Kids these days and their darn rock ‘n roll music | March 29, 2023

My weekend Facebook feed was top to bottom about the appearance of northern lights – aurora borealis for us sophisticates – in North Dakota last Thursday.  If you’ve never had the good fortune to see the northern lights in person, they are one of those things where even the most majestic photo does not do them justice.  Kyle and I were driving to Canada a hundred winters ago when all of sudden the universe began to buzz and what was a pitch-black sky lit up into a chorus of dancing color.  The whole thing lasted ten minutes and will have a seat in my brain forever.

Speaking of things that are amazing and must be seen to be believed, my eleven-year-old is now 5’1” tall.  I am 5’2”, so if you are doing the math this means I can look Eleven and his friends in the eye when I pull a random sock out of the kitchen cabinets and ask 1) who the sock belongs to, 2) why it’s in the kitchen, and 3) where all of the other socks are located, since I’m standing in front of six boys in bare feet who were 100% socked not thirty minutes prior.

Obviously, I had a pretty good idea this time would come.  If you set aside the fact that North Dakota is one of the tallest states in the U.S., and also the non-fact that Kyle and I did the old wives’ tale thing where we doubled our sons’ heights at age two and both of them came out to be over 6’, I am still short.  “Small but mighty,” as my mom likes to say.  Not to brag, but I’m bigger than the average Bangladeshi by .08” and Bangladesh isn’t even the shortest country in the world (it’s the ninth-shortest).

Still, it’s weird.  It’s weird that I suddenly have these large people roaming around my house, especially since they are inherently wee babes who can be bribed with fruit snacks and have a handful of Tooth Fairy visits left in their futures.  It’s also weird that these big-little children have started to develop interests outside of the things their parents tell them to like – specifically, in Eleven’s case, social videos.

So that we are on the same page, social videos are videos shared on platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook.  My favorite social videos, for example, are recipe tutorials.  My second-favorite, as another example, are worldwide restaurant tours.  My third-favorite, unrelated, is workout instruction, which I watch with the phone propped up next to me on the couch so that my hands are free to eat the food I cooked and/or ordered.  My fourth-favorite, and all of the favorites beyond, are too embarrassing to admit.

I am no monster; I don’t expect Eleven to appreciate my personal brand of quality video content (#253 on my list is watching people make teapots out of clay).  Instead, here are the social videos I’d like Eleven to watch: science experiments by real scientists in controlled environments, people being kind to one another, children practicing their tubas because they want to improve and not because their parents are standing over them saying, “Playing the tuba means practicing the tuba.”  Also, puppies.

Here are the videos Eleven actually wants to watch: I don’t know.  I mean, I KNOW, because I see them with my eyeballs and he gives me a frame-by-frame recap of every single one at dinner – but I don’t actually KNOW WHAT in the aurora borealis is happening in any of them.  One of the meager few I sort of understood was a cat made in the style of old-school pixels.  The video was twenty minutes long, and it was just that cat flying through the air with different outfits on.  Eleven was hysterical with laughter.  After it ended, he asked, “What was your favorite part?”  And the only thing I could think to say was, “I liked how much you liked it.”

Kyle is in a similar boat, especially when it comes to…I’m not even sure how to describe these…impersonation videos?  Re-enactments?  Basically, young people dress up as their mothers or teachers or siblings and mimic how they would respond in specific situations.  The totality of this caricature typically involves sticking a t-shirt over the top of one’s head so that it cascades down like hair(?).  Also, the background is fake, which I think is a part of it.  The titles of the videos are something on the lines of, “North Dakota Grandmas Be Like…” and then a huge amount of screaming.  No matter the topic, screaming is central to the script – and if there is one sound Kyle LOVES, it’s SCREAMING. 

However, because we grew up in the ‘80’s when DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince stated the obvious that “Parents just don’t understand,” Kyle will stand there and watch what Former Victorian-Era Pirates Who Are Now Homeroom Teachers Be Like and then say to an eager Eleven, “What’s a pirate’s least-favorite vegetable?  Leeks.  Now go practice your tuba.”

In addition to being large and a modern-day video savant, Eleven has started to become aware that maybe Kyle and I aren’t as hip and jive as he might have thought, giving us a glimpse of an era to come when we are devastatingly uncool.  To counter-act that, I have taken to sending him YouTube shorts about why kids should respect their elders.  Also, puppies.

Bruh, the photo above is of the sweatshirt my boys gave me for my birthday.

West Fargo High School has a peer-to-peer program which is currently pairing students with and without special needs to share in the universal world of coffee. (Fargo Forum)

Minot’s JJ Franks will be on the Jennifer Hudson Show TOMORROW after winning $10,000 by scoring a layup, free throw, three-pointer, and one-handed half-court shot. (KVRR)

Bismarck’s April Lund has broken the U.S. Women’s Track and Field 3,000-meter American record for women ages 40 to 44 at the World Master Athletic Indoor Championships in Poland. (KFYR TV)

Valley City’s Hadlee Mathias isn’t yet out of high school and has already earned 41 record-breaking college credits. (Fargo Forum)

Get out yer binoculars – Game and Fish is looking for bald eagles. (KX Net)

Teachers!  Gateway to Science is putting together a STEM All-Star team.  Nominate your all-star students – also the first 25 students nominated get two tickets to a Larks game – here. (Gateway to Science)

The Minot community came out to welcome back the Beavers after winning the ACHA Men’s Division I national championship. (KFYR TV)

WHOA!  Curling is now North Dakota’s official sport thanks to the work of Bismarck 6th grader Alaina Schmidt. (Dickinson Press) (KFYR TV)

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