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Sitting on the floor of the shoe department, I looked like one of those people in a desert slumped against a cactus, welcoming death’s sweet release.

“What about these sneakers?” I asked the teen, holding up a pair within arms’ reach. “I think they are super cute.”

“Exactly,” she said.

My head rolled back against the shoe rack. I closed my eyes.

“Wow, that was a burn,” I said, always a little delighted when I can use one of her cool words, thereby immediately making it uncool.

“I am sorry, Mom, I love you. It’s just ...”

Yes, I get it. We don’t have the same tastes anymore. A fact I was reminded of the other day when I offered her one of my necklaces, to which she issued forth a strange guttural sound like she had accidentally ingested one of the metal clasps.

“It’s just that these shoes are #adorbs,” I said, with a smirk.

“Mom, stop it. What did I say about using hashtags? And saying ‘adorbs’.”

She had told me I was no longer allowed to use either, but I was feeling angsty, which is something that happens to me when, say, I am sitting on the floor of Kohl’s surrounded by a growing pile of boxes, shoe papers and those little freshness packets you aren’t supposed to eat.

She says saying “adorbs” (short for adorable, for those who are even more out of touch than I am) is what people who are “basic” say. She then had to go on to explain what being “basic” meant, which just confused me more. I eventually had to look it up online. As far as I can tell, it has something to do with wearing Ugg boots and drinking pumpkin spice lattes, neither of which I monkey with, so I am feeling safe on that front.

While I was getting my slang dictionary education, I decided to look up a few other terms, and I am happy to say “Let’s get lit!” doesn’t mean what I thought it means.

This is important because when my 13-year-old announced she was going to the mall and planned to “get lit,” I immediately started asking the sort of questions one asks a teen at such a pronouncement.

But according to Merriam-Webster and, more importantly, it just means one is “excited” or it is going to be an “excellent time.”

Also learned to “go ham” on something has nothing to do with pork products as originally suspected.

And saying someone looks “swole” is actually a compliment.

I don’t always get the lingo, but to my defense, neither does she.

She is like the new foreign exchange student when it comes to understanding classic metaphors, which, not going to lie, brings me significant pleasure.

“He’s not a sharp cookie.”

“What did you just say?” I jump in.

“I said, ‘He’s not a sharp cookie’.”

“Are you even listening to what you are saying right now?”

Other favorites she has said, and I in turn wrote down, include, “not the brightest bulb in the drawer,” “the bitter end of the stick” and “it’s like shooting ducks in a barrel.”

I think all her screw-ups are #adorbs, of course.

And it gives me something to smirk about when balled up on shoe department floors, quietly waiting for the end to draw near.

When raising a teen, it is like my kid says, “there is never a dry moment.”

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Martha Petteys writes a weekly column for The Post-Star. Write to her at or visit her on Facebook.


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