Asinine Word of the Day: Adulting.
My granddaughter went trick or treating this year as Little Red Riding Hood. Her costume earned rave reviews.
I sewed her red cape - the piece de resistance - in about an hour using a simple pattern and a remnant of red polyester from Joann’s.
Why did I make it and not my daughter?
Simple. Like your daughters, mine has no idea how to work a sewing machine. You might as well ask her how to fly a helicopter. In fact, she watched wide-eyed as I loaded the bobbin, threaded the machine and stepped on the treadle.
Yet she saw me hunched over that same Singer when she was my granddaughter’s age. I made many of her outfits, just as my mother sewed almost all of mine when I was a kid.
Where did I learn this domestic skill? In Home Ec class. Every girl took home economics when I was in high school - I think it was required - just as every boy took shop.
Sexist, I suppose.
I’m sure the transgendered among us chafed at such requirements. But society in those days assumed that knowing how to cook and sew were important feminine skills and using a table saw and rewiring a lamp were essential elements of manhood.
No, that wasn’t very enlightened. But dammit, at least one member of most Baby Boomer households today has the requisite skills to take care of a family’s basic needs.
Millennials? Not so much.
Looks like we’ve reared kids who score off the charts on their SATs, who are whizzes at sophisticated computer games and who can contour their make-up like a Kardashian, but who can’t figure out how to work a tire jack or fix a hem.
The Helpless Generation.
Which brings us to “adulting.” Another asinine attempt to turn a perfectly good noun into a verb.
It’s tempting to mock a suburban Louisville, KY school that recently held a one-day “adulting conference” for high school seniors to teach them skills such as cooking, sewing, basic finances and tire changing. Life skills that have been neglected in recent years.
I applaud the effort. My concern is that one day is not enough.
I skated through high school with very little math. To tell the truth, I’ve never once used algebra or needed to conjugate a French verb. But sewing? And basic cooking skills, such as liquid and dry measurements? I use that knowledge all the time.
Oh, and even though I was a girl, I learned to change a tire. My dad wouldn’t let me drive the car until I demonstrated that I knew my way around a jack.
“I don’t want you standing helplessly by the side of the road so some weirdo can grab you,” my father told me. “You need to be able to change your own tire.
“If anyone bothers you, whack him in the head with the heavy end of the jack.”
Adulting. 1970s style.