In case you're thinking of acquiring a teenager, let me have a word with you first.
Consider acquiring a dog instead.
But I can hear you saying, "Hey P.C., you're biased." To which I can only say, "Quite right, I am a dog and I am biased. But who isn't?" And, you have to listen to someone.
First, let's consider the matter of acquiring a dog. The simplest way is to go to the pound and pick out one you like. I strongly recommend choosing one that is able to show you that they very much like you too.
Now acquiring a teenager is much harder. I don't know how you get one, but it has to be difficult, and I know it's more expensive than just paying for their shots.
Now once you get one of them home, a dog will look for a warm comfortable spot, circle three times, and proceed to maintain a low profile.
A teenager will immediately take whatever room is assigned to them and proceed to destroy it.
Dogs are not always tying up the telephone.
Housebreak a dog, show him a few simple routines and that's it. With a teenager there is never an end to it. You talk until you're blue in the face. You think they haven't heard a word you've said ... until a few weeks later they'll display their selective retention by arguing "But you said ..."
A dog never plays the music too loud. How do you like to be greeted when you come home from a hard day's work?
A dog is out-of-their-mind happy to see you, and they let you know that every way possible. On the other hand, to get a greeting from a teenager you must first find them.
A good place to start looking is in the refrigerator. You'll notice them bent over, going through the lower shelves where the lunchmeat used to be. The greeting is, "There's nothing to eat in this place! What happened to the 12 pound roast and the chocolate cake?"
A dog never requires auto insurance.
A dog has pride, and he's proud of you. Take your dog to town and he's bubbling all over with pride to be there with you.
Where's your teenager? Oh, maybe somewhere, like a half-block ahead, pretending they don't know you--or if they know you at all, it's from some remote parallel universe.
Dogs never blow up for no apparent reason and run off and slam the doors to their rooms.
Teenagers like to go away with pimply-faced strangers in unsafe-looking cars, and come home much later smelling of beer. Dogs do not approve of that, but then again, teenagers do not approve of us chasing car's tires.
Teenagers say, "Mom, gotta have a new pair of tennis shoes!" You probably flash back to a pair of U.S. Keds with a $12.95 price tag, right? Simply uncool! What they really meant to ask for was a pair of Nike-Reebok-L.A. Gears with purple stripe-air pumps, with red writing on the soles--cross trainers. After you pay a day's wages for the shoes, you'd think they would tie the laces.
Now there are some things that dogs and teenagers feel exactly the same way about. Neither of us can remember to use the car seat belt and we're both always hungry, (Dogs like high-energy snacks; teenagers like junk food).
And you can figure that at least once in our lives you'll get a call from the authorities and you'll have to come down and bail us out. Either of us will be scared, remorseful and very glad to see you.
And we both sometimes, at night, need to sit next to your chair with our head in your lap and have you pet the back of our heads and tell us we're okay.
Dogs do not require expensive weddings.
In fact, nothing happens in the life of a dog that requires the services of a caterer. You never even have to bake them a cake.
Hey, maybe that's the point. Teenagers grow up, they become adults who go off on their own to practice what you've taught them in their own way.
They rarely call, and they get their pictures in the paper and they fill you with pride.
And they bring home grandchildren who look just like you and are your link to eternity. And they give you precious memories that gleam upon your path through time like a rope of diamonds.