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How to be 12 years old, from the horse's mouth

(Editor's Note: Mike's son Kent will be writing "The Soapbox" this week, per tradition. Kent celebrates his 12th birthday this week.)

I was SO ready to write this column this week. Daddy only lets me do this once a year, and if you know me, you know I have a lot to say. All the time.

I finally got access to a computer this year, at school and at home, and honestly, my head just about exploded. Technology is everything: with the exception of soccer and basketball, if it doesn't happen on a Mac, I'm not that interested.

Speaking of which, I'm hoping to go to a coding camp this summer at the College where Daddy teaches. The class is how to make video games. Daddy says that it's too bad he couldn't take a class in video games in the 80s because he was terrible at all of them except something called Tecmo Bowl, where he was supposedly "The King" and Bo Jackson and blah blah blah, Old Guy stuff. He does that sometimes.

I do kind of wish he'd stop calling it "Nerd Camp," even though he says it is great being a nerd, because he is one, and then he starts talking about some history things and writing with his fountain pens, and well, I don't know: it seems like our definition of "nerd" might not be the same. Plus, I don't see how my love for computers is any different than his thing with the Boston Red Sox.

However, I do like the Red Sox, and started collecting baseball cards last summer. When Daddy was sick we started watching games on TV and my favorite player is the shortstop. He has a weird name, but his nickname is the X-Man, which is definitely cool.

Speaking of cool, middle school has definitely changed some of my interests. Deodorant is a must (see what I did there?) and sometimes some lit shoes can get you some publicity. That's the other thing. I say stuff like that now that only people my age understand and I enjoy explaining what these words mean to adults and even my sister. She rolls her eyes a lot and is always telling me, "Bless your heart."

In addition to helping Mama and Daddy keep up with all the mistakes they make, I learn a lot of stuff on the Internet. I love random facts, science videos, and of course a young man still needs a Minecraft fix every now and then. I have many goals in life, several of which involving me becoming famous, probably through a YouTube video series. My brother is usually my cameraman and he does a good job. Sometimes, when we are making a short film, we can go, like, a good 10 minutes without trying to kill each other. We are learning how to edit out the parts where Daddy walks across the background and does something embarrassing.

I do finally feel like I'm getting older now. I'm into music and Imagine Dragons is my favorite band. I still like to read, and I got a hand-me-done smartphone that I'm using as an iPod and that will be a phone soon, I hope, because I'm not always around the house as much. I am also hilarious, and make jokes all the time about how old Daddy is and my puns are just great; he calls them "special."

As I get older, Daddy is giving me more advice. Some of it is pretty good stuff, like when we talk guns or basketball, but I'm not sold on the "hold your feelings inside" stuff. I think he's kidding, and Mama reminds me that they were pumping the old guy with a lot of drugs a few months ago, so you know, imagine me spinning my finger next to my head in a circle right now, making that universal crazy sign.

I'm still a kid though, and it is probably true that I can get wound tight. My folks have banned me from coffee after our last trip out of town, but it seems silly. Why sleep on a trip? I still have a lot of questions. I'm already thinking about colleges and I'm hoping to tag along with my sister on her visits over the next year as she decides, but she doesn't seem sold on that idea. I need a place that has lots of beautiful open, peaceful, space, somewhere just perfect for Nerf wars. They do that at college, right?

That's about it for this year, and I have to bounce now, because you know, squad goals. Daddy will be back next week.


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