Biff America: Back to the old grind
Here is what I know for certain about Pete’s friend Greg.
He lives in Minnesota but has a buffed-out second home in Utah. He has two children and is recently divorced. He is also a good friend of my friend Peter who lives year-round in Utah. A few years ago, we met up with the two so they could show us around their home turf.
Pete filled me in on Greg’s status while we were waiting for him at the trailhead.
When Greg arrived late, he apologized and explained that he had “a little trouble back home with my oldest son.”
He didn’t elaborate.
We had barely left the trailhead when I found myself imagining what kind of trouble Greg’s kid was in. I know the dumbest stuff I had ever done in my life was when I was in high school … and after high school … and after I arrived in Colorado … and several years after that.
It then dawned on me I pretty much continued to do stupid stuff up to the point when I met my now wife. … And a year or two after that.
So all that said, I was fairly acquainted to the stupid situations a young man, low on restraint, high on hormones, can get himself into.
About 10 minutes into our ride, Greg offered a second apology saying he needed to carry his cell phone in case his ex-wife called. He added, “I never carry this thing while I bike, but I know I won’t be able to relax until I find out my kid is OK.”
With that last statement the subject was dropped and we began climbing through the aspens.
After the trail got less steep and oxygen was more available, Pete and Greg were talking, generally about their families. Pete has three kids — two in college — and Greg had two in high school. Greg mentioned nuns and priests, so I deduced that his kids went to a Catholic school.
Greg’s phone must have rung softly five times, all the while we were cruising on a flat and narrow trail through the trees, but he never stopped to answer. In response to my unasked question he said, “My ex has her own special ring.”
About 15 minutes later his phone made the sound often heard in movies when a submarine dives.
We all stopped while Greg spoke to his ex. From the one-sided conversation, it indeed did sound serious.
“Who called the police? Did he force himself on her? Has he been expelled? Have you spoken to the girl’s parents? Where did he spend the night? Put him on the phone.”
Pete and Ellie took a few steps away, but I remained close enough to hear the one-sided conversation. “Michael, you know I love you, but I am very disappointed in your behavior. There will be consequences and I’ll talk to you when I get home. Now put you mother back on the phone.”
Greg hung up and was smiling.
“My kid just got kicked out of his senior prom for grinding.”
Greg’s son attends a Catholic school. It seems that Greg’s son was dancing at the prom with his date and sometime during the song they started grinding. By all reports the movement was mutual.
(Grinding: Slang. A dance movement in which the hips are pressed against a partner’s in a suggestive or erotic manner.)
The other dancers, seeing how much Greg’s son and his date were enjoying their grind, soon followed suit. When the sisters ordered the teens to “save room for the Holy Ghost,” many ignored the order. Since the nuns had deemed that Greg’s son was the grinding ringleader, they kicked him out of the prom and called his mother.
I know this might seem far-fetched, but this is all true. Now to be clear, this was about two years ago, pre-pandemic, when grinding was simply a sin but not a possible spreader of COVID-19.
This was the first serious trouble that Michael had ever gotten into. He was too scared to go home so he slept at a friend’s house and his mother got worried and called the cops. Sometime in the course of all this, Greg was alerted.
This entire experience left me conflicted. On one hand the thought of a parent punishing a child for engaging in an activity most of us have enjoyed at that age (any age) with no ill effects, seems hypocritical. But on the other hand, I do take comfort that, in this era of schoolyard shootings, teen pregnancies and disrespect for societal mores, there are still high schools in America where innocence prevails and grinding is as bad as it gets.
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stop lights. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeffrey Bergeron’s column “Biff America” publishes Mondays in the Summit Daily News. Bergeron has worked in TV and radio for more than 30 years, and his column can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He is the author of “Mind, Body, Soul.” Bergeron arrived in Breckenridge when there was plenty of parking and no stoplights. Contact him at email@example.com.
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