Saturday, June 25, 2011

I Am Not a Grownup.

One of my favorite people-watching games is to imagine what folks were like as kids. What were their favorite toys? What scared them? What were their favorite foods? Did they realize that they would one day have a really creepy mustache?

I think about this a lot because I also play the mirror image of this game with my own kids -- what will they be like as adults? 

But there's another reason I wonder about this --  although it's been twenty years since I graduated from high school, at no time in these two decades have I ever felt like a grownup.

I have done many grownup things since 1991, like get a law degree, drink scotch (on purpose), and sire children (on purpose), but for the most part, I still feel like I'm about fifteen years old. I like quoting movies and watching sports and eating junk food, and, now that I've got kids, doing kid stuff with them. I don't watch Meet the Press and I feel like a complete and total fraud when I'm wearing a tie. If there is a way to turn a snippet of conversation into inappropriate innuendo, rest assured that it's being done inside my head.

What's particularly funny is that in becoming a lawyer, I chose a profession that puts a premium on acting grownup. Probably not as big a premium as a job as a nuclear-missile-silo commander puts on acting grownup, but a premium nonetheless. 

But this hasn't made me feel more grownup. It just makes me feel like I'm pretending extra hard to act grownup. 

I'm fairly sure I'm not alone in thinking this. 

One might say that it's because most of us look back on childhood relatively fondly, and that nothing in adulthood can quite compare to the starry-eyed idealism of one's childhood. Put another way, we wish we were still kids.

But that's not entirely accurate. Because like Andy Dufresne clawing his way to freedom through Shawshank's sewer pipe, everyone goes through their own river of crap when they are kids, stuff that they would just as soon not repeat. For me, I was quite short (still am) and let's just say my mom had to buy my pants in the Husky size. This is the sort of delightful combination that gets you targeted like an al Qaeda bunker. I'm sure you've got your own childhood/adolescence horror story. 

And although there are days I wish I could shuffle off to summer camp like my son, I'm not sure I want to be a young kid again.

But like many of you, I follow Journey's advice, and I hold on to that feeeeeeee-ling. Which I guess is the point. You may not want to BE a kid again, but you always want to FEEL like a kid.

In fact, my worldview is deeply rooted in this general inability to accept the fact that I have grown up. For one, I've committed myself to a profession in which my two primary goals are to:

(1) Make shit up (I must say, cussing whenever I want is a pretty good perk of adulthood, although if I let one slip in front of the kids, they get a free shot at smacking my hand as hard as they want).

(2) Make you laugh. I'm talking about writing. Although I suppose this could apply to practicing law. Because that can be funny.

Making shit up and making people laugh is the same philosophy of life espoused by my five-year-old.

I know that this whole "wanting to stay young" thing is a relatively cliched topic, and I'm probably not adding anything earth-shattering to the body of work with this blog post.

All I know is that when I was a kid, I always assumed that I would one day feel grownup, and it never happened.

As proof of my failure to mature past the ninth grade, let's go live inside my brain right now.


Hears the word 'poop'.

Giggles hysterically.



  1. I really enjoyed reading this. You put into words many of my own feelings. There's no way I'd voluntarily go back to being kid, but I still laugh at fart jokes.

  2. Yep. Can't say I ever meditated on the word, poop (maybe cause I'm a lady), but I distinctly remember praying to God that I'd never become so serious like those adults. They never seem to have any fun.
    Some may argue that I'm still young, but I make I'm-crouching and I'm-getting-up noises. Still want to play in the mud, roll down a hill, and not pay taxes.

  3. Great post, David. Your kids must have a total blast with you!

  4. Catie -- thanks! (you said fart, which of course made me laugh... ;-))

    T. - overly serious adults are scary....

    Natalie -- thanks -- nothing like kids to keep you young!

  5. I constantly fear that people will discover I'm not a grownup. This usually happens when I'm out with my 10 year old and I'm acting sillier than him. Hmmmm...maybe there are no real grownups, so maybe we shouldn't be worried?

  6. Aw. I loved this post, David. They say you're only as old as you feel, so why not try to feel young forever?

    Oh, and what is it about bathroom humor, anyway? LOL

    P.S. AACK! My word veri said MINON! I kid you not. I'm your minion! That's terrifying on so many levels. ;)

  7. Let us never forget that poop is funny. I'm laughing just thinking about it. Poo! Poo! Falling from the sky!
    BTW I am joining my boys at camp this summer. I'm in charge of skits and music. It's my favorite place in the world.

  8. @Scott -- let's hope there are fewer grownups out there than there appear to be. Because it's not getting us very far.

    @Anita - Yes, I had a special word verification made ... just for you. (Insert diabolical laugh here).

    @Jenny -- Whenever my kids say potty words, I have to remind myself that I am technically the grownup. Sometimes it works. Mostly not.