Friday, November 7, 2014

Tea Bags Bridge the Generation Gap

by Rose A. Valenta
Laugh a lot, and when you're older, all your wrinkles will be in the right places.”~ Mel Brooks

“You know, Mel Brooks uttered the best political line I ever heard, ‘If Presidents can't do it to their wives, they do it to their country.’ That’s why we have political activists like teabaggers.” Uncle Harry said over a hot cup of tea.

Muffled giggles could be heard from the college students seated at the dinner table, but they laugh at everything, so we paid no attention.

At least four generations of our family were represented at the table: Aunt Millie, who is 85, but too young to remember the original Boston Tea Party; Uncle Harry, who is in his late 70s; my husband and me; our oldest grandson, Johnny, who is just 19 years old, and his two college guests, Mike and Ben; and our straggler, Spuds, who is only 12, and our notorious little prankster. Of course, the generation gap almost always causes communication chaos. Today, for some reason, it was worse.

You would think that communicating with the 12-year-old would be a challenge, but it isn’t. The 19-year-olds have their own language code. They still say things to each other like “Mahna Mahna” and sit there and laugh. Only they know what’s funny about that.

"Nanu nanu,” I said to my husband, “Pass the sodium chloride.”

He laughed; and the kids just sat there silently looking at each other.

“Labadt,” he said, as he handed me the salt shaker. More silent stares from the kids.

“These teabaggers do have a point.” Harry said.

Giggles erupted from Johnny, Mike, and Ben. Spuds was just grinning.

“What do you think, Millie?”

“Lookey here, Harry, I don’t want to be discussing politics. It ruins my appetite. Two years ago, they thought Obama was the cat’s pajamas, now they want to give him the 23 skiddoo. So, quit talk‘in politics and pass the potatoes.”

“Well, this ain’t like the tea party you remember. Life was simpler back then, they just threw it overboard and that was the end of it. This is serious.”

“If you say one more thing to me about teabaggers, I’m going to have to hurt you.” She said.

The giggles were getting louder and Johnny’s face was all red.

“I think we should change the subject” my husband said. “Besides, that was taxation without representation; this tea party is about spending without any money. It’s a whole different concept. Why they use the term ‘teabagger’ is beyond me.”

Mike’s milk squirted out of his nose and the other boys were roaring. Spuds was on the floor gasping for air.
“I don’t know what you're up to,” I said to them, “but if you keep it up you are eating the rest of your meal in the laundry room.”

“Tea, Aunt Millie?”

“Bruhahahaha” Johnny couldn’t control himself, and Spuds was down for the count.

“That’s it! Get away from the table. I’m sorry this couldn’t have been a better time for you Mike and Ben; but obviously Johnny and Spuds can’t behave today. All of you will have to eat in the other room.”

After dinner was over and the dishes were done, Millie and Harry left, and the boys turned on the TV in the family room. They had an extra day off from school, so I knew I wasn’t going to get any rest.

My husband was outside putting something away in the tool shed, when Spuds tip-toed into the kitchen. I was sitting there with a glass of Fat Bastard Chardonnay. There was no calorie count on the wine label, just a hippopotamus. I felt comforted.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” I asked.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “It wasn’t all our fault, though. I can’t tell you why, but if you look at my laptop, you’ll understand. Just wait till I go in the other room, OK?”

Sincerity was written all over his face; but, for some strange reason I got the feeling I was getting punked.

“OK” I said, half expecting to find a dead mouse on the keyboard.

Spuds joined the others, and I got up and walked over to his laptop, which was on a small table in the nook, just off the kitchen.

In big yellow letters I saw “Urban Dictionary – teabagging.”

“OMG!” I blurted.

My husband walked in, took one look at the expression of horror on my face, and asked “What’s wrong?”

I pointed to the laptop saying almost incoherently “Mahna Mahna.”

How is it that we live in America, speak English, and can’t agree over the real definition of a simple tea bag? ▪

To order my book “Sitting on Cold Porcelain” for $2.99 (less than a gallon of gas) click here SMASHWORDS, it is in all digital formats: Kindle, Nook, eBook, Sony, PDF, etc.

Also follow me on Twitter: @rosevalenta
and Facebook: Rose A. Valenta