Monday, September 08, 2008

Talking on, and over, the radio

Youngest Son is driving every morning to school now, slowly but surely amassing the 50 hours of parent-supervised driving practice that he must accumulate before he can acquire his driver's license.

I am the designated supervising parent. (An explanation, though not necessarily a good explanation, of why things worked out this way may be found by clicking here.)

Actually Youngest Son is doing pretty well at this student driver thing; I seldom scream in panic more than once a trip these days, and usually because of something some other dunderhead is doing in front of us -- pulling into traffic without looking, changing lanes without looking, entering an intersection without noticing that the light has turned red.... Look out! LOOK OUT!

Oh, sorry.

These flashbacks are brutal.

Anyway, Youngest Son has so far progressed in his own driving that we have recently introduced the radio into our morning routine. (I know I never got this far with Younger Daughter... and not just because we'd never have agreed on a station. Although that was one factor.)

And what can Curmudgeon and his Youngest Son agree to listen to together?

Why, sports, of course.

Sure, it's a cliche: The Old Man and The Kid don't have much to talk about or say to each other but can find common ground in the world of sports. This didn't get to be a trite image because it was unusual.

There are two sports talk shows on morning radio in Chicago, and we've flipped back and forth between them both. Mike and Mike on ESPN Radio almost never takes calls from listeners. Mully and Hanley, on WSCR (the Score) almost always do.

I can't stand the call-ins. Oh, sure, some of them might be intelligent, articulate, knowledgeable. Most appear, however, to be drooling idiots. And these are the ones who get past the producer screening the calls. The ideal sports show, in my opinion, would limit its guest list to sportswriters... which was pretty much the format of Tony Kornheiser's ESPN show a few years back. I don't even care for most of the interviews with athletes. The ability to carry, catch or swing at a ball does not necessarily carry with it a glibness in the English tongue. Or even fluency.

(Of course I love to hear Ozzie Guillen interviewed. But remember, my friends, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.)

So Youngest Son and I are having conversations on the way to school about sports, about sports radio, about how his fantasy football teams did this weekend. This leads to conversations about his football practices this week and -- sometimes -- even two or three word answers about his grades.

But only sometimes.

And, on the way home, I get to think about whatever I want. And drink my coffee. And curse freely when some idiot changes lanes without signaling... because Youngest Son isn't there to pretend to be shocked by my language.

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