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More Than Just Talk

I’ve been working on a list of discussions for a while now. I’m actually up to 1,598 topics, ranging from silly to serious. Some are quick conversation starters while others are long-form debates that might just change the world someday. There is one issue, however, that I intentionally left off the list. It’s one that I’ve been avoiding like the plague.
For several months now, I have been dodging the talk, and I think even the birds and the bees are starting to get impatient.
Instead of approaching the uncomfortable, I’ve talked global warming, transgendered restrooms, police violence in the inner cities, the world economy and the WNBA with my 12-year-old son. I know. I need serious help.
OK, ok, I hear you out there with your condescension and self-righteousness. I get that I’m a wimp, a chicken and a downright scaredy-cat. But don’t you think public financing of fancy new sports stadiums; whether or not Jerry Jones, the owner, should fire Jerry Jones, the general manager; the best and worst talk radio shows, the best ever 1970s sports jerseys or Superbowl halftime shows would be more interesting topics — and a heck of a lot less uncomfortable — to engage in with a preteen boy?
Where’s that stinkin’ stork when you need him? He would make things so much simpler, right?
I understand that he’s entering 7th grade in the fall and boys and girls already are way way ahead of where I was at their age. But do I really want him learning about the process of reproduction from his buddies in the locker room? Do I want him to model a potential courtship on things he sees and reads on SnapChat? Of course I don’t.
But I’d also rather talk about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Chick-fil-A versus Whataburger, even sweet versus unsweet tea or cookies versus brownies, really anything other than the procreation discourse.
I don’t want to have to tell my son exactly where babies come from, what kissing girls leads to and why kissing girls is so darn awesome as long as you treat her like a princess and never forget that she’s someone’s daughter — and that her dad probably owns a shotgun and a shovel.
Before we sit down and explore the inevitable life-making anatomy questions he’s bound to ask, I’d much rather dig a little deeper into his all-time favorite cartoon movies, Braum’s proper place in the pantheon of affordable ice cream destinations, why Twizzlers win out against popcorn as the favorite movie-night snack or why Peanut M&M’s are the best.
Honestly, I could pontificate on the subject of sweets and junk food for hours. After all, I can eat an industrial bag of Hershey Kisses without going into a diabetic coma, so I’m sort of an expert.
Despite two kids and more than one girlfriend in my past, I’m not even close to any kind of authority on girls or sex.
But I know it’s my job to sit the boy down and get into the nitty gritty before it’s too late. It’s like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. He doesn’t believe in any of those fictional characters any longer but he hasn’t actually admitted that. Will he do the same thing with S-E-X if we fail to have the T-A-L-K?
I’d better get my A-game on. I need to prepare my PowerPoint slides, work on my speech in front of the mirror and make sure the wife and daughter are safely out of town. Now if only I could figure out how to begin our discussion.
Perhaps a joke to start? Something that will loosen both of us up. Wait, better yet, I think we’ll go see a movie first. Yeah, that’s a good idea. We’ll see a movie together and then we’ll have the talk afterward. Well, after we grab a bite to eat. And perhaps a dessert. Then if it’s not too late, we can start our conversation. For sure. Definitely.