Don’t you just love them? No, really, don’t you? I do. What else is so gorgeous or so fucked up? Both the most beautiful and the most hideous of human beings walking the planet right now are probably teenagers. Sometimes the two can be perfectly melded into one, like that Miss Teen Southern Beauty (sic) girl whose minutely-perfected good looks and crippled long-term memory abilities led her to come up with a beautifully-mangled pageant statement of legend, indecipherable in its rambling flatulence. Or a young man I know who has the countenance of a young, greasy, upright Stephen Hawking, and writes much much funnier stuff than I do, or you, or probably even them over there. It is the inherent absurdity of the teenager that I just want to hug to death. The elderly child. The Jackson Pollock of human development. Millions of gangly, pouting Icaruses (or would that be Icarii, whatever), leaping off a cliff to fly again and again, despite the burned wings, hormonal blasts, and tinnitus from their Ipods.

Some people are intimidated by teenagers, especially if they are in packs of three or more, but this is unnecessary. You must always remember: teenagers are more messed up than you. Every one of them, even the most high-achieving and pimple-free, spends hours and hours per day trying to cope with their insecurities and multi-media platform management. I recently read an article about teenage brain development and driving. Recent research suggests that teenagers have no business driving anything that can go over 2 mph, and it’s possible that even walking is a little too much for them on some days. The example given in the article was of a teenage girl driving along, maybe texting or applying eyeliner or both, when she sees the car in front of her suddenly apply its brakes, hard. A crash is imminent. Unlike the adult driver, who instinctively will move to stand on the brakes or steer away to avoid impact, the researchers noted that our teen will instead throw her hands up and off the steering wheel in panic, and scream. The brakes are untouched. The theory is that the adolescent brain is not yet developed enough to connect RED BRAKE LIGHTS to PUT YOUR DAMN UGG BOOTED FEET ON THE BRAKES, HONEY. In a panic situation, the teen brain breaks down (or doesn’t brake down, haw haw haw), undeniably and reliably, similar to Grandpa’s reaction if you try to serve him anything other than Quaker Oats and a single prune for breakfast. Not pretty.

If I were a teen again, I would use this clever bit of research to my advantage. Failing a test? Drop it and scream. Busted smoking pot by the cops? Drop it and scream. Wear the exact wrong outfit the first day of school? Strip it off and scream. You have science to back you up. It could be the heydey, the nirvana of protected irresponsibility. But of course, the teens also cannot plan well from moment to moment, so this is wasted. On the young. Yes, I said it.

You can have fun with teenagers, though. You may not believe me, but it is true. You, too, can use those latest scientific findings for your own amusement. If you see a group of teens, shuffling along and hooting and kicking each other and smoking, you can point and laugh at them and say, “HA HA! UNFORMED! LOL!” They might look at you with their mushy features and flip you off, but it would be so worth it. If you have to give a teenager a ride somewhere, make the most of it. He or she will probably ask for a drop off somewhere between a block and a quarter-mile of the destination, as to avoid being seen with a formed person. Use your fully-functional driving skills to very slowly follow the child walking along after he or she exits the car, beep the horn repeatedly, roll down the window and shout, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, SWEETIE! BE SAFE! I’LL PUT MR. BUN BUN ON YOUR PILLOW FOR YOU! SMOOCHES!” Keep trolling. You could install lowrider hydraulics in your vehicle as a surprise embarrassment, and violently raise and lower the car as well, or just keep slamming on the brakes and squealing the tires until you cannot laugh any harder at the youth’s desperate shame and discomfort. With any luck after a couple of incidents like this, your teen will be eager to take the public bus system instead and you can stay home and surf the internet for travel deals or porn, unfettered.

I like my house teen. He is handsome, funny, smart, lazy, combative, and rude. His latter three characteristics may serve to make him my house young unemployed adult soon, but I am hoping his former three will help him land a rich, independent, and naïve girlfriend, who will offer him a place to live, free food and laundry service, following in the time-honored footsteps of his dad. What more could a mother hope for? LOL.

So, to teens everywhere, I salute you all. You, Middle-Class Wigger with the pants belted at your knees! I LOVE YOU! You, Smiling Braces Girl who sings off-key at the bus stop! I LOVE YOU! You, 85-Pound International Supermodel with an intractable thumb-sucking habit! I LOVE YOU! Keep on being your roller-coastery, mentally-fluffy, beautiful selves. Just stay the hell away from me on the road.