An oldie but a goodie

This piece of mine was originally published in 2005, back when I was still the parent of a preschooler. Enjoy!

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It

Thursday, 11:20 am
We find Impossible Mission Special Agent (code name: Cheryl) on the way to the local mall. Her assignment: exchange two clothing items. She has only 25 minutes to get to the mall, park, get to the store, return the two items, choose two new ones, make the purchase, and get out of there. If she isn’t back to preschool for the noon pick-up, her four-year-old will self-destruct.

11:25 am
Parking goes off without a hitch. Kidless, our agent enters the mall, successfully dodging the super rip-off kiddie rides. She enters the store.

11:30 am
Our agent selects two properly fitting items and proceeds to the checkout counter to execute “the exchange.” Two counters are manned. Neither has the “I’m open” light on. The cashier at counter A is with a customer. When she’s finished, she flippantly informs our agent, “I’m closed,” and walks away. At counter B, the customer first in line has ten items and a credit card application. The second customer has a cell phone (on which he is speaking, loudly), but is otherwise empty-handed…a definite sign of trouble.

11:35 am
Our agent languishes behind Credit Application Girl and Cell Phone Man. She observes at least six other salespeople busying themselves around the store, including one who is unloading Pampered Chef boxes from the UPS man, while talking to the cashier who was formerly working. Our agent aggressively clears her throat.

11:40 am
The sole working cashier is now on the phone. She appears to be speaking to the credit card division, but our agent suspects that they are trading coded message about how to keep her there indefinitely. In a bold and unexpected move, our agent says loudly, “I don’t want to be rude, but this looks like it’s going to take a while. Can you please open another checkout?” Crippled as if by an electromagnetic pulse, everyone at the counter freezes. After reviving, Pampered Chef guy says, “Uh, sure,” and radios his underlings.

11:45 am
An unidentified sales operative appears at the counter furthest away from our agent’s present location. She feebly offers, “I’ll take the next customer in line.” Our agent waves Cell Phone Man on, then follows him to the Forbidden Outpost. Meanwhile, a fresh-faced couple takes their place behind Credit Card Girl, whose sale has just been completed.

11:50 am
Back at the Forbidden Outpost, the cashier has completed her quest to locate a rare and valuable store gift card for Cell Phone Man. But she has to call for back-up when her ID mysteriously comes up “invalid” and her system “locks up.” All heads turn back to the original checkout, where the fresh-faced couple has now come and gone, and the customer is now a grey-haired woman with a greyer-haired man (considering the circumstances, our agent discounts the possible use of an evil, rapid-aging formula). The cashier presses a few buttons, looks over at Pampered Chef Guy, and says, “I’m locked up too.” At that moment, we scream into the transmitter, “Abort! Abort! Abort!” The transmission terminates. We lose contact.

11:59 am
Cheryl pulls up in front of the preschool with one minute to spare. Sure, she broke a few (dozen) traffic laws to get there in time, but, hey, who would pull over a minivan? Relishing her final thirty seconds of free time before pick up, our agent leans back in her seat and sighs. Mission accomplished.

This piece originally appeared in FORUM, the national newsletter for Mothers & More.



Do television commercials ever make you cry? I’m sitting here at the computer, weeping, watching a YouTube video made by the Disney company. It shows clip after home video clip of families popping the news to their kids that they’re going to Disney! As if the kids’ elated reactions aren’t enough to turn on the tears, get a load of this voice-over narration:

Disney memories keep our children young in our hearts, and color our tomorrows with the best of our yesterdays. They sing to us whenever we need them to, and dance to us in our dreams…which is why they’re so important! And here’s the best part: your Disney memory can begin this very moment.

Follow the link a little further, and you’ll connect to an equally weep-producing video with this voice-over:

To all the memory makers, the ones who know there are only so many moments before the sword is passed [a boy pulls a sword out of a theme park stone], only so many mountains left to climb together [a family rides the roller coaster down a thrill hill], and only so many days before she finds her own Prince Charming [a costumed prince kisses the hand of a pre-teen girl]—so to all those who know that the best memories in life are the ones you hold on to for a lifetime, don’t wait! Let the memories begin at the place where dreams come true.

Oh, brother.

Help me out, here, everyone. Disney: the source for beautiful family memories or insidious purveyor of unrealistic, worldly ideals preying on the sentimentality of the future guilt-ridden mothers of America?

