Dad, grab the shotgun by the door

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 16, 2008

A handful of times over the past few weeks, I&8217;ve seen teenagers pile out of cars and giddily fill the tables at restaurants around the city.

I halfway get the question about what&8217;s going on through my mind before I remember: It&8217;s prom season.

Maybe I&8217;m strange, but when I was 18 I could think of nothing more annoying than getting dressed, and then parading and dancing around a high school gym for a couple of hours.

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Then again, I was kind of a loser when I was that age. I&8217;m not that bitter, though.

I know I was trying to make a point, I just can&8217;t recall what it was.

Oh right, now I remember. I was just about to ruin future proms for every kid whose parents read this.

Let&8217;s just be honest, prom night is one of those rare occasions in a kid&8217;s life when he or she thinks not a single thing parental figures say about responsibility applies.

Girls try way too hard to be pretty, guys try way too hard to get lucky, and the combination turns into an awful chemistry explosion in the middle of some cow pasture.

For this one night alone, I&8217;m all for dads showing up at the front door with guns. Loaded or unloaded, the choice is yours.

See, males respond to force. It&8217;s one thing if a man says to a guy, &8220;Take care of my daughter, don&8217;t drink and drive safe.&8221;

But showing that sucker the business end of a 12-gauge really drives the point home. For added fun, you can check to see if the front of his pants are still dry when he walks out the front door.

Mothers, do your parts as well. Slide on downstairs in some rolled down knee-highs, your worst looking house dress and a face without a speck of makeup. This kid will either think his date for the night will look just like that in 20 years, or that you&8217;re just as crazy as your husband.

Since guys traditionally pick up their dates, it&8217;d be kind of hard to work the same psychology on girls.

So here&8217;s an idea. Get your son&8217;s cell phone the day before, find his date&8217;s number and send a text message that reads just like this: &8220;Can&8217;t wait to pick you up tomorrow night. Glad I found a nice girl to take to prom. All the males in my family married their prom dates and eventually got killed by their wives. Hope my dad holds out for a couple more years.&8221;

Voila! There will be no becoming a grandparent before you&8217;re ready, and you won&8217;t have to worry about that late-night phone call from the police.

But since most of you probably won&8217;t adopt these new age concepts for protecting your children, I guess teaching them as best you can and praying for their safety will have to do.

Fine, be conventional. See what I care.

George L. Jones is the Times-Journal managing editor. He can be reached at (334) 410-1744 or