Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ask the Experts

Expecting the Worst from Your Teenager at Holiday Time*

by Claudius, King of Denmark

As children at Elsinore Castle, my beloved brother and I would never have dreamed of the kind of insolent talk that comes out of kids' mouths these days. Kids. O! How that very word makes my gorge rise! I never wanted children of my own, so it's just another testimony of my love for my wife, Gertrude, that I took on the role of step-father to her son, Hamlet, after that completely and totally unexpected tragedy/marriage whirlwind at our home.

Speaking not from the perspective of a "natural" father but from that of an "interested observer" of my step-son's behavior over the past months, I can assure you, fellow parents, that it's much better to expect the worst at Holiday time. This Thanksgiving, you will only set yourself up for disappointment, rage, and murderous feelings (joke!) if you think that your kid (that word again!) is going to behave and make you proud. No, he will embarrass you and undermine you in ways that may include the following:

1) Dragging his mother into the guest bathroom to have a "serious talk"
2) Smearing mashed potatoes on his face and wailing "too, too sullied flesh!"
3) Waving a turkey leg in people's faces and babbling about graveyards and body parts
4) Accusing the young ladies in attendance of being "sluts full of turkey shit"

Please take my word for it. The only way to get through this holiday is to expect the worst from your teen . . . . and to party like we do here in Denmark. Cheers!

*Note from the Editors at Everyday Shakespeare: We know that, according to the gravedigger, Hamlet's supposed to be thirty years old. This is confusing given Claudius' comments here. But we also know that Claudius can be a big fat liar.

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