Step 1. Have your son, whom you have not seen much in the last couple of years, invite you to be one of his "friends" on Facebook.com.
Step 2. Register, with much trepidation, at Facebook.com. Have fears about getting sucked into a "MySpace" with a different interface.
Step 3. Have fears somewhat ameliorated by the fact that Mitt Romney, LDS Stud Presidential Candidate, also has a Facebook.com page.
Step 4. Log on and check out son's page.
Step 5. Realize, quickly, what a fogey you have become in the last three years.
Step 6. In fact, begin comparing yourself with your own father, who wasn't much older than this when his hair turned nearly silver. Like, overnight. Begin wondering just how much you, personally, contributed to this color change.
Step 7. Further realize that, after only a moments' consideration, you're beginning to think of retirement in terms of "sooner" rather than "later." Also, that minivan you're contemplating buying is beginning to look sexier than your average Ferrari. Ferarri. Whatever.
Yes, I have officially joined the ranks of the Fogeys of America (FoA). You might have thought having a daughter that is not only married but has presented me with a beautiful granddaughter older than both of my other daughters would have qualified me for fogeyism long before now. But, no. It's always the boys that turn Dads into living fossils. Trust me on this.
Yes, I joke about getting a shotgun so I can be cleaning it casually whenever my daughters' future Interested Hunks begin calling and I answer the door. I still have a few years before that particular nightmare kicks in. But my son...
Well. I can only say that I immediately went into Father Reactive Mode. I posted a note on his Facebook.com page: "This is your father. Get a job. Get a haircut. Look more like me. Only thinner. This has been your Father update." It was a kneejerk sort of thing. Then I decided I'd better say something that showed I was interested in his life. I considered all the options. "Considered military school, lately?" Or, "Hey, I understand there's an opening at the local library! That oughta be a chick magnet, hm?"
But of course I copped out. I asked about his current girlfriend, then realized she was in the pictures on his page. I haven't decided yet who has more body piercings. This, I think, is the ultimate fogey-indicator. My wife only has piercings in her ears. My son has them in places I'm pretty sure were listed in the "Thou shalt nots" section of the Ten or So Commandments. "Hope things are going smoothly" I think I said. "Much love."
And I meant it. I love my son, however different from my own life his may be. Certainly this was not how I envisioned things when my only namesake - he who would continue the Woody name - reached the age where his idea of high style reminds me forcefully of a half-shaved poodle. Looks like Britney Spears became a dog groomer only to give up halfway through her first job so she could rot in rehab.
No. Really. I love my son. He's a bit on the goofy side, but what teenage boy isn't? I certainly had my moments when I was that age. Fortunately, I had those moments in the highlands of Guatemala and no one noticed. And my journals are sealed.
So, in summary, I aged about fifteen years this morning. Next entry: "That's 'Geezer,' not 'Geyser,' Sonny. I Have Dentures Older Than You..."