Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Content Crossroads

Everyone who really knows me is fully aware that I'm a diehard Stern (as in Howard) listener. I have been an on and off again listener since I was around twelve or thirteen. My parents always listened and I continued on the tradition. I hadn't had it in awhile because I didn't have Sirius when he first switched over and didn't get it until around 2010 when I got a new car. By then I had a six month old baby. I thought, ok, when he's one I'll stop listening. Then it was fifteen months, eighteen months, and then I just knew I was a lifer and that wasn't going to change. Somehow, we were just going to have to roll with it.

Same with tv. I thought I'd give the no tv until two years old thing a whirl, then I quickly realized that wasn't going to happen either. Besides, not only was Rita watching Gossip Girl at the highest decibel, but it was my time to catch up on General Hospital.

As E got older, I just stopped listening to the "bad parts" of Stern. We'd mostly listen to the interviews and the news with Robin Quivers. Yes, there were curse words but he'd never said any. Plus, he'd been listening to all kinds of music since he was six months old and I started Stroller Strides. The instructor would play Gaga, Ke$ha, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Nikki Minaj, etc. One day, during Stroller Strides class, it was all quiet and he started singing along with Ke$ha. "I brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack...." Everyone turned toward him and just busted out laughing. He didn't know what he was singing. And I didn't care. It wasn't the F word. If Sophia Grace & Rosie can get on Ellen for singing Nikki Minaj's Super Bass, then I think I'm okay.

He got really into Mumford & Sons. I think he was around four. He'd still never said a curse word. We'd told him he was could listen to the music he likes, but he is not to repeat any of the bad words in any of the songs. Judge if you want. Everyone has their things. Curse words are not our hill to die on. But I'd let him curse before giving him strawberry flavored sugar milk, so, again, hills. He has said a curse word ONCE in his now seven years. We went to his friend's house for a play date. And of course, it's my close friend, who in theory, if your kid was going to do something embarrassing, you'd want it done in front of a close friend. Except this close friend happens to err on the exact other side of lax with cursing and age appropriate behavior (tv, movies, language, etc). E wanted to teach his friend his favorite Mumford & Sons song, which happens to have the line, "I really f'ed (in long form) it up this time". On his own, E started singing, "I really messed it up this time". At this playdate with my friend and her son, we heard them in the basement. E was telling his friend J, "You just can't say the word f*ck. It's a bad word. You have to say messed up when you sing it."

Imagine the shock and horror on my face. At that point, my friend's daughter, who I think was around nine, still thought "the s word" was stupid. I was guessing her son most likely didn't even know that "s" word.

Well. We had a nice talking to after that. Luckily, my friend's son felt like being contrary that day and wasn't having any of E's song teaching shenanigans. He wasn't listening and wasn't repeating. That's all I really cared about. I had visions of leaving her house having turned her son into George Carlin Jr.

E is now seven. He's become a huge Stern fan. I like that we were listening the other day and he said- "Eric who? Who are they talking about that died?! High Pitch??" No son, it was the Eric they called Eric the Midget. You know, the one they'd always play that sound, "Ack Ack! Ack Ack!" Or the day he asked- "This isn't today Howard Stern, right? Because that sounds like Megan McCain and we heard that one". Yes my boy. You are correct. It's a repeat.

He listens but he's never SAID a curse word. Not since that day at my friend's, years ago. Not for fun, not to be fresh, and not by accident. He doesn't even really talk back, except to be a know it all- which is to be expected. But he doesn't say anything offensive. He's just a really nice, mostly respectful little kid.

And I'll be honest (not that I'd lie), but listening to Stern and watching GH, by the way, has springboarded some awesome, necessary conversations that couldn't have happened more organically if I wanted. Stern talked about Scot Weiland and his death via overdose. E heard it and we had a deep conversation about drugs and death. He knew the music so he understood it even better. 

Back to my point- last Tuesday afternoon, I got an email from E's agent. When E gets auditions, his agent basically sends me an appointment already scheduled for when the casting people want to see him, and I just reply that we'll be there. I look at the sides (lines) later and just figure out how to cram him with the info and get it done. This was no different. I opened the lines later and had to read them three times. I was thinking, "Wait, what? HE's supposed to say this? No, really??"

He basically has to pretend to be doing stand up. He is supposed to do a Jerry Seinfeld type of monologue, like- "What's the deal with....", except unlike Jerry who doesn't work blue, it's kind of a lewd double-entendre joke. Then he has to say the F word at the end. B and I had discussed this before too- saying we wouldn't have a problem with cursing. Sometimes we'll be watching a movie and a little kid is doing something super emotional, precocious or cursing and we'll talk about whether we'd let E do it. It seems harmless enough until you're running lines with your seven year old and hear those words actually come out of his mouth. Believe it or not, it's actually a little difficult to hear, even for me. B felt the same way. We feel weird, like we may have finally, FINALLY, crossed some kind of parenting line. *Ok, not really. Or we did, but we didn't feel THAT bad about it. We still let him do it.

He killed it though- doing it for me and B. If he doesn't get the job, it's not for lack of talent. It was really good practice too. And getting in front of a good casting director, even just being seen, is always a positive. It also gave him a taste of how you deliver a joke as a comedian. I don't know if that's something he ever practiced before.

I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to hear if he gets the job- although, I don't expect him to get it. I'm pretty sure the part was written for an older kid than E. I saw older kids at the audition and I heard some good ones do their thing while waiting for E's turn. He has plenty of time if this is his path. Right now, he's learning and having fun. However, if he did get it, I'd be cheering him on in the theater just like I suspect the parents of the kid in the movie Bad Words did. For those that didn't see it- you missed a good one. Jason Bateman always delivers. And the kid was now slouch either. But if E thinks he's going to use that joke or the F word in general conversation now, he has another thing coming. I had to tell his teacher he'd be leaving school early for his audition. Let's just hope she doesn't ask him to do the material for her or I'll be getting a call from the principal, STAT.

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