RITE OF PASSAGE: The Teenage Virus
Since Microsoft’s new Windows Vista has hit the market, you will soon read newspaper warnings about viruses aimed at corrupting its files. I have enough problems without worrying about someone across the globe infecting my computer. Usually, the evil is hidden in a love note. People are so anxious to receive love that they quickly open the message, only to find themselves infected with something awful. (Somewhere in that last line lies a message for your teenager).
Teenage viruses can be just as dangerous as the computer kind. If your teenagers become infected, your best approach is to quarantine them and surround them with love. Here are the current versions:
The Teenage Disney Virus: When this virus attacks, teens get Goofy. One moment, they sound like an adult; next, they switch back to their pre-adolescent days of nonsensical laughter and jerky body movements. This incurable virus strikes when you least expect it. The best thing to do is to walk away from the infected teenagers, acting as though you have never met them.
The Teenage Hard Drive Virus: This virus attacks young people soon after they receive that magical piece of paper legally unleashing them upon society. Males are most prone to this virus, but females are not immune. It primarily affects the foot, causing it to get heavier. At the same time, a feeling of power sweeps over the afflicted teen. A teenager struck by this dangerous virus will drive hard and crash . . . unless maturity intervenes. Sadly, this virus tends to repeat itself.
The Teenage Mall Virus: This virus, called the “roller skating virus” in smaller towns, usually occurs in large cities. It causes your teenager to leave his or her domicile and look for a large building containing other infected teenagers. They know when and where to find each other. After several meet, they wander aimlessly, trying to make contact with other, similar groups. When this virus strikes, your teen will whine about “needing to get out of the house.”
The Teenage Soft-Wear Virus: This virus targets mostly females. Whatever they buy today will be obsolete tomorrow. This virus causes a great desire to look like . . . other teenagers. It was responsible for bell-bottoms, miniskirts and other unspeakable things during the 1960s. It replicates every few months. A newer and more devastating strain caused the recent outbreak of body piercing and tattooing.
The Teenage Reboot Virus: This occurs when you try to communicate with teens. The audio file gets corrupted en route, so the teens hear only half of what you say. For example, you tell them, “Go to the store and get some milk.” They go to the store, meet their friends, buy some “Red Bull” energy drink, and come home with . . . no milk. When you ask, “Where is the milk?” they look at you quizzically, as if to say, “What are you talking about?” They heard “Go to the store,” but the “get some milk” somehow failed to download. This is when you need to . . . reboot.
No matter which virus your teenager has, be confident the Master programmer is in control. He is running His debugging program even as you read these warnings!