What the young people are up to

Indulging me in a photo.

That’s my nephew. He’s 17. He currently has a girlfriend, a car, a cute dimple inherited from his Mom, a great sense of humor, intelligence and a sound heart. In case you couldn’t tell, I think he’s swell.

(NO FAVORITISM ZONE: My 14-year-old niece has all of these qualities and her own special ones, too, but I was unable to wrestle her into a photo. Stay tuned. I am undeterred.)

As part of my own personal research and for the good of the great advertising and marketing community, I thought I’d share a few insights from my long weekend with the teenage set.

  1. Why say it when you can text it? OMG, LMAO, TTFN.
  2. Thankfully, there’s still an appreciation for ’80s music. (My nephew LOVED the mix CD I made for my sister, although he grew a bit weary by the end of the 9-minute version of Donna Summer and Bab’s “Enough is Enough.”)
  3. Hollister, American Eagle and Abercrombie seem to be among the preferred uniform.
  4. Energy drinks are huge.
  5. Teenage boys can still eat an incredible amount of food in very little time.
  6. When it comes to communication or information, well, to quote Carrie Fisher, “instant gratification takes too long.”
  7. Video games look like movies.  (Be nice to me. I still remember PONG.)
  8. Parents can still be horribly embarrassing.
  9. Allowance has risen with inflation. (In fact, I am now considering letting someone adopt me.)
  10. Driving = freedom. (Even when your aunt is in the passenger seat, as long as she’s not embarrassing you.)


When Dorothy Hamill's hair ruled the world.

From left: me, my sister and my cousin, circa 1978.

I’m going to visit my sister tomorrow. In light of this, I burned a CD with some of our childhood favorites which includes Maxine Nightingale, Michael Jackson, Olivia Newton-John and Donna Summer. (Kindly contain your jealousy. Asked nicely, I might just burn a copy for you.)

Below is a little something written in honor of my sister who still insists I only exist because she wished for me on her fourth birthday.


Wishes are for sisters and stars
Wishes are made of dust
And so was I

A birthday wish come true
You picked my name
Brought me to school as show and tell

Pencils and brushes made good microphones
For duets with Captain Fantastic

A hundred near-misses
Almost down the laundry chute
Because it looked like Alice’s rabbit hole

My life spent running
To catch up with you
But somehow
Little sisters get left behind
You can’t come
You’re too little


Big sisters swagger
They’re the bosses
The sheriffs of your town
Hold your sister’s hand
Watch your sister

Indian burns, piggyback rides
Kickball and fireflies

Tickling, pinches
Kicks under tables
Stop looking at me

Doomed and blessed right from the start
How do you love your sister?