No child has ever been asked if they want to go to a party and respond with, “oh, I don’t know…I’m tired, I don’t know who else will be there, and I really don’t want to have to get ready…and who knows how late I’ll be out?” Nope, kids are raring to go. “Party!? Where? Why at the pile of dirt? Okay, whatever. Can I wear my new shoes? A present? I think something that costs a billion million dollars, like from Dollar Tree!” My point is that they are READY to go. Children want to know WHEN to go; adults are deep in thought as to WHETHER or not to go.
Remember when you were a kid in school and it was time for recess? You wanted that playground ball…so you were in your “fast” position. Arms tight (with one slightly extended), head tucked, legs coiled like springs, eyes squinted against the sun. At that point, the greatest injustice you ever faced was when that other teacher, Ms. What’s-Her-Name let her kids out first and David Spivet and his bunch of bowl-cut rugby-shirt wearing friends (with that one kid who always swallowed mid-sentence and laughed at his own jokes when nobody else ever did) got to the rack of playground balls first. Remember when THAT was as bad as it got? Back before our healthcare was a bargaining chip? Before the general assembly couldn’t pass a budget and our income tax wasn’t like a slinky on a trampoline? That was when you were a kid. You’re a grown up now. Get a helmet.
Some general signs that you’ve grown up? Some people would say it’s having a kid. Well, MTV dispelled that myth. Here are some better relied-upon ones…
• When your parents come to stay with YOU, that’s a pretty good sign.
• When you buy your own grill or lawn mower.
• When you tell someone younger than you not to do something that you yourself have done in the last 72 hours. That is a level of hypocrisy only an adult can achieve.
• When you have a AAA card with your own name on it.
• The first time a mother points at you and says to her child (within your hearing), “ask that man [woman] over there for directions.”
• When you hear a song you rocked out to (wreckless-driving, lung-stretching, tonsil-wrenching, head-banging rocked out to) dribbling through the speakers of the elevator in which you’re riding.
You can’t really fight growing up, but you can attempt to hold onto some of the excesses and frivolities of youth. I am watching just such an attempt happen live before me at this very moment. As I write this, I’m hanging out with some of my college buddies…among them is a U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, a bank vice president, a guy who settles Internet identity and security squabbles worth millions of dollars, a corporal for a large metropolitan police agency, a lawyer, and a guy whose government computer intel job he won’t even talk about PERIOD. What are they doing right now? Playing air guitar to “Love Gun” by KISS in my buddy’s man cave. Sleep tight, America, your future is strong.
Are there other signs, of course, but I think I’ve covered enough, riders of the Wagon. Thanks for riding shotgun, our road trip soundtrack will include Motley Crüe, Journey, Def Leppard, AC/DC, and a little-known band called Manowar (actually, they’re huge in Europe). Get your air guitars tuned up.
Submitted by Chuck Moss