They taunt me with their photos on Facebook. Friends’ children wearing Darth Vader masks, Leia costumes and joyfully sat in front of the TV watching a lightsabre duel. I am reminded daily of a single inalienable truth.
My kids don’t like Star Wars.
Those who know me are aware that the sole reason I had kids was to have someone to watch those films with and how much this makes me sad.
(I’m joking, of course. “Too much wine at a family barbecue” is the actual reason I had kids)
Maybe it’s my fault. Perhaps I tried to introduce them to it to early and the damage was done then. Maybe it’s George Lucas’s fault (The first 20 minutes of A New Hope do drag a bit, George. Why would you even build a protocol droid that annoys the shit out of everyone he talks to?)
I’ve tried everything to interest them. Even explaining to them how, rather than being cute and fluffy and lame, Ewoks are hardcore war criminals.
Come on. They eat their prisoners. Five minutes after capturing them, they’re trying to cook Han, Luke and Chewbacca. The dress Leia wears in the Ewok village probably came from the last person they had round for dinner.
Still, there’s something sad about a 40 year old man owning more Star Wars merchandise than his children.
But, actually, it comes down to the one mantra my kids repeat:
“Dad likes it. It must be rubbish.”
Before kids come along, you always think you’re going to be the Cool Dad, that they’ll regard you as some hybrid of Steve McQueen, Joey Ramone and Evel Knievel. But you can’t be. Because you’re their dad. By the virtue of their existence, you’ve become an older generation and become slightly less relevant.
In fact, they have no idea who Steve McQueen, Joey Ramone and Evel Knievel are. (Though Kid C is a bit partial to “Blitzkrieg Bop” on the ao.com advert)
It’s the same with music. They’re always telling me to turn that racket down, which I’m pretty sure is not how that particular social transaction should work.
And the stuff they listen to these days. I don’t know what that’s all about. It’s got a melody. You can actually hear the lyrics. It was just a noise in my day and it was brilliant.
I think my favourite episode of The Simpsons is Homerpalooza, when Homer realises that he’s become totally out of touch with pop culture. Of course, the irony is that my kids regard all the “cool bands” that I like in that episode as hilariously old-fashioned. Me listening to Sonic Youth is the 2017 version of 1996’s Homer listening to Grand Funk Railroad.
But when you do manage to show them something you love and they love it too and they think maybe – just maybe – dad knows what he’s talking about… Those shared moments are everything.
And it’s something I remember when they look at me with pity when I put the Stone Roses on and air-guitar my way around the kitchen.