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Why Gen X Dads Cry During E.T.

A Guest Post From Junkdrawer67

Note: Read this guest post through to the end where you’ll find details for how to win a Quisp Cereal T-shirt!

Recently I bought a box of Quisp cereal from the gourmet market near our house, because when I think gourmet market I think retro sugary GenX cereals, right. Anyhoo…I just couldn’t resist buying a box.

I also couldn’t resist leaving the box out on the counter overnight so that my daughter would see it.

Sharing Pop Culture with our Kids

One of the cool things about being a GenX dad is sharing my pop culture interests with my daughter, whether it be sugary cereals (which she’s not allowed to eat often), the Star Wars movies (which she is allowed to watch as often as she likes) or Scooby Doo cartoons.

One thing I’ve learned, however, is not to foist thing upon my daughter or expect that because I liked/like something she will too. There are few things more annoying than an adult that insists that their child be just as enraptured by their childhood interest as they were/are, which strikes me as a very Boomer mentality, but I could be wrong.

The first time I showed my daughter Star Wars she was so scared of Darth Vader that I had to turn off the TV. Now, whenever we watch any of the Star Wars movies she is a little chatterbox, full of questions, mostly about young Anikin Skywalker and how he came to be Darth Vader, etc. I maybe be reaching here, but I think she’s actually attempting to understand the nature of evil and the value of redemption. But what do I know?

Universality of Scooby-Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo was never an issue. She loved that right from the get go. But then who doesn’t love Scooby-Doo. Whenever I meet people (GenXers mainly but not necessarily) from other countries, which doesn’t happen every day but it does from time to time, I try to work Scooby-Doo into the conversation, just get their take on it. I’ve yet to meet anyone from anywhere (excepting another planet, galaxy, time dimension) who doesn’t like this cartoon. It has a universal appeal of sorts. I have a theory that international relations could be much improved if all meetings of heads of state included a viewing of a Scooby-Doo adventure. Sounds crazy, I know, but that’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.

My plan to get my daughter to try Quisp cereal worked. But then I never really doubted that it would. She loves cereal, especially the cool ones, like Lucky Charms (which is strictly vacation/dessert cereal) and the monster cereals, i.e. Count Chocula, Boo Berry, and Franken Berry [have yet to find Fruit Bruit or Yummy Mummy but we remain ever vigilant] (which are only allowed at Halloween; one box and one box only). But really what kid doesn’t love cereal? If that kid exists, I don’t think I’d want to meet him/her. I’d be afraid to.

Reliving Childhood (Sort of)

I really enjoy sharing these things with my daughter. Watching her enjoying something that was part of my childhood allows me to relive my childhood, if only momentarily, but in a different way, not as a kid-participant but as an adult-observer, which offers its own charms. For example: this morning E.T. was on cable. I turned it on while I stretched before getting on the treadmill; I had just enough time to get in a half-hour speed-walk before the big bike-chase scene, my favorite part of the movie). As soon as my daughter realized that E.T was on (we’ve watched it before) she bolted into the playroom where I was working up a sweat, her eyes wide, announcing excitedly to me that it was on. Of course, she was rapt with delight and wonder, watching E.T., just the way I was when I saw it as a kid.

I don’t know about other GenX parents, but sharing these kinds of things with my child changes them in a way, changes the texture of my emotional attachment to them. It changes them in a good way but in a slightly sad way too. It’s interesting. Because I don’t really remember crying at the end of E.T. when I was a kid, although my emotional reaction to it was very strong indeed, but at some point in my life E.T. leaving just brought tears to my eyes, even more so when I started watching it with my daughter, who finds my reaction “curious.” She doesn’t understand why Daddy’s eyes are wet (Daddy doesn’t entirely understands it either) but she seems to want to in a way.

Learning to Ride a Bike

This past summer my daughter finally mastered riding her bike. No thanks to me, really. It was my wife who did it. Having ridden bikes since I was six, and being a hardcore BMXer, I’ve little understand and therefore patience for anyone who doesn’t feel as if a bike is mere extension of themselves. She’s only eight, I know, I know, but it’s simply a flaw of mine. In any case, she’s a good bike-rider now, as well as a very enthusiastic one.

Also, this past summer I recouped the old BMX bike that I handed over to my nephew some years ago. Well, what was left of it anyway – it is sans wheels and brake cable, needs a new chain, not to mention a paint job. I’m planning on restoring it. It would seem that I’ve gotten nostalgic for my old BMXer days. I’d like to ride again, especially on some trails, if I can find any. But of course that’s not the only reason. I know better than to expect my daughter to take an interest in BMX, but I’m hoping she will.

The latest Quips commercial from Quaker Oats is hilarious!

Editor’s Note: I’ve been following the Generation X blogger, Junkdrawer67 almost since the day I started blogging about Generation X. I really enjoyed this guest post, and wanted to do something special to promote it. So, to enter the contest for the Quisp Cereal T-shirt, tell me either your favorite cereal from your childhood or what movie from your childhood is the biggest tearjerker (either then or now). I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday morning! (The shirt is available in youth X Small/2-4 through Adult XL.)

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Reta

    Quisp was a favorite and so was Frankenberry! Wish I could still find them!

  2. Tisha Tolar

    Hands down my favorite cereal was Kaboom!

    The movie part is a bit more difficult. E.T. was a tearjerker for sure. I believe Mikey made me shed a tear or two in the Goonies – and the Stand by Me kids finding a dead body was emotional as well.

    Bonus points – this weekend I watched ‘The Dark Crystal’ with my 7 year old.

  3. jen

    @THEMUFFINMAN – I love it when you write about Kylah – “my daughter.” You amaze us all! You are SUCH a good dad!!! i mean it!

  4. TheMuffinMan

    Along with my movie comment I’d also like to add how I share “pop-culture” with Kylah (who is 7 for those who aren’t my aunt haha). Some of the biggest things I have been into in my life are 1) video games and 2) comics. To this day at 28 I am still a huge fan of both (and thank God I am blessed with a wife who understands my addictions haha). My daughter can look at the “logo” for just about any major super hero character and know exactly what it is. “Look Daddy, Superman! (or batman or green lantern or the flash etc…) are common phrases when I take her to the store and we pass clothing or another child who is wearing a comic shirt. She even has a pink/green camo shirt with a big pink superman “S” on it and “Supergirl” is printed on the back. She tells me all the time she is my “Superman” girl. How cute is that? She also likes to point out “Mario” and company… I mean the first Nintendo came out when I was only 3! Man I feel old now… haha

  5. Anonymous

    Oh My–
    So many favorites — but my vote goes to SUGAR BEAR’S Sugar Crisp (Sugared Puffed Wheat. (I still have some of the Little Toy Bears that were included in the boxes.) LOL
    Thanks for reminding me.

  6. jen

    I’d have to say my favorite cereal was Boo Berry (he was kind of the underdog – always third in the trifecta) I also loved Lucky Charms and Froot Loops. This came later in my Gen X youth but that wind beneath my wings movie with bette midler and barbara hershey made me sob like a baby in college.

  7. mygenx

    Honey Comb and the Honey Comb Hideout for me!

    And, I’ve never cried over a movie, especially when I was a kid.

  8. Understanding Alice

    scooby doo where are yoooou? (We love him here in the UK too)

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