What do you think?

Summing up a life – Part 3

This satiric, ancient Greek epitaph just in:

I, the actor, Philistion
Soothed men’s pain with comedy and laughter,
A man of parts, I often died–
But never quite like this.

– Translated by Michael Wolfe, author of the forthcoming book The Last Word: Selected Greek Epitaphs; epitaph printed in “The Key Reporter” (Fall 2011)–a publication of American liberal arts honor society Phi Beta Kappa

Emotionally shanghai-ed by Shanghai Girls

I guess I can’t handle tragedy.

I just finished Lisa See’s Shanghai Girls, and frankly, I’m glad to have it over with. If I had to identify one sentence that pretty much summed up the central theme of the book, it would be this: “When we’re packing, Yen-yen says she’s tired. She sits down on the couch in the main room and dies.” Yup, she sits down and dies. Just like that.

Shanghai Girls is a fortunately/unfortunately story, except without any of the fortunately parts.

If you hadn’t already guessed, here’s the official spoiler warning. Ready?

In this story…

Families lose it all. Brides are sold. Rickshaws are stolen. Bombs drop. A head and not a few limbs are severed. People step over dead babies in the street (and that’s during the good times, before the bombs). Enemies invade. Women are attacked, killed. Refugees flee, drown. Immigrants are detained, and while detained one delivers a baby in a shower stall. One pregnancy is faked. Another ends in the death of a baby and the near death of her mother. The family store burns down not once but twice. The dull-witted guy in the story becomes a bed-ridden invalid to boot (diagnosed with “the soft-bone disease,” whatever that is). Neighbors betray neighbors. A sister betrays her sister, leading to the suicide of the only remotely well-grounded individual in the story. Then the sisters go through some serious and really unresolved victim-blaming. By the end of the book, one character has fled to communist China in search of a better life, and her passport-less mother flees after her, counting on deportation as her one way ticket there.

Geeez. In the words of Billy Crystal, why don’t you just give me a paper cut and pour lemon juice on it?

I don’t need feel-good stories, but this book was ridiculous. I know that life can be bad, and that life in war is surely worse. But this story is relentless. The only bright spot was the main character’s finding of the Christian faith, which you would have missed if you weren’t paying attention or would have questioned as half-hearted if you were paying attention.

I know that people love this book. I wish I was one of them.

I remember reading that the European title of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was Men Who Hate Women. Apt, right? The real title of Shanghai Girls should be How the Slow Boat from China Made Two Powerless Girls Hopeless As Well. I wish I hadn’t gone along with them.

Summing up a life – Part 2

In writing my blog entry of the other day, which focused on my semi-obsession with reading the obituaries of people I don’t know, I discovered several links that one may find helpful when, shall we say, the time comes.

My research turned up this wonderful quote from Jim Nicholson, then with Philadelphia Daily News: “…every person is a lead obit. There are no unimportant obits.” The quote can be found at the online magazine obit, whose section “Mourning Roundup” asks the question, “Why is Seth Rogen in so many cancer comedies?” Note to self: maybe don’t linger on this topic too long.

Seth Rogen aside, it’s an important point. Whether you’re Steve Jobs (whose life story has been one of the stories in the past several days) or Steve Prior (whose 2010 obituary noted that he had recently toured with a band from Scotland called “Little Buddha”), your story should be worth reading because it’s already worth telling.

In fact, early birds (read here: control freaks) can get started now, well before the death knell sounds. Using the website Obituary, you can craft your own obituary, and, in the words of the website writer, “…know that you have had your say.” And for those in the group who find it hard to get projects across the finish line, the website advises, “Don’t put off writing your own obituary because it seems too big to finish. Here’s the good news: you don’t have to worry about finishing it!”

Some tips for autobiographical obituary from Obituary (my comments in parentheses):

  • Harvest ideas from other people’s obits (it’s not plagiarism, I guess…plus they can’t sue you when they’re dead)


  • Sum up your life in three to six words a la a Twitter or Facebook post (but please, for the love of everything holy, do not mention coffee or your migraines!)


  • Be an inspiration…to yourself! (Remember our friend Hank Zimmerman? His lovely obit read, “Hank was truly a person who made a difference in the world, and his contagious smile will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved him.” Makes you want to be somebody, doesn’t it?)


