They said it couldn't be done.
They said it would be like all the other times. I'd be talked into providing all the support services - the shopping, the corsage selection, the ironing, the transportation and of course, picking up the tab - only to be coldly shut out of the photo opportunities by an uncooperative teenage boy wearing a $30 tie.
They are usually right.
I resign myself to pictures of his shoes as I drive the uncooperative boy in the $30 tie to the house where all the teenagers are gathered in their finery. They will spend up to half an hour posing for their Facebook pages. A half dozen teenage girls will go home with pictures of him on their cameras. Just like last year, he promises to get me a copy. He has no intention of doing this. He will promise anything to keep me from getting out of the car.
Would you like to see a picture of his shoes? He is growing so fast. They will not fit him much longer. Someday I will look back on this picture and think, was he ever really so small?
Anyway, it's not like I will have nothing to remember this occasion by. My Visa bill, for instance. I will show it to my grandkids one day as proof that in the days before they were born, a wrist corsage was only $18. I also have the tie we picked out together in one of those priceless mother-son experiences that cost about $33 including tax. His father has about a million ties, but they are all gay.
I go home to flip through his baby pictures and be mocked by Mr. Kamikaze for my weakness. He does not understand why I do not leverage my control of the finance, transportation and corsage committee to demand as many pictures as I want. Because they would have all the charm of hostage photos. Duh.
Then I get a call from former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
"I got something for you and it's bleeping golden," he says.
"Yeah, right," I say. "If I had a nickel for every time I heard that." It's true. Everyone in Chicago does Blagojevich now.
This time, however it's my neighbor, Mr. Suburban Overachiever, and he does in fact have the goods: pictures of the uncooperative teenager and his homecoming date. The boy in the $30 tie had been trapped outside between a line of semi-cooperative teenagers and a horde of mom and pop-arazzi shortly after I dropped him off.
There was no place to run. There are too many of us.
From the menswear archives: But I will treasure the receipts forever...