The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

AUGUST  2005

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






New trend in grad gifts has parents
going for bust.

By Ned Hickson

As I watched John Stossel's "20/20" report about LuLu Diaz, the girl whose parents gave her $6,000 breast implants for her high school graduation gift, I was shocked by the notion of a father agreeing to be part of anything that would make his teenaged daughter more enticing to teenaged boys. As luck would have it, I actually spent several years in my teens. Because of this I can tell you there are many teenaged boys who still haven't made it past the "breast implants" portion of this column. Sadly, some may never finish reading it because, in order to break them out of their current hypnotic spell, it will become necessary for a close friend or family member to light this newspaper on fire.Let's face it: This is the nature of most men until the aging process inspires a level of physical maturity that dethrones sex as the main motivator. While there is no set timeline for this transformation, most experts agree it begins anywhere between six and eight months after death. Until then -- at least from a father's perspective -- men can't be trusted.

Knowing this, I've already begun saving for our daughter's graduation gift, which will be an entire new wardrobe consisting of multiple pairs of sheet-metal pants and turtleneck sweaters made from chain-link. I may throw in a make-up kit as well, just in case she decides to lift her metal visor during conversation. I'm sure my daughter will thank me later for adding a degree of difficulty to the courtship process, which will eliminate those who aren't persistent.

Or, at the very least, those without a blowtorch.

Naturally, my wife says I'm getting ahead of myself since our daughter is still only 10 years old. But time passes quickly, and in another 15 years she'll begin dating. When I explained this to my wife, she laughed. Hard.

Howard Dean has exercised more emotional restraint.

For some reason, mothers are better equipped to handle the whole dating prospect. I think it's because -- statistically speaking -- they aren't men. They have no idea what it's like to be an 18-year-old male. Well, I do, which is why I will personally be screening each of my daughter's potential suitors before rendering my final decision to boot them right off the front porch.

I know what you're thinking: What if she wants to attend a college that can't be seen from home using the scope on a high-powered rifle?

Admittedly, it's important to establish a certain level of trust with your daughter.
You have to encourage her to venture beyond the realm of your protection.

You have to allow her a sense of freedom.

And you have to do it without letting her know she's being followed -- more than likely by a full-time private detective. How can I do this? Because, to a father, money is no object when it comes to providing his daughter with the false sense of freedom she deserves.


I'm overreacting.

But she's not getting breast implants for a graduation gift. Why? Because while LuLu's parents say their "gift" is meant to boost their daughter's self esteem, they have to see that things won't end there. It'll be a tummy-tuck at 19, then higher cheekbones and a thinner nose for her 21st birthday. By then, of course, it'll be time to tighten that sagging 21-year-old chin. Eventually, when she's completely unrecognizable and can't pass through airport security without an X-ray of her head, LuLu will be happy and confident knowing she can, at long last, easily ditch her parents in a crowd.

While it's true I want my daughter's self-confidence to be grounded in who she is and not how she looks, I have to admit I'd like to avoid the cost of expensive breast implant surgery.

The truth is, I'm flat busted.

You can write to Ned Hickson at:

or at
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.

Ned Hickson