  • Live a life that makes good obituary material (or get started now on the made-up memoirs of the life you’d never dare live)


  • My favorite tip: try to capture in words what your life means to you (all kidding aside—that one’s pretty staggering, isn’t it?)

Those who find getting started to be the biggest challenge may find help from The REMEMBERING Site, a web service that helps you walk through and document your story. The site offers to house personal stories for a $25 fee, but free to anyone who visits is a list of thought-provoking questions about everything from first cars to romance and relationships to your personal politics. I especially appreciated these questions on moods, attitudes, and philosophies:

  • Do you like rainy days? What do you do on them?


  • As an old dog, have you learned new tricks?


  • What heroic attributes do you have? What not-so-heroic-at-all attitudes do you have?


  • Would you say you’re a doer or a procrastinator?


  • Would you say you’re blessed? How so? [questions here are quoted verbatim from The REMEMBERING Site]

My advice? Write your life story if you wish, but then release it from your grip. You have one way of looking at your life, and you have much to tell the world, no doubt. But leave room for others to tell your story too. Your presence and impact may be much more than you realize.

I confessed to someone once my perception of myself as always in the process of falling apart—a mother with a bit of an “out of control” family—and usually very noisy about it. But her perception was entirely different. She said that I came across to her like a post-modern flower child, the model of calm-acceptance of my children’s self-expression. And you know what? I like that label better than the one I gave myself, so I’ll take it. I’m much harder on myself than others are on me, so my self-written obit could be the worst read ever—and inaccurate to boot.

Summing up a life – Part 1

This week I received another in a series of “You should write a book about that!” comments from my friends.

This time it was about my habit of reading the obituaries of people I don’t know because they’re just so darn sweet. I mean who can ignore the sheer human joy evident in the obituary of a recently deceased gentleman who, for whatever character flaws have gone unmentioned, will be remembered for his signature hot dog stew? And what possesses a family to use a headshot with extra-large afro circa 1975 for the obituary portrait of dear old dad? Do you think he was buried in his platform shoes?

Obituaries may seem morbid, but really, they are a good read. Take this line from the story of Hank Zimmerman, age 87: “He was a dedicated husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather who enjoyed farming, cooking, and eventually cats.” On the flip side, here’s a tidbit about Horace B. Willey, Jr., age 89: “He served as President of the Diamond State Beagle Club…” And I love this one about Ruth M. Lee, age 87: “[She] was given her angel wings on October 2, 2011. Ruth enjoyed life, caring for her cats and dogs, feeding the wild birds and chipmunks, cooking, especially baking, gardening, and going to lunch with her best friend Joanna. She was known for her green thumb and growing the biggest tomatoes.”

During the conversation, someone mentioned the obit of notorious Delaware killer Thomas Capano, who was found dead in his prison cell back in September. To that point he’d served about 14 years of a life sentence for the murder of Anne Marie Fahey who was then Delaware governor’s scheduling secretary and he died of natural causes, possibly a heart attack.

What struck my friends was that the obituary was a glowing affirmation of the life of community servant, loving father, and all around man of good taste. One person speculated that Mr. Capano’s daughters must have believed he was innocent (after all, what daughter could live her life even imagining that her father was capable of killing his young mistress and disposing of her dead body by stuffing it in a cooler and dumping it off the Jersey shore—it would be hard for Meadow Soprano to get her head around that one, I think). I suspect this may be the case.

Regardless, I think there’s something beautiful about how the remembrance of the Capano family separates the noble, the sweet, the precious memories of their loved one from his unfaithful, ruinous, and monstrous actions. The exercise of mining a life for the good parts is an amazing lesson in finding light even in the darkest of situations. This may not be 100% of the story, but it’s enough to you’re your personal narrative into a palatable form and to help you put one foot in front of the other for another day.

Kudos to the Capano family for getting it right.


Obituary excerpts from The Dover Post newspaper and The News Journal online edition


The model of marriage as a model for more

Sixteen days until Jen and Dan’s wedding, so says the Countdown app on my Sony Dash (love that thing!).

It seems like Craig and I are long past the years when we attended the weddings of our peers. Now we are going to about one wedding each year, mainly those of couples whom we’ve mentored through the “Couples Mentoring Couples” program at our church. There are even a few weddings of friends’ children that have worked their way into the mix. I love weddings, but let me just say right here: maybe we need to find some younger friends.

