The DadBall Era: Stupid AirPod$!

If you have a teenager—or a near-teenager, or almost any kid, really—then odds are they’re aggressively lobbying you for AirPods or the like this holiday season. Wireless ear buds of any ilk. They’ll say it’s so they can listen to their French homework in peace or enjoy Bible podcasts while doing lawn work or any number of hokey, wholesome rubbish which I already know is completely untrue.

A few things here. First, and this is important: My kids somehow find a way to lose their goddamn comforters. Really. Like, 36-burdensome-square-feet of faux feathers and heavy cotton, confined mainly to their rooms or the couch or the laundry basket. How this happens exactly, I have no idea. But it does. They’d lose a Christmas credenza if I were a 1903 oil baron gifting them such things.

The tiny AirPods, meanwhile—as soon as the kids opened them—would just instantly dissolve into the abyss, Thanos-style. Gone, forever, because why even wait to accidentally drop them down a storm sewer at school or leave them in a Grand Park bathroom? Their disappearance is inevitable. And nobody is coming along to snap my money back into existence, either.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly: Even if they somehow managed to not lose them, they don’t want these wretched DemonPods for any noble or scholastic purposes. No, they want these things specifically so that they can tune out the world even more than they already are. They want to soundproof their lives, so to speak, and not be hassled with quote-unquote “talking to people” or “listening to people.” Not IRL people, I mean. Not—ugggghhhhh—parents. Not when they can listen to some dumb YouTuber play “Assassin’s Creed” on Xbox for whatever reasons.

AirPods are nothing but expensive, trendy “Do Not Disturb” signs hanging off their heads as they mindlessly skulk through the kitchen looking for Pop Tarts.

[Sees in the night sky my kids beaming the BoomerDad signal—a silhouette of Eddie Vedder eating soup]

But you know what? Dunking on kids’ Christmas lists really is going full Boomer … and I’m just not ready to do that. Not yet. Not at my age, and especially not when there are entire genres of literature and film and hieroglyphics (probably) dedicated solely to parents being lame as hell about fun, non-pragmatic Christmas gifts that they deem inappropriate. It’s a story as old as time. Think Ralphie and his official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Whatever-Whatever Air Rifle. Think Frank Cross and his choo-choo. Think some kid in 6th-century Germania wanting a fully grown, military-trained wolfbear and the dad being all “WTF, Gjüntbjørg—you should ask for something USEFUL, like a comfortable sitting rock!”

AirPods are not what I’d choose for them, but so be it. The days of me being able to choose anything on their behalf are quickly coming to an end. They’ll surely get some variation of these blasted things this year (“Ne’erPods™ … a dozen for $19.95!!”), and they’ll instantly lose them, or worse yet, get lost in them, and I won’t be happy about any of it—but not nearly as unhappy as when they’re out of the house and living their lives and “asking Santa” to pay off their car loan. That sounds horrible. So I’m hanging on to the magic for dear life, pragmatism be damned.

[Smashes the BoomerDad signal with an ax, herniates two discs]

Merry Christmas, gang! Let’s go out and buy the stupidest presents possible!