My 25 year-old son is — in his own words — a minor local celebrity. After graduating from college two years ago, he landed a dream job. He is a disc jockey on a popular Philadelphia radio station. In addition to behind-the-scenes production duties, he is on the air six days a week, including a listener request show on Saturday afternoons. The station boasts an eclectic mix of music, shunning Top 40 and pre-fab voices like Katy Perry and Nick Minaj. Instead, they opt to play up-and-coming and established singers, sometimes falling into an unclassifiable genre. It's a welcome and refreshing option from the usual junk that has become local radio. And, as a public radio station, they are commercial-free.
A few nights ago, we had a houseful of people for whom my wife baked a kitchenful of desserts. The guest list included family, friends, neighbors and co-workers — both current and former. My friend and co-worker Kym brought her 6 year-old daughter Elle. Elle, while still infatuated with current boy bands like One Direction and Lemonade Mouth, likes to listen to my boy's show on the radio. She thinks it's cool and, during his broadcast, asks her mom, "We know him, right?," already happy that she knows the answer.
When guests began to arrive, Elle eyed the table filled with baked goods and then scanned the crowd for my son. I reintroduced him to Elle and she shyly smiled as he greeted her.
As you can imagine, I live in an unusual house. It is chock-full of an interesting conglomeration of antiques, vintage toys, advertising memorabilia, pop culture collectibles — all displayed throughout three stories and a basement (which includes a working full-size Q*Bert arcade game and a Back to the Future pinball machine). Plus, there's the room filled with a thirty-year collection of Disney souvenirs, but that's another story. Our home, while the contents are pleasingly arranged, looks like it is owned by two ten year-olds.
So, my son was happily showing Elle around the house, pointing out all the cool stuff and answering all of Elle's questions. As she looked at all the shelves jammed with old toys, obsolete implements and tons of neat-o stuff, a starry-eyed Elle finally asked my son, "Why did you ever move out of here?"
He answered, "Well, I got a job and I moved into a house with my girlfriend."
GIRLFRIEND???? At the mention of the word, Elle's face sunk.