In any case, mentoring engaged couples is, first of all, humbling. The time comes to mind when we postponed one mentoring session because an after-church argument sapped our enthusiasm for the cause. If nothing else, we are real, right? It’s a good thing for a couple to see a genuine example of a not-so-perfect marriage, I suppose, especially when Christians and Christian literature tend to water down our real problems to something akin to this: “He spends too much time washing his truck” and “She spends too much time in Bible study.” I wish I had those kinds of problems.

Most of the arguments in my house, admittedly, are related to such nuances as tone of voice, choice of words, sleepiness or wakefulness, and enthusiasm for this or that activity. While we (I) sometimes panic about money, we rarely argue about it. For us (me) it’s more like, “I can’t believe you said that” and “Don’t look at me like that.” I swear, it’s like kids on the playground with me sometimes. Note to self: grow up.

Next to being humbling, mentoring engaged couples is just plain enlightening. For example, one of the things we cover in our sessions is the role of men and women in marriage. The Biblical model is that the man is the head (read here as “servant-leader”), and the woman is to submit to him by being a helper-lover (that is, a helpful encourager and lover of her man, his children, and their family together).

Now, I know that this is the model that the Bible describes in Ephesians 5:22-33 and other places, but I don’t know that I agree with the book that we use in our mentoring sessions. It describes this model as the best because it is practical to have one person in charge rather than two people competing for leadership. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl, but I don’t think that co-leaders necessarily compete for leadership. I think that many egalitarian-style and co-leader arrangements work out well, especially when the partners (in classrooms, in business, in marriage) recognize that one person is good at some things and the other is good at other things. And whatever one is good at, that is what he or she should do (plus the things that no one wants to do, because, let’s face it, somebody’s got to do them).

Nor do I agree with those (few, I hope) who suggest that the man should be the head and the woman a helper/lover because they are, by virtue of their gender-based hard-wiring, naturally better at those roles. This natural bent toward their assigned roles may be true for some men and women, perhaps for many or most men and women. But I would suggest that there are not a few guys who are happy to relinquish the driver’s seat to someone more able simply because they have an easy-going attitude…or because of fear, lack of confidence, or secret shortcomings. I’m not saying that those guys shouldn’t step up to the plate and be men in their family responsibilities—just that they may not be naturally good at leadership.

Likewise, many women are intense, lack fear, overabound with confidence, and act as if they have no shortcomings. Decision-making, planning, and needs identification and alleviation are a snap for them. These women are experienced, capable, and assertive—real “get-it-done” girls. Playing the role of the meek helper/lover is a stretch for them. It can be done, but it comes with a lot of character reassignment and a lot of suggestion swallowing—not natural for some, and certainly not easy.

So if these roles are not practically ideal or universally borne out as our true nature as men and women, then what’s the real reason for them? I think I’ve found it.

In his book “That You May Believe: New Life in the Son,” Skip Ryan talks about the Wedding at Cana, as documented in John 2. There, the party runs out of wine, and Jesus replenishes the supply by turning into wine the water from large jars used for ceremonial purification. Ryan suggests that this is not just a miracle showing Jesus’ supernatural power. It is also a signpost that reads, “This way to the real wedding.”

Consider what he says about the role of Jesus and the church in the wedding that Jesus describes. He says, “John is giving us a signpost to the greatest wedding of all, and telling us that the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, will have His bride, the church, presented to him spotless, because she will be wearing his righteousness. Why does a bride wear white? It is a direct indication that, in the plan and economy of God, He intends His church to be white and spotless. That is the historical background to the white dress a bride wears. It is the purity given to the bride of Christ by the Bridegroom, who gives to her His own perfect righteousness.”

You thought the white wedding dress was a symbol of virginity, right? Wrong. In the marriage ceremony, the groom is a representation of Christ and the bride is a representation of the church. Together they are a model of God’s heavenly intent for his people: perfect righteousness effected by ultimate sacrifice.

Would it be too much to say, then, that in practicing our marriage roles as God intended that we will gain a deeper, even more profound understanding of what Christ has done for us and of who we are in Christ? In fulfilling his Biblical role as servant-leader, wouldn’t a self-centered man or one who feels ill-equipped to lead his family come to understand more deeply the humble sacrifice that Christ made for us as an expression of his love for us? Wouldn’t he be able to see that just as a man can create security and stability for his family by serving and leading them, even more so, Christ has created eternal security for us by redeeming us?

