I grinned with satisfaction. Peeking at Evien in the rearview mirror, I said, "Pretty good, huh? Would you like me to turn it up?"
"No!" Evien said. "I want you to turn it off! This guy's not even singing, he's just screaming. I can't even understand what he's saying. How can anyone even call this music?"
I turned the knob of the car radio down, and as AC/DC softly bellowed "Hells Bells," I thought, "That's exactly what my parents used to tell me about my music when I was a kid."
The next song was Ted Nugent quietly screeching "Cat Scratch Fever." It reminded me of my kids telling me, "Dad, don't pick your scabs or you'll get a scar that will last forever!"
My mother used to tell me that all the time. "Stop scratching at those scabs," she'd say. "It'll leave a mark."
I guess they both were right. I have scab-scars all over my body: below my knee, under my chin, my left forearm and my shoulder. I can't help it, those scabs are irresistible.
The next song was Queen whispering "Another One Bites The Dust." It made me think of Evien and Maggie constantly saying, "Dad, stop biting your fingernails." My mom used to tell me, "Don't bite your fingernails. If you swallow one, it will tear up your gut."
I used to lay awake at night imagining tiny daggers imbedded in my stomach lining. That was before I knew that stomach acid will eat through concrete, so death-by-fingernail was pretty unlikely.
Next, a commercial came gently over the radio. I thought about how my wife and I can no longer go grocery shopping together because I'm too impulsive. "Look!" I'll say in the middle of aisle 4. "It's Oreo cookies with yellow centers."
"Put those back," Amy says. "That's just a gimmick to get people to buy cookies."
Dejectedly, I return the brightly colored cookies to the shelf.
I recall shopping with my mom and saying, "Look! This cereal has mini marshmallows and a toy surprise!"
Mom would say, "Put that back. That's just a gimmick. Besides, all you'll do is eat the marshmallows and leave the cereal." Gingerly, I'd return the box to the shelf.
The next song was The Rolling Stones’ barely audible version of "I Can't Get No Satisfaction."
My mother hated it if I'd snack before supper. "I don't know why I even cook," she'd say. "I should just let you eat potato chips for supper.”
My wife, too, hates snacking before a meal. Sometimes I'll be scrounging through the cupboard for crumbs and she'll say, "Don't eat anything — supper will be ready in half an hour."
"I'm a grownup," I'll tell her. "What are you going to do about it if I grab a handful of crackers and scarf ‘em down?"
"You won't get any dessert," she says.
Now, when I was a kid, dessert meant a slice of pie, a piece of cake or a dish of ice cream. As an adult, dessert comes later when the kids are asleep. I close the cupboard door and say, "I can wait a half-hour."
As my childhood gave up the right of way to manhood, I never had a fear of becoming my parents. However, I never dreamed my wife and kids would turn into them. I suppose I'm just a scab-picking, nail-biting little boy disguised as a man listening to classic rock and falling for gimmicks.
The only difference is, instead of my parents looking out for me, it's my children.
The next song to come on the radio was Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock 'N" Roll."
"Oh, Dad, turn this up," Evien said.
"Gladly," I said as I twisted the volume knob.
In the rearview mirror, I could see her head bobbing to the tune. I guess I can get some satisfaction after all.
— By Grant Berry, Tribune community columnist