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Mick J,  Mungo J and Juicy J

Family life, 2020

I received a text on my phone from a parent of my daughter’s friend who had read a shocking post on my daughter’s Instagram page. I didn’t think much about the text because the parent seemed hysterical, dramatic, and in everyone’s business because she had nothing else to do. When the second, third, fourth, and fifth texts dinged on my phone, including one from my daughter’s teacher, I was alarmed. Despite company policy at work, I opened Instagram on my iPad and was stunned. The wording on a post on my daughter’s Instagram page was sexual, covered a range of sexual acts, was offensive slang, and was demeaning to women. The posts had no business on her Instagram page. I knew the two students who had posted the trash and wondered why they’d posted that on her page. It was rather upsetting and nauseating.

I stepped out, phone in hand, and called my daughter who was still asleep. “Maria, you get up, you delete this trash from your account, and you delete these friends of yours.”

I hung up, my heart raced, and when I turned the door knob to go in, my phone rang. “What? I’m in a training session.”

“I didn’t post that. They did.”

“I don’t care who posted. Delete that damned trash. What the hell kind of friends do you have? I’m paying twenty thousand dollars a year to send you to that private Catholic prep school, and I will not allow trash to come into my house whether literally or via social media. Do you understand me, young lady? Take it down, block them, and we’ll discuss it later.”

I turned the phone off, walked back inside the training session, and continued to get texts until she deleted the post. By then, I knew parents were calling each other, the teacher had likely turned the students in to the headmaster, a priest with a no nonsense approach to anything sexual, especially after all of the sexual allegations against priests. I found myself dabbing the corners of my eyes, knew my eye liner had smudged, and wondered why it was so tough to raise teens. I knew I had given my own parents problems: drinking, weed now and again, and wild guys I ran with, including the one I married who left me a year after Maria was born.

Maria sent a text. “Mom, that post was song lyrics. We were all playing a game, posting song lyrics. I just didn’t think they’d post some that bad. It’s Juicy J’s Slob On My Knob. I deleted it. I’m sorry.”

“Thanks,” I replied and then looked up the lyrics. I was relieved her friends hadn’t come up with that trash on their own, and then, I wondered how anyone could listen to something like that. I remember my own parents saying that to me about The Rolling Stones’ Under My Thumb and Mungo Jerry’s Summertime, both controversial songs about the treatment of women, but we hadn’t thought anything of it back then and didn’t even know all of the lyrics. I felt certain there were plenty of other songs out there that had been controversial, too, but when I read Juicy J’s lyrics out of context on social media, it was even more of an eye opener than simply listening to it.

It occurred to me that the more times change, the more they stay the same. It just seems trash seems more “in your face” than it used to be, from music lyrics to a POTUS who says “bullshit” on national television, a headline I caught while having coffee. The exasperation had me pulled between my teen’s drama and what I had missed in the training session. Unfortunately, in my attempt to close my iPad, I pressed something that began to play Juicy J’s Slob On My Knob. The entire auditorium turned to me near the back, and I knew my face was red. Hopefully they only heard the second verse “Like corn on the cob” and thought about lunch.

 

Stereo Story #503

Niles Reddick is author of the novel Drifting too far from the Shore, two collections Reading the Coffee Grounds and Road Kill Art and Other Oddities, and a novella Lead Me Home. His work has been featured in eleven anthologies and in over two hundred literary magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, Cheap Pop, Flash Fiction Magazine, With Painted Words, among many others.