My son is a teenager, a young adult I suppose. Some of the physical, emotional and social changes he is going through are wonderful and are vastly improving my relationship with him. Drawing us even closer. Some of the changes on the other hand are f##ked and make me feel our family would be better off if I sent him away to boarding school and rented out his room to three heavy-drinking Irish backpackers.

This time of change, brings about many… changes.

A wonderful, positive “my son is now a teenager” change –

I can watch “MA” movies, I don’t have to make him look away at the violent scenes and he understands the plot. The other day I am sitting watching that Kevin Costner/Sean Connery classic, “The Untouchables”. Halfway through the movie Capone picks up a baseball bat and beats a disloyal mafia dude to death… and I didn’t have to get my son to avert his eyes! During that same movie I explained the concept of “prohibition” and it was understood. This now opens the way (much to my wife’s dissatisfaction) for masters Clint Eastwood, Bruce Willis, Sly Stallone, Joe Pesci, Quentin Tarantino and Bobby De Niro, to play a much bigger part in our lives.

Freaken annoying “my son is now a freaken teenager” changes –

When I am standing there (hypocritically) getting up my son for receiving a less-than-sterling report and a complete lack of effort, I used to look down at him. It gave me a distinct air of superiority and authority. Now I am looking down just a little, it’s probably more like I’m looking across at him. Some of my stature has been diminished and with it has my mandate.

All his peers, for want of a better word… stink. It used to be that you could pick up 3-4 of his mates from rugby doing the car-pool lift home, and you could tell if they were eating lollies because you could smell the “Redskins”. Nowadays, you have to have every window open because they smell like a wet hessian sack full of taxi drivers (with all due respect to those cabbies who don’t smell, I’m not talking about you).

Our wrestling events, be they over the remote control, possession of the prime couch-spot or just a random biffo, are now much closer, hard-fought events. It used to be that my 70kg weight advantage meant my wrestling moves (namely the Backbreaker, the Facebuster, the Drop Down-Town and the Cutter) were more than enough to overcome his pathetic ones (the Boston crab, the Piledriver, the Doomsday Device and the Atomic Drop). Now, his moves really hurt.

My only son, now makes me cover up my tattoo before I go to any event at “Hornswood Affluent Boys Grammar”. It’s of utmost importance that I do not appear too loud, too outgoing, too convivial, too party loving or too tattooed, to any of my son’s teachers, his peers, parents of his peers or his myriad of female friends. Basically, I have to immediately stop being me.

He will not leave his f##king hair alone. Understandably, with a bald dad, bald uncle on my side, bald uncle on my wife’s side and bald-as-a-badger grandfather on my wife’s side, he will not have hair for too long. So he’s enjoying it while it’s there. They may invent a cure for baldness by the time he is in his twenties and he won’t have to try to fight nature as I did, but until then, DON’T CONSTANTLY TOUCH IT. He and all his mates are forever sweeping their hair to the side, preening, flicking, pushing, lifting and wafting. I know this is hypocritical (again), because in the 80’s, living in Hornswood and attending “Hornswood Affluent Boys Grammar”, our hair was relentlessly dyed, bleached, doused in hair spray, gelled and moosed, but I think it’s the father in every generation’s right to complain about his son’s hair.

Things change when our little boys, become young men. They become secretive (who knows what the hell is going on in his room), they sound like Russell Crowe, they need to shave, they won’t do homework, they are constantly on social media, they bully their sisters, they hate your radio stations, they eat like John Candy, they get zits, they dominate the television, they need to be driven everywhere, they spend money, they argue (every opinion or request of mine apparently needs justification), they know everything, the opinion of young girls is more important than any opinion their mother may have, they sleep in half the day and they wake up surly.

We love them dearly, but freaken hell!

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I went to a Saturday night, impromptu BBQ about a year ago at one of our really good friend’s houses. It was meant to be just the hosts, being Kelly and Luke, and us. At the last minute Kelly’s brother Trevor, asked if he could join in. No problem normally right? We’d never met Trev, but I’d heard plenty about him for quite a number of years. What I’d heard was all bad.

Trev is… a never-bring.

Like most people, when we go to a friend’s house we bring whatever we want to drink, plus a bit extra for the hosts. We also bring a few nibbles as a contribution. That’s what most Hornswood people do. However, not a “never-bring,” no sir. They turn up with zippo, regularly.

Don’t think the fact that they have turned up with nothing, means that a “never-bring” goes hungry, or thirsty. Oh no. They drink as if they’re the lovechild of Mel Gibson and David Hasselhoff and they eat like the offspring of Elvis and Kirstie Alley.

That night (I was admittedly on the lookout for never-bring shenanigans, due to Lukey’s heads-up), it didn’t take long for Trev to oblige. When he helped himself to the first of my low-carb Blonde beers, I didn’t say a word. After the second and third of my refreshing beverages were being washed down his throat, I held my tongue. Despite him also turning out to be a major whinger and oozing tall poppy syndrome.

When he got up to go to the toilet, my wife spoke softly to me.

My wife – “Now I know Luke told you how much it annoys him and Trevor has had three of your beers, but remember he’s Kelly’s brother. You brought twelve, you’ve got plenty left.

Me – “But the freaken never-bring is drinking faster than me“. I was feeling all the brother-in-law-rage poor Lukey had pent up over many years.

Trev returned to the table, with a fourth one of my beers. He cracked it open and looked closely at the label.

The never-bring – “Blonde? Low-carb… this is a f–king girl’s drink!

Me – “OH FOR F–KS SAKE. If you don’t like it, here’s an idea, BRING YOUR OWN. You’re a never-bring and you’re complaining about the type of beer which I brought, of which you have drunk four, without even f–king asking. You never-brings have got a hide.

The never-bring – “What’s your problem Jase? Stingy?” The never-bring smirked at me, and sipped my icy cold low-carb beer.

Me – “Jesus Christ Trev. Do you not see the irony in you calling me stingy? Do you seriously think your company is so wonderful for your sister and brother-in-law that you don’t have to contribute to the evening in any way? That the beers which your brother and I have provided somehow become shared property amongst the three of us?

I bring stuff,” he replied. This was a lie.

Me – “I’ll bet you don’t Trev. I’ll… bet… you… don’t. If by some freakish occurrence some bloke happened to be giving away free six packs of beer out the front of Lukey’s house here tonight, and you were given no choice but to bring it in with you, I bet it’d be Tooheys New… and you’d end up drinking his Coronas! YOU’RE A NEVER-BRING TREV. You’re a burden on your family.

Just then Kelly and Lukey returned to the veranda from the kitchen with the potato salad and the garlic bread. My wife, Trev and I sat in obvious silence. Trev had an angry look on his face.

KellyWhat’s happened?

Me – “Your brother’s a never-bring,” I stated. Factually.

Kelly spun around and looked at her husband. “A what?

Lukey – “Oh no”.

I gave Lukey a bit of a nod, meaning I’m sorry I dropped you in it mate, but what else could I do?

I think it’s time, we the good people of Hornswood rise up and unite against the never-brings. They need to know that we are not going to put up with their advantage-taking ways any longer. Be they brother, sister, neighbor, friend or newsagent, their time is nigh. If you know any of their kind, you must confront them. Like a writhing, screaming vampire we must drag them out in to the sun. NEVER-BRINGERS, YOU WILL TAKE ADVANTAGE NO LONGER. Your day’s are gone.

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