Biff America: A chip off the old block but worse |

Biff America: A chip off the old block but worse

Biff America

“She lies, steals, cheats, does drugs, and I think she is having sex.” No, that is not a “Swift boat veterans for truth” campaign ad written when it was presumed that Hillary Clinton was going to get the Democratic nomination.

Actually, those words were used by my Buddy Paul to describe his teenaged daughter. Paul and his daughter, Rachel, left last week for a road trip to Maine.

It was Pauli’s last attempt at father-daughter bonding before he dropped her off at a 10-week boot camp for troubled kids. When Paul described his daughter in those terms it was in a nonjudgmental, matter-of- fact, manner.

“She lies, steals, cheats, does drugs and I think she is having sex.”

After saying that, he paused a few seconds and added, “I wonder where she gets that from?”

Both my friend and I knew that, if there were genetic blame, it would fall on Paul’s shoulders.

Pauli’s wife, Sarah, is sweet, quiet, kind and spiritual. Paul, on the other hand, as a teen and young adult, was a wild-child; and I was right there with him.

To be clear that was many years ago. Paul today is a very successful, sober and he and his wife are very good parents. They married late when both were settled and are loving, involved, and good role models for their kids.

Two of their children are on the Dean’s list at Boston College; Rachel is going to boot camp. When I asked Paul what exactly was the theme and purpose of the “camp” he said, “They do a lot of fun stuff, hiking canoeing, swimming, the camp is on a huge lake. There are consolers, therapists and teachers who work with the kids.” He added, “But basically, it is a lesson in accountability. Rachel will get rewarded for good behavior and punished for bad; really, it is lot like real-life but it costs three grand a week for 10 weeks.”

Paul said he hated to send his daughter away but he is terrified that, if she stays home, she will get pregnant, overdose, or make some mistake that she will pay for many years to come.

Parents have very right to be concerned; the world is a scary place today.

The repercussions of rebellion are much greater now than when Pauli and I were running wild as teens. Of course drunk driving was and is a concern. But where, back then, the drugs of the day was mostly pot and beer, the violence was confines to fist-fighting. Yes there was some teen sex but it was mostly done in parked cars and in other uncomfortable places and both parents and society made it difficult.

And though sexual transmitted diseases, I’m sure, were around back then, the only sexual ailment I remember was when my buddy Eddy knocked out a tooth on a gear shift.

But the biggest difference was when Paul and I rebelled we were turning our backs on the mores and morals of the fifties and sixties. We didn’t have to do much to be considered “wild”.

Long hair, bad fashion and the spouting of anti-establishment rhetoric was enough to be considered a rebel. Throw in a few street fights and petty vandalism and you were considered a regular suburban Billy the Kid.

Our role models were the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and Jack Kerouac.

I don’t know Rachel all that well but the behavior of her (badly behaved) role models ” Paris Hilton Lindy Lohan, Amy Winehouse ” would make the Rebels of my day blush. In addition, with the web and heightened media scrutiny, when Paris Hilton is caught by the paparazzi without her undies, gets loaded and smacks into a parked car it’s on the news the next morning. Gossip was not as immediate in my generation; we didn’t learn that Marilyn Monroe and JFK had an affair until long after both were dead.

I’m not discounting the role of personality disorders plays in the anti-social behavior of kids like Rachel. But I do contend that a perceived societal tolerance of bad behavior has upped the anti of repercussions as well as a parent’s heartburn.

“She lies, steals, cheats, does drugs and I think she is having sex.”

If my buddy’s daughter doesn’t mend her ways perhaps she can go into politics.

Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be seen on RSN TV and read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at Biff’s book “Steep, Deep and Dyslexic” is available from local book stores or at

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