Another Use for the Retractable Saw: Cutting the Parental Apron Strings

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Before I had the chance to change the channel this afternoon, Allison Rosati mistakenly began broadcasting in my front room.   The voice reminds me of nails on a chalkboard, her perkiness gets on my last nerve, and the fact she never seems to have the same co-anchor twice makes me think others think like I.  Rosati was reporting some very serious news…breaking…top of the hour stuff.

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Seems an investigation about all the “sex” happening over on Northwestern’s Campus had the president taking an about face regarding the seriousness of it.  She promised an in-depth interview with some pretty pissed off tuition paying parents.  They wanted to know how the University can let “this” happen to their “chiiiiiildreeeen”.


Cut to a close up of the pissed off pair…Mr. Straightlace and his better half, Mrs. Stickupher-Arse.    I looked at the screen, completely shocked (they were protecting their “children” and the tuition dollars spent at what they thought was a highly esteemed institution).

 These two seemed like they were “on the ball”.  Something tells me they are all over the class planning process, choosing, registering, and yes, I heard them loud and clear more than once, THEY FOOT THE TUITION BILL–IT IS EXPENSIVE–dontcha know??
When the kid’s Spring Semester class schedule/tuition payment came due, what subject matter did they think their darling Precious was going to become “challenged in” when it read Human Sexuality? 

I have read a couple of articles and listened to the news reports but none have stated what level class this was.  Freshman Human Sexuality 101 or Graduate level Human Sexuality?  Were the “children” 18 or fifth-year- seniors at 22?

Whether the class was a first year offering or a course offered in the NU Graduate program what does it matter?  The subject matter was presented to “ADULTS”.  They are not “CHILDREN”.

And, let’s call a spade a spade~these are not your average 18-22 year olds at the Junior College down the street~they are kids at Northwestern University~these are not “average kids” by any stretch of the imagination.

Eighteen year olds can be drafted tomorrow to fight in one of the numerous wars America is waging.  Will mom and dad call the news cameras when the “bully” drill sergeant bruises Billy’s self-esteem?  

This is just another example of the “helicopter crew” continuing to control their kids’ lives.  When does it end?  I picture Mr. Straightlace and Mrs. Stickupher-Arse booking a suite next to Precious’ honeymoon suite in order to monitor marriage consummation; offering tips and suggestions via knocks on the wall to make sure they “do it right”.  You may not agree with me, but things sure have changed in the last twenty-five years.

Maybe I am off-base.  Maybe my college experience was not “normal” when I attended EIU in the mid-late eighties.  My parents rented a van and drove me down to campus my freshman year.  After unloading my most “prized possessions” for an hour, they took me for a bite to eat.  Following lunch, they returned to my dorm, slowed the rented van down to a crawl as they turned into the Pemberton Driveway, smiled brightly and said “see you Labor Day Weekend” and out I jumped.  I was on my own.

Dad told me later Mom cried like a baby until they reached Champaign, so I know they were not completely void of feeling; they showed they cared even more by letting me go.
My parents paid for most of the tuition, my student loans paid for the remainder along with the room and board.  But for all intents and purposes, I was an adult.  Dad said so from the time I was old enough to understand.  He was responsible for me until I turned eighteen.  At that time I could continue learning at a college of my choice on his dime, or, and I quote “get the hell out”.  

Now, there were no cordless phones; cell phones, computers, Skype, texting, facebook, twitter not even considered in the mid-eighties.  I called my parents once a week (on a wall phone with a 10-foot cord — usually collect ~ google it if you are a youngster) and checked in.  At least once a month, my laundry and I would hitch a ride home for a long weekend.  And as one of their kids I filled them in on my adventures on campus.  Like most young adults, I told the folks what they wanted and needed to hear; elaboration was college career suicide. 

The thought of sharing the tidbit my Philosophy 101 was held bi-weekly at the campus bar never even crossed my mind.  We shared two-dollar pitchers and our ideas of life’s meaning.  The professor was cool; and unlike any nun I had experienced in my sheltered high school.  I learned plenty during the two hours spent at Panthers each week…plenty.

When I lived off-campus I never reported the reason the Frat house down the street was razed.  Mom and Dad would not have understood what a “Pimp-n-Whore” party was…I would be too embarrassed to explain that a couple of the once dressed up “ladies” woke up quite hung over and undressed, handcuffed to the stairs…some things are better left unsaid…Kind of like a class where you learn the finer points of orgasm via a retractable saw.  What is wrong with kids today … how would one even go about starting that conversation with your parent?

Somehow in the last twenty-five years all of this changed.  Today’s parents need to have their fingers on the pulse of every single move their kid makes.  How will the kid ever learn to stand on his/her own two feet?  I am sure someone’s facebook status was responsible for the “tattling” of the goings on in an after-class-volunteer-based presentation. 

My younger sister has worked on a college campus for the better part of twenty years.  She claims not a day goes by that she doesn’t field a call from a “concerned parent”.  I love hearing her giggle when she asks aloud, can you imagine mom or dad calling our university to inquire about a questionable assignment, roommate trouble, or teacher “picking on us”.

Hell no, I could not imagine that for the life of me.  It would be something more along the lines of this…mom and dad would tell us we were adults now…time to figure things out for yourself…it is all part of growing up.

There are more than likely at least one hundred kids up in Evanston that knows how to drive a gal crazy with a retractable saw…how many of them know when to come in out of the rain? 
This generation seems to be led around by parents that know better while calling all the shots at their kids’ schools since preschool.   While I do not particularly agree with the extra-curricular offerings some of the Wildcats witnessed, I would have more respect for the President of NU telling the press he stands by his professor.  No student was “required” to attend.  As an adult, they made the choice.

Human Sexuality is a pretty popular offering at NU.  Imagine the lines at registration for the fall semester’s offering…something tells me a permission slip may be required.


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