Thursday, October 30, 2008

Whatever Will Be

My favorite song when I was a child was a darling little tune called Que Sera or maybe it was Que Sera Sera. Anyway, it was a wonderful song about this anxious little girl who nagged her mother with a bunch of silly questions. The girl wanted to know what she would be like when she was all grown up. She asked her mother: “Will I be pretty?” and “Will I be rich?”. The mother didn’t seem to have an answer for any of the girl’s questions. All she ever said in reply was Que Sera Sera whatever will be will be…

I recall wondering if the girl was real ugly since her mother wasn’t sure if she’d ever be pretty. I also wondered if the singer stuttered because she kept repeating everything. It seemed to me that she could have at least encouraged the child to get an education and always be friendly or something. But it was a great song anyway. I think that the woman singing that song was Doris Day or maybe just some lady that looked like Doris Day. When I was a kid, everyone on television looked like Doris Day to me.

None of that will make a catfish like earthworms, but I mention it because that little jingle popped into my head the other day after all these years on the dusty shelves of my memory room. My son, who is already quite handsome, asked me, “How do you know when you’re a grown-up?” (I'm pretty sure this is leading up to a request for an apartment.)

Wow. My first thought was the age thing, like when you turn eighteen or twenty-one but most of the people I know in that age group are still very dependent on their parents. Then I thought about jobs, homes, children and a few other landmarks of maturity but none of them seemed like a definitive answer. Finally, I said, “Son, have you learned the phrase que sera in Spanish class yet?”

He said, “No, but comida means food.”

“Oh,” I said. “Well, I can’t give you an exact moment or event that makes you a grown up but I’ll give you a few clues to look for as you grow older and wiser.

You may be a grown-up if:
1. You own lawn and garden equipment.
2. You change your oil before the warning light comes on.
3. You choose loose fitting clothing over tight but cute clothing for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.
4. You watch the weather report before you select your outfit for the next day.
5. You volunteer to work on holidays and weekends because you want to pay off some bills.
6. You wear your hair short because long hair is “too much trouble.”
7. You sacrifice something you really, really, really want so your kid can have the birthday present he really, really, really wants.

“Umph,” he said shaking his head, “being you sucks doesn’t it?”

“Nah,” I said, “it’s not so bad. I done with college finals and I can buy my own comida.”

“I’m never gonna grown-up,” he joked as he pilfered my remaining segment of two dollar a pound not-even-organic green apple.

I simply smiled and replied, “ Que Sera, Sera.”