“Not a problem, Mr. Madoff.”
Recently, I was doing an interview for the student newspaper at some local charity’s chili cook-off. I didn’t win, but it raised a few grand for veterans and I got to sample free food, so to me that’s a success. But the kid interviewing me continued to refer to me as “Mr.” Everyone knows the dad-joke, “Call me Bernie, Mr. Madoff is my father.”
To be quite honest, I am still not comfortable being an adult. In the eyes of the law, I’ve been an adult for nearly ten years. At 18, I thought since, you know, I’d be thought of as more of an adult. As a 27-year-old, I still don’t feel any more or less like an adult. I figured at some point, there would be a card sent in the mail, like AARP, which grants you the full adult rights and the designation of “Card Carrying Adult,” but in reality, it’s still a process.
It’s strange because to children, I am an adult. I help out coaching youth hockey with some of my men’s league friends that have kids. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember not to curse around kids or talk about my “extracurricular activities.” I wear pajama pants on the ice and the kids have taken to making fun of them, telling me they wear them to bed at night and adults shouldn’t wear them. The irony is I probably watch more cartoons than they do.
Even though I want to stuff them in a trashcan or make fun of them for pissing the bed, I just roll with it. I wear business casual all day; if I want to wear pajama pants on the fucking ice, I will. No eight-year-old will tell me different. I usually end the conversation by telling them that kids their age in China mine coal or make Xboxes, which tends to shut them up.
A lot of my friends are older. It’s what happens when you live in a college town and your friends move on to bigger and better (or more faraway) places. With these people, I often feel like a little brother. Being the oldest child myself, I never really had an older brother but I always got along with older people better. It’s surprising how youthful people are when they don’t have kids. My grandfather slipped one past the goalie in his 40s, so I have an uncle that is 10 years older than me and seeing the difference between late 30s, no kids vs late 30s, two kids is astounding.
I work with people who all have children in high school or college. While I do work with all women that treat me wonderfully, I feel like my younger status doesn’t help my cause come time for discussions. Even though my title is the same and in many cases, I have only a year or two difference in experience, the fact that I’m “recently graduated” seems to in the back of their minds when I give my opinions or they relate to me in the fact that their kids are my age.
It seems to be never ending. When I visit home and the two things you shouldn’t talk about at family gatherings (religion and politics) come up, I get the “you don’t know you haven’t lived in the real world.” I may be the most educated person in my family, but all that book learning doesn’t seem to matter since I’m apparently young and stupid. That young uncle with kids? He was still living with my grandmother when he was my age.
And it doesn’t stop at work, because in my leisure time or with my family, I even get it in my own damn home. I like to throw some adult parties from time to time. During the fall, we had a party (around 20 people) and me being the VP of the ‘hood as well as a courteous person, I taped a piece of paper that said if we were too loud to let us know and we will gladly dial down the festivities. My redneck neighbor with three kids, with terrible dyed hair (that also rents his place) came over to me to tell me that his wife works early and to keep it down. He also thanked me for the note, said that he wouldn’t call the cops and that, “I could have my party.” Thanks, fucko. I own my place, and I let you know as a courtesy. Same fight different round.
There’s all sorts of quotes with stupid motivational pictures about getting older that are supposed to exude some sort of meaning to life — “Age is just a number” or “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years” or “Laughter is timeless, Imagination has no age and dreams are forever.” As someone that enjoys a solid, not cheesy bullshit fluff quote, the one that really stuck with me is from Homer Simpson: “That’s all well and good for you, but I used to rock and roll all night and party every day. Then it was every other day… now I’m lucky to find half an hour a week in which to get funky. I’ve got to get out of this rut and back into the groove.”
Quite honestly, I’m just waiting to get my adult card in the mail. .
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