It has come to my 19-year-old daughter’s attention that, according to impending adviser education standards, her 50 something-year-old father may be joining her in the halls of higher learning.
The prospect of being seen with Dear Old Dad at the university campus did not sit well. At breakfast this morning, I mused on the different things we could do together, from sitting on sandstone steps and reading Proust to playing hacky-sack in the common area.
She was less than enthused.
Naturally, I told her, I’d need to buy some tighter jeans, and maybe a pair of Converse sneakers. She wrinkled her nose.
Growing my hair long was also an option, I ventured, and if I really wanted to fit in I should probably start accompanying her to a few of the live music gigs they were all going to.
“Dad, no,” she said.
I assured her that it wouldn’t be every day. Some courses would be online, so I’d need to spend only about three days per week hanging out between classes, and maybe a couple of nights hanging out at bars, parties – that kind of thing.
And did she think I was too old for a rat’s tail?
I reassured her that her Dad wouldn’t be a total loser. I’d have my own friends as well. There were thousands of financial advisers all over the country preparing to go back to school. In fact, we would probably get matching motorcycle jackets and form cool gangs with names like The Advice Allstars or The Bad Boys of Budgeting. Then she would be the one wanting to hang out with me, which I couldn’t promise she’d be able to do, as by then I would probably be the leader of a gang and at the apex of the social status pyramid.
I’d also need to ramp up my social media activity, which would mean connecting with most of her friends on Instagram and Snapchat.
‘You know what, Dad?” she said, buttering her toast. “Maybe you’re right.”
“Huh?” I said, spilling jam on my lap.
“You should probably start hanging out with me and my friends straight away, just to get the ball rolling,” she continued. “We’re actually going shopping for jeans this afternoon, and then we’re going to do some study at Michelle’s place tonight.”
“Well, I’m actually busy this evening,” I said, frantically dabbing my trousers with a napkin.
“That’s all right,” she countered. “There’s a battle-of- the-bands night we’re going to on Friday. You should come,” she suggested. “They’re all student bands. They’re actually terrible, but they play really loud, so you’ll love it.”
Gods, no. I knew the bands she was talking about. Floppy-haired miscreants hacking away at hand-me-down guitars.
“Well, I’ll have to see what’s in my diary,” I mumbled. Damn it, I would need to change these pants.
“That’s OK Dad, you can come hang out with us any time you want,” she said, smiling.
I stood up. The pants were a lost cause, as was the game. I had been bested.
Evidently, I needed higher learning more than she did.