Likewise wouldn’t a capable or even self-sufficient woman be able to see that in submitting to her husband’s leadership, she is demonstrating the trust and obedience that the church should have in Jesus Christ? In receiving the direction that her husband offers, isn’t she acknowledging our powerlessness as believers to be effectual in our own righteousness? In allowing her husband to do the work that he sees fit in their relationship, isn’t she being the object of transformation that the church is to Christ?

In this sense our marriages are a lifelong devotional exercise. In them we rehearse what it means for Christ to be who He is and the church to be who He intends us to be.

It is a challenge to fulfill these roles because of our imperfections and our lack of trust for the other person. Don’t get me wrong, in many cases the lack of trust is more than justified. A man may not lead or lead well because he is lazy, unwise, unwilling, or simply because his wife overpowers him. A woman submitting to this kind of man may be walking with him down a path that leads to destruction. But a man must not lead blindly, indulging his whim or vices, without thought of the consequences or of his responsibility. To the man, this is the message: be more like Christ, leading as one who is pure and worthy.

Likewise, a woman may not be willing to submit or play the “second fiddle” role of helper because she is productive, capable, and self-assured, or simply because she doesn’t trust her man. Burned once she may be unwilling to set herself up again, even to a man who is repentant and committed to not only their marriage but to his Christian life as well. To the woman, this is the message: in submitting do not stagnate, but grow in sanctification, trusting more.

I’m not sure how to advise a man who leads where his wife will not follow. Nor am I sure how to advise a woman who has only a poor leader to submit to. I trust that I will be enlightened on these points as well. Stay tuned.

Spontaneous combustion–rubbish?

That old rubbish pile in your garage? Watch out. It may ignite.

That’s what they told me in elementary school. Only you can prevent the rubbish pile fire that will burn your house down to the ground. [Fast fact from Discover magazine’s “20 Things You Didn’t Know About Fire”: “…a typical house fire will double in size every minute.” (October 2011)]

It’s true. The chemical reactions in decomposing rubbish, defined here as piles of old newspapers and magazines, oily rags, and sawdust can generate enough heat to ignite. [Consider this, from an article in Popular Science magazine, circa 1946: “Such fires aren’t ‘black magic.'”]

Convicted by the rubbish pile risk, I got off the bus and went right to work on the mess under my bed. I don’t know if books and stuffed animals count as rubbish, but I don’t even think my flame retardant PJs would save me if my bed went up. Thank goodness I wasn’t storing any pistachios under my bed. [Another fast fact from Discover: “Pistachios have so much natural oil and are so prone to heat-generating fat decomposition that the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code regards them as dangerous.”]

The phenomenon in rubbish piles (‘rubbish’ being a word I have now used more in this blog entry than cumulatively in my life to this point) is not unlike that of haystacks that, given the right temperature and moisture conditions, can spontaneously burst into flame. [Consider this, from William T.W. Woodward, of Washington State University: “Wet hay is more likely to lead to a spontaneous combustion fire than dry hay…High moisture hay stacks can have chemical reactions that build heat. Hay insulates, so the larger the haystack, the less cooling there is to offset the heat. When the internal temperature of hay rises above 130 degrees Fahrenheit (55 degrees C), a chemical reaction begins to produce flammable gas that can ignite if the temperature goes high enough.” The wetter the hay, the higher the risk of spontaneous combustion. The enigma that is fire, right?]

Spontaneous combustion: it’s just another hazard of living on earth, the only known planet with enough oxygen so that fire can burn.

Thanks, Discover. I did not know that.

Memorial for a difficult person

Sometimes death catches us off-guard.

It happened to me this summer. Someone died, and being me, I immediately took up the self-imposed charge to create “something to say” about a person who was, frankly, not that easy to get along with. She wasn’t surrounded by friends…ever, as far as I could tell. She wasn’t particularly nice…although with medication she was nicer.

Standard funeral readings didn’t seem to fit. Too many lean toward the grandiose, seem overly spiritual, or make the person sound like more than she was. Hardest of all, most readings I found didn’t seem to fit my aunt, who was a troubled person and often brought trouble along with her.

