March 16, 2014

Ryan's World - My wife and I are enablers

My oldest daughter is no longer allowed to watch the news. Every morning she gets up and turns the television on to the news so she can have background noise and a clock to remind her of when she needs to leave. This has caused her to learn things she shouldn't know. Every newscast is filled with stories about drugs, robberies, deaths and murder, but that's not what I'm upset about. It's important for her to know there is evil and sadness in the world so she can learn from the mistakes of others and realize not everything is rainbows and lollipops.

It's the kickers, the little stories that are fun and lighthearted that producers use to fill space at the end of a newscast that caught her attention. (Woohoo! I finally got to show off something I learned from my radio and television communications degree.) One of those "kickers" could change her life (and ours) forever and not necessarily for the better.

After hearing this story she approached her mom and I and with all sincerity said, "I want to go to Clown College." That's right! The news reported there is and will be a shortage of clowns. We tell our kids as they are growing up they can be anything they want to be, but it is usually with the hope they will have aspirations to be something other than a clown. I was hoping I would eventually hear her say "I want to go to a good college and get a degree that will propel me into a career where I can take care of my parents when they get old and feeble."

I did a little research and turns out if you go to a Clown College that offers a degree program you can actually get student aid. I'm not sure what the degree would be – maybe Clownology. She could minor in cosmetology (hair and makeup); that might be useful. Their athletic requirement would be unicycle riding and juggling. I'm sure it would be a Bachelor of Arts degree, but in my estimation the degree would definitely be BS (and I don't mean Bachelor of Science).

I can't say I'm surprised by her desire to go to clown college. After all, this is the same girl that wanted a unicycle for two years. It is sitting in her bedroom waiting for the weather to get warmer. I've also tried to teach her how to juggle, with no success. I'm sure both are prerequisites for getting into Clown College. My wife and I are enablers and we didn't know it.

There were signs we completely missed leading up to her decision. A few weeks ago she was taking a shower and was taking an extremely long time. We only have one bathroom and my wife had enough. She busted through the door to yell and hurry her along. She caught her standing in the bathtub, looking in the mirror with an eyeliner pen in hand. She looked like a mix between Gene Simmons of Kiss and a deranged clown.

My wife instantly started yelling. No, not at my daughter. "Honey, grab a camera and come here quick," she said. If our kids do anything halfway embarrassing we want to make sure we capture it. We missed out on capturing her sticking her tongue on a piece of metal outside when the temperature was quite frigid. When she started yelling for help I went for my camera. She actually pulled the skin off of her tongue to prevent me from taking a picture. She wanted to know if the scene in a Christmas Story was true. She learned it was.

She is only a freshman in high school so we still have a couple of years to talk her out of Clown College. She has already informed us her back up plan is to be an actress. I've seen her algebra grade, maybe we should encourage her to be a clown.

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