The Boy Wonder started his senior year of high school today. I got up at 6 a.m. so I could send him off in style with a home-cooked breakfast and fresh cafe au lait. Though my right thumb and forefinger now bend more, they've lost strength since last week's operation, so he had to break the eggs and open the appallingly priced bag of Diedrich Coffee beans ($15.80 for 12 oz.; I'm sticking with tea!), but I was able to do the fixins' pretty much one-handed.
I worry plenty about BW, who's a bit...er...casual about his assignments. His motto: "I like school, I just hate schoolwork!" However, a couple weeks ago he engaged me in detailed conversation about the Warhol Factory (I knew some of the people peripherally way back when), and yesterday about Lou Reed while we listened to "Transformer" on BW's iPod. All on his own he's discovered the Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop, Television, Patti Smith and the Talking Heads. I wowed him by recognizing a song he played as being by Iggy Pop, and knowing the words to the Heads' "Born Under Punches" (though I confess I didn't know the title till just now). My sole motherly caution, based on too-personal experience: "Copy the music, not the behavior!"
I started BW with good home training. At 3, he was playing harmonica to Commander Cody's "Down to Seeds & Stems Again Blues" (a skill he has since lost, alas). Then I had some painful explaining to do when he wanted Aretha Franklin and Little Richard to come to his fourth birthday party. As he reasoned, their voices were constantly in our home and car; why couldn't they show up in person? However, I redeemed myself on his fifth birthday, when I took him to see Asleep at the Wheel and he got to meet leader Ray Benson just before he went onstage. After that, I had to put BW's name in glitter on his guitar strap, just like Ray. Around the same time, BW got to shake the late Freddy King's hand and ask James Cotton a burning question: "Who's older, you or Johnny Winter?" "I don't really know," was the disingenuous response. (Once out of earshot, I explained that Cotton was older, even though Winter's hair is white.) By age 8, I'd introduced BW to the Ramones with the hoot of a movie "Rock 'n' Roll High School," and he still loves them.
Though the Boy Wonder hadn't quite finished the required reading for his American Lit class last night, he started learning the chords and words to Patti Smith's "Gloria," which I remember excitedly spinning for friends nearly 30 years ago.
So I know I brought my kid up right after all.
P.S. See BW with canine companions on today's GalleyCat.