At the risk of using a cliched sentiment, parenting really is the most difficult job you could ever have. Aside from a handful of absolute douchebags out there, you don’t aim to raise the President of the United States, the scientist who will cure cancer or a future Nobel Prize winner. No. Your only real job is to put one less asshole in the world, and if you manage to keep your hair and looks within five years of the time they leave home, well…you’re ahead of the game. But parenting is many things, and one of those things is the continual tightrope walk between truth and carefully-constructed white lies. A line which some parents feel is being blurred by the compelling nature of next-gen vehicles such as 2019 Chevy Sonic.
Meet Mike MacKenzie, age 47 and father of two teenaged boys. His eldest, Brandon, is a graduate of his high school’s sponsored Driver Education program and is newly eligible to test for his Massachusetts Driver License. Much like his father had done back in the late 1980’s, Brandon had directed a lot of energy to earning enough money to buy a car, in order to ensure that he’d have transportation in place when he earned his license. The resulting acquisition? A 2004 Dodge Intrepid with 125,000 miles (and an unconvincingly vague CarFAX vehicle history report).
“I wanted a new Chevy Sonic,” explains the teenaged MacKenzie, in a monotone mumble, unwilling to make eye contact lest he divert his attention from the iPhone which seemed to have captured his very essence. “I told my Dad that I wanted one and that it would only cost me around $20 grand.”
His father chuckles, elaborating, “I know my son. While he can be plenty motivated, follow-through isn’t his strong suit. So, in the hopes of motivating him without any real financial risk, I told him that I’d lend him $10,000 if he was able to raise the first $10,000.”
“It was a dirty trick,” suggests Brandon. “I’m a high school student who plays in a number of traveling hockey leagues. There was no way I’d be able to save up that kind of money. So, now I’m stuck driving around in a shitty car because that’s the only thing I can afford. And my father just doesn’t understand, he says I’m ungrateful.”
“Ask around,” Mike suggests. “There are so few people in the world who actually liked the first car that they ever owned. It’s a rite of passage. I had dark purple 1982 Dodge Charger hatchback that looked like some sort of transexual Dodge Daytona. It had poorly applied tinted window complete with bubbling, and these weird vinyl heart stickers that I was never able to pry off from the door handles. We called it the Puerto Rican Love Machine.”
And did Mike MacKenzie ‘like’ the Puerto Rican Love Machine.
“Hell NO,” he confirms. “It was an ugly, unreliable piece of shit. So when Brandon asked me how I felt about my first car, I had no choice but to do what was necessary to put his purchase into perspective.”
That necessary step?
“I lied. I told him that I love my car, and I was grateful that I had a vehicle of my own and my first taste of freedom. You might think that it would have been better if I told him the truth, that our shared hatred of our first vehicles would have united us in a relatable experience. But no. It doesn’t work that way. If anything, he would try to compel me to make sure he didn’t experience the kind of embarrassment that I had. That’s parenting in 2018, folks. So yeah…I lied.”
Using a third party testing service, we compiled a test group of thirty parents between the age of 35 and 50. The significance of the age group was to maximize the number of participants whose children fell between 15 and 17 years of age. In doing so, our goal was to get the most accurate depiction of how parents of driving age children would handle the same situation endured by Mr. MacKenzie. Somewhat surprisingly, the results were almost unanimous. Almost everyone agreed that lying to teenagers is more important than trying to commiserate with them.
“Yeah…teenagers are pricks,” explains test subject ‘Doug M’. “I don’t even know how I haven’t killed mine yet.”
Fellow subject ‘Rissa S.’ agrees, “Being pregnant was miserable. But I’ll be honest, if I had a uterine reverse button and teeth on my vagina like a shredding machine, I’d suck all 210 lbs of that damn kid right back in. Yeah. What a shit show that would be, but it would be a hell of a lot better than enduring the pain in my left tit that my kid is.”
Certainly some strong opinions. And while we may not have made any major headway in bridging the gap between teenager expectations and budgetary realities, one thing is for sure. We’re going to be up all night, fearing the existence of vaginas with teeth.