SMITH: I feel for parents of teens on lockdown

Pray for my brother, y’all.

T-Bob is quaranTEENed with 16-year-old twins. They live in a nice house in Florida, but it’s still a house they can’t leave. When they do, he makes sure they have masks, gloves, bubble wrap and a Bible.

They are so over each other.

Remember being 16? The hormones, the drama, the ennui. Darn right we remember, because back then all we had was encyclopedias, albums, a 14-inch TV and a wall phone with a curly cord to while away the time.

Anna and Alec have smartphones, video games, a trampoline, guitars, a Door Dash account (!), and an entire wall of books in Russian and English. They also have doting grandparents, who split their time between Florida and the motherland.

What they don’t have these days are part-time jobs, school clubs, parties, ice-skating, mall-crawling (apparently that’s still a teen thing), soccer, basketball and sleepovers.

They were troupers for a few weeks, but now they’re over life under lockdown—and who can blame them? They want to play sports and socialize at the Wa-Wa, like normal kids. (Seriously--Wa-Wa, a convenience store that sells coffee drinks and smoothies, is the new cool hangout.)

Then, of course, Alec and Anna saw Vice President Mike Pence without a face mask during a tour of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. In every photo, every frame of video, our second-in-command was the ONLY one not wearing mask.

So naturally Alec says, “Dad, if he doesn’t have to wear a face mask IN A HOSPITAL, why do I have to wear one to go buy a soda?”

T-Bob blinked, but recovered quickly. “First of all, son, you shouldn’t be drinking soda. Second, his father is dead so there’s no one to make him wear a face mask.”

“What about his wife?” Anna piped up. “Why doesn’t she make him?”

“Because some wives wield no power in the marital contract,” T-Bob’s wife tossed over her shoulder. She began loudly stirring a pot of borscht.

T-Bob started to sweat. “Honey, you know you’re an equal—“ he began.

“Nyet, I can get you to do nothing around here,” she said. “How is this equal?”

“Well, I work 14 hours a day,” T-Bob said, which is true. “You stay home. What exactly is not getting done?”

“Mischa needs the spaying. The blender is broken. The dry cleaner sent a ransom note for the clothing we’re all too fat to wear now. But is fine, who needs clothing?” (Tanya is a black-haired, tempestuous beauty who can make “Pass the salt,” ring with drama.)

T-Bob cocked his head. “Okay, spaying an indoor cat? Non-essential. Order a new blender online, and see if the dry cleaner will deliver. If they don’t, here’s a thought: GET IN THE CAR AND GO GET THE CLOTHES.”

“I cook, I clean, I bear your children!” she shrilled.

“So picking up the dry cleaning is a deal breaker? Seriously?”

By now the kids had gathered ‘round. This was more interesting than binge-watching One Tree Hill.

“Are y’all getting divorced?” Alec asked.

“No/Nyet!” both parents snapped simultaneously, which of course is a good sign.

“We are just too much together right now,” Tanya explained. “It frays the nerves. Like when you are scalded.”

T-Bob started chuckling. “Exactly. We have second-degree burns, kids. We’ll survive.”

“Y’all are weird,” Anna said.

“Hush. Stir the borscht,” Tanya said.

“We’re off to the dry-cleaner,” T-Bob said, handing Alec a mask and gloves. “Honey, where’s the bubble wrap?”

Julie R. Smith, who may be exaggerating about the bubble wrap and Bible, can be reached at