Congratulations! You are now the proud new owner of a teenaged daughter. Please read this manual carefully, as it describes the maintenance of your new daughter, and answers important questions about your warranty (which does NOT include the right to return the product to the factory for a full refund).
IF YOU FEEL YOU HAVE RECEIVED YOUR TEENAGER IN ERROR: To determine whether you were supposed to receive a teenaged girl, please examine your new daughter carefully. Does she (a) look very similar to your original daughter, only with more makeup and less clothing? (b) refuse to acknowledge your existence on the planet Earth (except when requesting money)? (c) sleep in a burrow of dirty laundry? If any of these are true, you have received the correct item. Nice try, though.
BREAK-IN PERIOD: When you first receive your teenaged daughter, you will initially experience a high level of discomfort. Gradually, this discomfort will subside, and you will merely feel traumatized. This is the "Break-In Period," during which you are becoming accustomed to certain behaviours that will cause you concern, anxiety, and stress. Once you have adapted to these behaviours, your teenager will start acting even worse.
ACTIVATION: To activate your teenaged daughter, simply place her in the vicinity of a telephone. No further programming is required. SHUTDOWN: Several hours after activation, you may desire to shut down your teenaged daughter. There is no way to do this.
CLEANING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER: Having a teenaged daughter means learning the difference between the words "clean" and "neat." Teenaged daughters are very clean, because they take frequent showers that last more than an hour. They will scrub themselves with expensive, fragrant soaps which you must purchase for them because like I'm sure I'm going to use like the same kind of soap my mom and dad use. When they have completely drained the hot-water tank, they will step out and wrap themselves in every towel in the bathroom, which they will subsequently strew throughout the house. If you ask them to pick up the towels, you are confusing "clean" with "neat." Teenagers are very busy and do not have time to be neat. They expect others to pick up after them. These others are called "parents."
FEEDING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER: Your teenaged daughter requires regular meals, which must be purchased for her at restaurants because she detests everything you eat because it is like so disgusting. She does not want you to accompany her to these restaurants, because some people might see you and like I'm sure I want my friends to see me eating dinner with my parents. Either order take-out food or just give her the money, preferably both. If you order pizza, never answer the doorbell because the delivery boy might see you and ohmigod he is so hot. Yes, your daughter's idea of an attractive man is the pizza boy.
CLOTHING YOUR TEENAGED DAUGHTER: Retailers make millions of dollars a year selling stylish and frankly sensible clothing which will look adorable on your daughter. If you enjoy shopping, you will love the vast selections which are available to you. Unfortunately, your teenaged daughter wants to dress like a lap dancer. You may be able to coerce her into putting on a cute outfit before leaving the house, but by the time she walks in the schoolhouse door, she will be wearing something entirely different.
OTHER MAINTENANCE: Teenaged daughters require one of two levels of maintenance: "High," and "Ultra High." Your daughter is "Ultra High." This means that whatever you do won't be enough and whatever you try won't work.
WARRANTY: This product is not without defect because she has your genes, for heaven's sake. If you think this is not fair, talk to your parents, who think it is hilarious. Your teenaged daughter will remain a teenager for as long as it takes for her to become a woman, which in her opinion has already happened and as far as you are concerned never really will. If you are dissatisfied with your teenaged daughter, well, what did you expect? In any event, your warranty does not give you your little girl back under any circumstances, except that deep down she's actually still there -- you just have to look for her.
mycollingwood.ca would like to thank Bruce Cameron for allowing us to post this excerpt.
W. Bruce Cameron is the author of "8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter," which started off as a column, was turned into a book and then picked up by Disney and is now a hit TV show.
For more information about W. Bruce Cameron, please see his website http://www.wbrucecameron.com
Copyright 2004 W. Bruce Cameron