Writer that I fancy myself to be, I came up with the paragraphs that follow, and I gave them to my mother to read at her sister’s funeral. The feedback from another aunt was that it said everything she wanted to say. I share what I wrote, not to shine the light on myself, but to offer to anyone else in a similar situation where positive memories are limited. Please feel free to use it for your personal reflection or for a memorial portion of a service, at no charge from me. If you do use it though, drop me a comment.

If you have found this because you have lost someone, please accept my condolences.


Death is the end, but it is also the beginning. It’s a time to look back on what has passed, to mourn over the person whom we’ve lost, and to rejoice that her suffering, seen and unseen, is over. As one life has ended, we begin to live knowing that our days on earth are limited, but that our presence here is valuable. We begin to look forward to our own futures. We live knowing that for as much as God has ordained the events and circumstances of our lives, He is also walking right alongside us to guide us. All we have to do is let Him.

Death is the closing of a door, but it is also an opportunity. As we look back on what Diane walked through in her life, we see what has gone before in all of our lives–highs, lows, joys, sorrows, pleasant memories, and deep regrets. As the door has closed on her life, each of us has the opportunity to transform our pasts into a force for future good. Where we have suffered, we have the opportunity to sympathize. Where we have fallen, we have the opportunity to pick others up. Where we have seen God’s blessings, we can rejoice and share those blessings with others, making ourselves the greatest blessing of all.

Death may seem like the final word, but it also represents a blank page where we write the story of the rest of our lives. Diane’s story lives on in our memories and echoes in our hearts. We have seen her life come to a close, but the rest of us don’t know how our stories will end. We don’t know, any of us, how much time we will have. In the meantime, ask yourself–what do you choose? How will you contribute? What good will you do to honor the God who made you and encourage the people around you?

The rest of your story is yet to be written–the big question is this: What do you want your story to say?

I Heart BTR

Saturday evening found me with the family in York, PA, making up for the Big Time Rush concert we missed in Harrington, DE. Yes, on 9/10/11 we made the 2.5 hour interstate trek to see the Nickelodeon boy band that we failed to get tickets for when they were just a piece down the road from us at the Delaware State Fair. Crazy? Perhaps. Worth it? You bet.

For one thing, I’ve never been to the Delaware State Fair, but I don’t think I would be far off in estimating that the temperature of Saturday night’s concert was easily 30 degrees cooler than that of the July 24th Delaware tour date. Summer heat, combined with the extra 10 degrees generated by the VERY excited girls in the audience likely made BTR’s Delaware appearance a blistering 110 degrees, compared to York’s almost autumn temperature of 80. My blistering eardrums were likely due to all the Beatlemania-style screaming about 2 rows behind me, and, despite reports, was not heat-related.

Unfortunately, the cooler temperatures didn’t keep the lead singer of the opening act from taking off his jacket to reveal what is probably one of the top 10 least appropriate message t-shirts to wear in front of an audience of the Nickelodeon demographic. Kendall Schmidt of BTR wore a Spiderman T-shirt. Nice. Ryan Follese of Hot Chelle Ray wore a shirt that said “VAN F***IN’ HALEN” in huge capital letters, minus my placeholder asterisks. Huh? Can somebody give that guy a detention? This is an audience of 11-year-old girls, dude! They don’t know who Van Halen is!!!!!!

I am thankful, though, that before our trek to York, the Target store right here in Dover, DE still had a couple of extra BTR t-shirts to unload, at the bargain price of $4.48. The money we saved compared with buying a shirt at the concert surely covered the half-gallon bag of swedish fish my kids bought at the concession stand and the 16 oz pre-concert pickle that my son and husband split while we watched Shane Speal, three string cigar box guitar manufacturer and performer, belting out what the York Daily Record describes as “blues and gospel and country and Hawaiian and ragtime…[put] through a meat grinder that’s missing some teeth.” Check him out at his website. It has to be heard to be believed–and heard on a recording to be understood.

All in all, the BTR concert in York was a great experience…all except for the part where the BTR boys dedicated a song to all the parents in the audience. I’m not sure what song I was expecting, but it sure wasn’t “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Listen up, BTR guys: Paul Mcartney is older than my dad. Maybe you should talk to the Van Halen guy from the opening band…that is if he’s not getting beat up behind the tour bus by a couple of outraged parents. He may be missing some teeth after his York appearance, but maybe he can give you a more age-appropriate recommendation for next time.

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