It is actually a good thing I am atheist enough not to believe in the existence of Hell. If I believed in eternal punishment for saying bad words and having evil thoughts, I would surely find myself in the char-broiled section of Satan’s kitchen of charcoal justice. The reason for this thought that might rile both Catholics and Muslims is that I am a father of three grown children and a survivor of a collective twenty-one years’ worth of dealing with a teenager.
Yes, I have argued about when it is necessary to sleep, when it necessary to get up, why you have to go to school, why you shouldn’t sleep during school, why math is simple and worth knowing how to do, what causes zits on the end of your nose on very day of the big date, what condoms are for, what condoms are not for, why you should not say, “**** you” to your parents in the Willow Creek Mall, why you should not yell, “**** you” at your teachers during parent’s night at Newman Smith High School, why the stereo was not yours to sell at the pawn shop, why you can’t sell your brother at the pawn shop and shouldn’t even be trying, and why you can’t swim naked after midnight in other people’s backyard pools.
It does cause insanity. It does convince you that you are wrong about everything. And it condemns your immortal soul to the Hell I don’t believe in.
It is bad enough that I had to talk in a form of English that teenagers can comprehend for the thirty-one years of teaching middle-school and high-school, but I had to talk in simple sentences with no profanity, cussing, god-damning, or sacrilege for twenty-four hours a day during the entirety of my three kids’ teenagerhood. Gradually I lost control of my tongue. Now, as an aged and teenager-misbehavior-forged grumpy old coot, I can’t help but use profanity constantly. I have used the magic F-word and the magic S-word repeatedly on the family dog who grins her dog-grin and wags her dog tail supportively in response. I swear and use profanity as a necessity for relieving stress. And as a former parent of teenagers, I am permanently scarred and stressed for the rest of my life.
So, I contend that, since I survived those fateful years of being a parent of teenagers without actually killing anybody (that can be proven in court at any rate) I am not guilty of becoming evil. I take no personal responsibility for my use of foul language or my commission of evil acts. It is all somebody else’s fault. This is the lesson being a parent of teenagers has taught me.