Cell Phone

I was accused of trying to be cool by one of my son’s friends. It’s unclear if the thing that I was accused of doing made me cool or if the reverse psychology of someone thinking I was trying to be cool inadvertently made me cool because I was doing it…not knowing it was cool. (Yes, this explanation invalidates all my claims of coolness.)

Here’s what happened: I was with Justin in the car and we went to pick up one of his friends to bring him to our house. Usually, I leave the boys alone to have their private conversations and I zone out and listen to my music. Once they were on our way home (and I think GWE was in the car with us,) I stopped paying attention to what the boys were saying. However, I was mindlessly singing along to Kendrick Lamar and SZA on the “Black Panther” soundtrack. Yes – I realize the optics of a 40+ year old white guy listening to Kendrick and getting into it, but I like what I like.

From behind me I heard Justin’s friend say, “Hey, Jason. Stop trying to be cool.”

Once I got over the fact that my son’s friend decided to address me by my first name as if we were peers, I realized what he was saying. He thought I was trying to be cool by playing this music. He didn’t know that I’ve been listening to Kendrick regardless as to whether he was in the car or not.

Tell me what you gon’ do to me
Confrontation ain’t nothin’ new to me
You can bring a bullet, bring a sword
Bring a morgue, but you can’t bring the truth to me

So, I think an 11-year inadvertently acknowledged my “coolness” while trying to get me to stop singing. I prefer to view the incident as, “he brought the truth to me.”

One of the reasons we wanted Justin to have a phone had to do with some of his Summer vacations this year. We planned on having him spend one week in Atlanta with his grandparents. He also spent a week in NY with GWE. We wanted him to have a phone just in case he got separated from GWE, needed to reach me, or uncovered an emergency Poke-Stop that contained a Nidorino he really needed.

During their trip, there was one morning when GWE had a meeting that she could not bring Justin to. Her plan was to leave Justin with Aunt Rori – a casting director in NY. He was going to ‘work’ for Rori for a few hours and then GWE would catch up with them later.

I knew when Justin was supposed to be in the office. I thought it would be funny to call him on the main office line and pitch him some of my clients. When I called, an assistant answered the phone and I explained that I was Justin’s dad and I wanted to talk to him and pitch some actors to him. (Ha Ha!) I was put on a brief hold. When she came back on the line, she responded, “He said he’s very busy. He said to please call him later.” And, then she hung up.

I thought he was joking with me, so I called his cell. He picked up on the third ring. “Hi dad. I’m really, really busy right now. I can’t talk. I’ll call you later.” I could hear the exasperation in his voice and imagined him rolling his eyes as he saw my caller ID on the phone. He didn’t give me a chance to utter a single word. He simply said, “Bye” and hung up

In less than 5 minutes, I went from thinking he was kidding, to being pissed that he wouldn’t talk to me….to hearing the lyrics to “Cats in the Cradle” in the back of my head. It was a sobering moment.

The more I thought about it, the more it became apparent that this was a double-doozy of self-realization. Not only did Justin (sort of) reject me by not taking my call….but, it also dawned on me that I’ve probably had the exact same exchange with my own dad a few times too many. It sucks to be on the other end of that conversation.

“I’m gonna be like you dad. You know, I’m gonna be like you.”  The older you get, the more sobering those lyrics become.

Excuse me while I make a call……..

Brothers have a special way of communicating with one another. Some brothers use their words and some brothers use their fists. My boys have elevated the art of communication to a higher level thanks to Justin’s new phone…and Garrett’s confiscation of my cell phone.

Below is the non-verbal communication of The Priluck Boys, courtesy of $1 billion dollars’ worth of Apple iPhone development and technology, Verizon’s cell phone service, multiple satellites in space, and the fastest bandwidth available:

Brothers and phones. Yea…that’s a good use of technology!