Brain Damage Part III: Urgent Public Service Announcement

If you’re a middleaged woman and have teenage children, you may be in serious trouble. Please consider the following scenario, then read the questions carefully and answer to the best of your ability. Try not to panic until you’ve answered them all.

Quiz: Are you facing potentially serious brain damage?

Let’s say your daughter is 17 and asks you to chaperone her choir to a jazz festival an hour away, which includes driving her and three other choir members. And let’s say you’re thinking, “Super! My daughter wants to spend time with me! And I haven’t been on a field trip with her since fourth grade! I’m in!” Then, let’s say she already volunteered you anyway, so you’re committed. Now answer the following questions.

  • Section 1.

—When you realize you’ll have to leave at 6:30 am and you haven’t been sleeping lately, and you’re not a morning person at the best of times, should you go anyway?

—When her choir performs flawlessly and their gorgeous voices blend in haunting harmonies and your daughter looks like a poised, happy, and talented woman rather than your little girl with the chubby knees, should you shout “woo-hoo” and give them a standing ovation even when nobody else is standing? (Note: I did NOT do this. Really. I’m just asking.)

—When she wants to buy a kazoo, should you cheerfully pull a dollar out of your purse for the purchase?

—When three of the four girls driving home with you also have kazoos, should let them in the car?

—When your daughter puts a Spotify “pop driving songs” playlist on the radio, should you keep quiet about the volume because you don’t want to seem like an old lady?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you’re showing signs that your judgement is already being impaired by parenting teens. Move on to section 2.

If you answered “no” to every single question, your sanity may still be intact. Cherish it. Skip section 2 and please go be sane elsewhere.

  • Section 2.

—When the three kazoo players (that you unwisely allowed into the car) bust out kazoo-ing at top volume, do you find yourself wishing you had bought your own kazoo?

—When the three kazoo players begin to kazoo in three-part harmony, are you impressed with their musicality?

—When the three kazoo players add vibrato, dynamics, and soulfulness, do you get weepy at the obvious signs of their talent and consider sending an audition tape to America’s Got Talent?

—When, at the end of the hour-long drive home, you have a hammering pain at the base of your skull, do you blame it on too much caffeine at lunch and the glaring sun in your eyes, rather than on the incessant backseat buzzing?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions in section 2, you already have serious brain damage that has significantly impaired your judgement. Go to a dark room, put a cool cloth on your forehead, sip a margarita (feel free to substitute drink of your choice) and listen to Broadway showtunes (feel free to substitute music of your choice).

And if, after all this, your daughter then asks you to take her shopping because she really needs the next level of music books so she can start practicing new songs on the piano tonight, JUST SAY NO. “Piano” may be a code word for “kazoo.”

Have fun (and stay sane) ‘til next time!



PS: If you want to hear a snippet of the kazoo trio, you can check it out on my Instagram account, @jnastu55. Listen at your own risk.



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