The Fiction of Owen Thomas

Dear Miss Tinkles

Dear Miss Tinkles

Trapped Upstairs in My Own Home

Dear Miss Tinkles:

My son has recently graduated from college and is back living at home. He shows no interest in getting out into the community and looking for a job. He spends much of his time watching television, talking on the phone, surfing the Internet, playing video games, drinking beer and eating everything he can find in our kitchen. When he left for school, we did not anticipate him coming back home to live, so we converted his childhood bedroom into an office for my husband. Our son now sleeps on a pullout bed in the living room, which forces us upstairs to bed earlier than we would otherwise care to retire. At least four nights a week, our son will invite his girlfriend over to spend the night. We don’t like her very much, but we try. We know they are down there having sex and smoking marijuana, but we have not said anything because, frankly, I really do not know how to broach that subject and because our son has a tendency to bristle and become unpleasant when we draw boundaries. We do not want to kick him out on the street, or rekindle the wars that characterized his adolescence, but we just can’t continue with the way things are. What do you suggest? Sincerely, Trapped Upstairs in My Own Home.

Dear Trapped:

This is not a difficult problem to solve. You are making the mistake of trying to minimize the conflict by giving your son more space at your own expense. I think you should try going the other direction. You need to show much more enthusiasm about the current relationship.

Try this. The next time you suspect your son is having sex with his girlfriend, you and your husband should pad downstairs to the living room in your jammies and have a seat. Turn on the television. Better yet, leave the television off and just talk about whatever comes to mind; recent medical complaints is always a winner. Better yet, start necking.

I guarantee you that this will not sit well with your son or his girlfriend. If he objects and asks for some privacy, simply apologize. Then explain by telling him that now that he is back home, you are just very anxious to start spending more quality time together as a family.  Then ask if he will explain how Facebook works. Tell him you want to have a Facebook page that links to his Facebook page so that you are fully apprised of all of his likes and dislikes and can share in all of his friendships.

Only don’t call it Facebook. Call it either MyBook or FaceSpace or BookFace. He’ll hate that.

When he objects, apologize. Then ask him if he minds if you borrow some weed and play video games. Assure him that you will keep the sound down and encourage him to resume having sex with his girlfriend if she is still in the room at that point.  Only don’t call it sex. Call it either coitus, or bumping uglies, or hizzitin the skizzins (as in “You two keep on hizzitin’ the skizzins. You’re mother and I will just pop in Grand Theft Auto and play count the hos.”)

That should do the trick. But, if he is not packing his bags within the next 48 hours, have your husband call your son’s girlfriend on the phone and ask if she would like to come over and listen to Neil Sedaka and play a family game of Strip Twister.

She will probably have other plans. When she declines, your husband should tell her that he will make sure to schedule it the very next time she’s over. News flash: she’s never coming over ever again. Ever.

Your son will only stand the deprivation but so long, particularly if every so often the two of you actually do either play Strip Twister or listen to Neil Sedaka.

You’re welcome! Sincerely, Tink.

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