what now? I’ve considered nuclear options like smashing our home router, but what with 5G and ubiquitous public hot spots, I know it’s a partial solution at best. Then there’s the risk of the blowback those rascals might direct my way in the form of fresh anger, deeper angst, and increased attention-seeking. Not to mention, the horror of trying to pass the hours after their bedtimes with something other than Netflix. 

No, my advice, dear readers, is to do what we parents have always done: take solace in the knowledge that they’ll have their turn to suffer soon enough. If you think Disgruntled Dad is bad now, kiddos, just wait until Grumpy Grandpa has nothing but time on his hands to spoil your brats in the metaverse!

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