Friday, February 6, 2015

That Kid! -- and -- The Nissan Commercial

I just went to watch a video on YouTube and jeez, even here you have ads!  But at least, in most cases, you can skip the ad after four seconds ... and I was planning on doing so, like always, until

Until I heard the song they were playing.

I didn't watch the Stupor Bowl this year, so I had no idea that Nissan came out with this video montage that was a takeoff on "Boys Life", playing Jim Croce's 'Cat in the Cradle' ... once I heard that song, I gasped and was glued to the screen --

-- and I started thinking about That Kid.  Not the one in the video -- but a guy I first met in the late 80s I'll call That Kid ...

I worked with his mother.  She was divorced, had two kids (one of each) ... and ... let's say the situation wasn't good, in several aspects:  the divorce had been brutal and ugly and spun out of control all over the kids; the mom was living at the hovering edge of poverty level; and oh yeahhh ... once the divorce happened, the father reluctantly paid support but when it was his time to pick up his kids, he basically shuffled them off on his parents or his new wife and completely detached.

One day, That Kid came running into his mother's room, about scaring her into next Tuesday, and said - MOM!  THERE'S A SONG ABOUT DAD AND ME! -- Yeahhh, it was 'Cat in the Cradle'.  And he sent it to his Dad, doing it how we did it back then:  he taped it on to a cassette recorder from the radio.

And Dad had no reaction.

Now, That Kid was genius level smart ... but even tho I attended his graduation party, my congratulations were kind of forced -- because I was afraid I'd seen this movie before and knew how it ended:  he was going to end up like so many of us that there were high hopes for -- and then they crash and burn into obscurity, into alcoholism, into some dead-end job like happened to his mother when her own dreams melted like a crayon on a July day ... Sure, sure, he graduated top ten in his high school class ... and ... oh, Christ!  He's going to go to some rinky-dink college that you never really heard anyone notable come out of, because his father was kicking up a fuss about even paying for half of it, and his mother was trying to get bank loans and desperately appealing to her wealthy parents, who really didn't want to help her because she had "messed-up" in the following areas (pick one ...) ...

Yeahhh ... I figured That Kid would be some lost older-adult version of his present self :  the guy with the socks lost under a couch that could make you evacuate a room (according to his mother), the 'he's not a looker' guy with the thick glasses and slight tummy (I think The Kid was even starting to lose his hair in high school, actually!) ....

So mebbe a week or so ago, something reminded me of his mom (she and I, that's a whole other blog post ...) and I wondered about That Kid ... and - I'll be honest here! - I was already depressed and figured, when I did find him on Facebook or through Google, the movie would end the way I figured it would - the way I've seen it far too many times to count! - and being already in a morose state of mind, what better thing to look for, right?!!  (May I add -- his mom and I kept in touch, and, she's passed away now -- so that's why I didn't know whatever happened to That Kid of yours, the Mensa guy ??? ....)

I about fell out of my chair.

The Kid has gone now to three colleges because - please, put your seat belts on! - he is now a PhD!  He's published!  He teaches at a college!  He's married -- and a homeowner, too, may I add!

They had his photo, 'in living color', next to the blurb about him completing his Doctorate.  I sat here and I cried my heart out, because,

The Kid had overcome everything - he had even overcome 'Cat in the Cradle' - and is living the dream ... he made it!  My God almighty, he made it!!!!!!!!!!

Guess I'd better start calling him Dr. The Kid, ya know ;)

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad; come on, let's play
Can you teach me to throw?" 
I said, "Not today, I got a lot to do." 
He said, "That's okay."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed
And said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah
You know I'm gonna be like him."

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man, I just had to say
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later; can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then, dad
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired, and my son's moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me
He'd grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when
But we'll get together then, dad
We're gonna have a good time then."Writer/s: CHAPIN, HARRY F./CHAPIN, SANDY


  1. i didn't watch the super bowl either, i slept, that was better ;)

    i did see one of the commercials on facebook that i thought was wonderful "like a girl"'s on my facebook page. that one was awesome and really spoke to me!!!

  2. and yes, i do have the best life partner. 36 years, he is the love of my life!!!!