It's a scientific fact that teenagers are stupid. There are actual studies that confirm this, not that any person who has ever raised a teenager ever had any doubt. The studies say something about the underdeveloped pre-frontal cortex and hormone release rates, but those are just big scientific words that mean 'teenagers are stupid.'
I mention this because if teenagers were not stupid, I would not have had the opportunity to play croquet golf. And my life might have been just a little bit emptier without the memories of endless bickering and teen angst mood swings to carry me into my old age. Which, if my kids don't leave the house after high school, may happen sooner rather than later.
We initially had plans Saturday for an actual event (I won't spoil it for you because we're going next Saturday). But when that plan fell through, we began to scramble for alternative activities. Play a board game? Not exactly an alternative activity in my house. My son wanted to watch a movie and make popcorn, demonstrating that there is virtually no originality in him. I couldn't come up with one single cool thing we could do, and my wife was out of town. We were stumped.
Then my daughter brought out croquet golf. This is a fake croquet set with one cheap-ass plastic putter and four colored wiffle balls, plus some hoops and a couple 'holes' that sit on the grass. At first, I was not sold, but then I remembered that it was very late and I had an article to write and no other decent alternatives (if I had been thinking, I would have suggested we visit the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum, but that thought did not occur to me for several days).
If you've never had the chance to enjoy a late Saturday afternoon playing a ludicrously cheap lawn game with two teenagers who couldn't agree on the time if they were staring at the same clock, then you should celebrate your existence and keep using birth control. Batting very light plastic balls around an unkempt front yard with a cheap plastic golf club is bad enough, but when the rules change from turn to turn (which I allowed because nobody sane wants to argue with a teenager for very long), it turned downright unbearable.
Finally my son managed to bounce his oversized ping-pong ball off a stray leaf and into the hole, ending the game. And at this point, I demonstrated that I am not much smarter than my children - I suggested that we play again. But there was no way I was going to listen to 'you didn't say that' for another half hour, so this time we clearly defined the rules, which offended my son because he didn't think we were playing right. I guess they play croquet with their grandparents during the summer, who obviously have a great deal more patience than I do.
The second game went much better, and not just because I won. Then we took turns jumping over the shrubs, which resulted in more than a couple minor scrapes as we found out that the shrubs were not only taller than we thought, they were also more than a little prickly.
That night, after the sun went down, we found ourselves in the same revolving situation that seems to plague teenagers who think that their parents double as cruise organizers - nothing to do. Once again, we mentioned the old stand-bys, but we really didn't want to do movies or games. Instead, my daughter suggested we play indoor croquet golf.
See? Kids are stupid. We have hardwoods, for crying out loud, and recent unrelenting North Texas rainstorms have caused something of a foundation problem, which means that the entire house slopes gently from the living room to the kitchen. Indoor croquet golf had to be one of the most inane suggestions ever.
Needless to say, we had a very good time, though we did get stuck in the kitchen a lot.
Physical activity, maybe even outside
Mildly entertaining - almost as much fun as jumping over bushes
Spend time with people who usually annoy you without wanting to club them like baby seals
Almost impossibly stupid