"If you're over 18, why don't you act like an adult?" That's a quote from one of the most important educational works of our time, Slick Rick's classic single "Hey Young World."
It's a deceptively difficult question to answer. Most of us wouldn't be able to because, if we're brutally honest with ourselves, we know that there are plenty of times when our behavior veers away from what anyone would classify as adult-like. I know I spend a lot more time acting like an entitled 10-year-old than I have any right to at the age of 27 (approximately). You probably do as well, even if you don't realize it. That's especially true if you ever find yourself getting angry about any of the petty things listed below.
Here are five things you no longer get to be angry about as an adult.
#5. Teen Pop Singers
Make no mistake, there is definitely a time when hating the Justin Biebers and David Cassidys (ask your mom) of the world is perfectly acceptable. That time is when you're a young male in the 10- to 16-year-old range. That's when a man starts to take an interest in girls, which means he's moments away from finding out that most of those girls, in turn, have taken an interest in Justin Bieber (or their respective decade's equivalent). At that tender young age, Justin and his slick dance moves and somehow baggy yet also skinny jeans make him the ideal version of a man in the eyes of most of the chicks that young dudes are trying to get awkward with.
And in the eyes of men that young dudes should try to avoid.
Those gentlemen get to hate Bieber. They are fighting for territory on the same battlefield and he is beating every single one of them soundly. He is the enemy.
Once you've outgrown that awkward period in life, though, you are allowed approximately three more circumstances under which you can be angry at a teen pop sensation. Those are as follows:
1. You're a parent who's forced to listen to shitty music because kids don't know any better than to have awful taste in everything.
2. You work at an establishment (bar, restaurant, brothel) that plays background music you have no control over.
3. You are pretending to hate him for comedic purposes.
I can get behind the cause of every person who falls into one of the three categories above, but what about you, single guy in his late 20s to early 30s who works from home? Does Justin Bieber make you this angry?
I already made nice with Billie Joe Armstrong (I'm sure he's relieved) a few columns ago, so let's not dwell on that famous breakdown again. Instead, get a load of this guy:
He goes by the name "Angry Grandpa," because old people cursing is a shtick that never gets old enough to just fucking die already. If you listen to his tirade, especially starting at around the 0:46 mark, you'll note that he's not just making witty quips and observations about the various intricacies of the tween pop movement. Instead, he's being a profane, screaming bully who probably just cost himself six months of co-pays on a new blood pressure medication because, for some reason, at this late stage in life, the mere existence of Justin Bieber on the music scene is enough to send this old man into irrational fits of anger.
Don't be Angry Grandpa. The parents of Bieber fans take comfort in knowing that their kids won't just outgrow Justin Bieber, but will grow into being as disinterested in his brand of bullshit as anyone else. Comics and Internet writers see Justin Bieber like they see Kim Kardashian or any sitting president or especially Steven Seagal -- as a limited-time-only target for jokes that, ultimately, have no ill intent behind them.
Well, there probably won't ever be a time when we give up on making fun of Seagal, but you get it. Making fun of Justin Bieber is all fine and well, but if he legitimately makes you angry, you have way bigger problems than awful music.
#4. The Outcome of Awards Shows
If you sequestered every single music journalist and music fan into one massive room with the goal of not leaving until you'd found 10 who would admit to honestly believing that awards shows matter for anything, you would probably die in that room. For "real" music lovers, suggesting that the Grammy Awards have any relevance to modern music is like admitting that autotune did produce a few kind of awesome songs. Maybe it's true, but damn if you'll find many people who agree with you.
So why do we continue to complain when, say, a band like Arcade Fire wins the album of the year award? Remember all of the controversy surrounding that decision?
It led to accordion sales skyrocketing to seven that year.
People were irate, but again, we're talking about a meaningless prize that matters to no one, right? Well, tell that to Steve Stoute, formerly known as the guy Puff Daddy beat with a champagne bottle but now known as the guy who took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to protest Arcade Fire's unexpected win. In that letter, he gives life to every single complaint you've ever had about the Grammy Awards by arguing that, based on record sales, Justin Bieber deserved a best new artist nomination, and Eminem is the Bob Dylan of his generation and at the very least deserved to win that Grammy over Arcade Fire. Because, again, he just sold so many more records than everyone else.
And what does this have to do with your right to be angry about awards shows? The answer to that can be found in the official Grammy response to Steve Stoute's New York Times ad. Rather than defend their decision, they too saw the album of the year award not going to the person who sold the most records as a fatal flaw in the system that could only be repaired by way of the broadest set of rule changes in the history of the awards.
"In time we hope the industry can forgive us for forgetting about what truly matters ... unmitigated greed."
So there you have it. Unless the album you were pulling for also happened to sell the most copies, you don't get to be angry when it doesn't win a Grammy. Rules are rules.
#3. The Outcome of Sporting Events
True story: I was visiting a state on the West Coast that I'd never been to. For privacy's sake, let's call it "Boregon." I was there on vacation with a friend who was also visiting this place for the first time. We had flown out together to meet her brother. In terms of entertainment, he was our only option. If he had not made plans to sport us around town that night, we would be scrambling to find a way to not spend a "relaxing" vacation night sitting in a motel room on the outskirts of fucking Niketown.
If they catch you alone after dark, Nike's legally allowed to keep you as child labor, regardless of your actual age.
As "luck" would have it, our visit coincided with the NBA playoffs, and our host was a Lakers fan. Like, too much of a Lakers fan. The kind of fan who could probably be persuaded to flip a car with eight of his newest friends following a championship win.
The Lakers were playing the Spurs that night, so our plans started with meeting in the hotel room to power drink on the cheap and watch basketball. Things got awful right away with the Lakers losing for most of the game, falling behind by 25 at one point. And that's when the worst possible thing happened. The Lakers almost came back.
If they'd just kept losing, we probably could have turned the game off early and gone to dinner. But with Super Fan possibly witnessing his team pulling off one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history, all plans were on hold. With each point the Lakers chipped away from the Spurs' lead, the atmosphere in the room became electric for our host and borderline hostage-like for everyone else. I'm not a Lakers fan, and it's my nature to make fun, but I'd have been as likely to make a Kobe rape joke in that room at that moment as I would be to make a Kobe rape joke at a women's shelter. So a strong maybe at best, which is nowhere near the level of confidence at which I normally operate.
Unlike Kobe, some of us know to pass when the time calls for it.
When the Lakers' comeback efforts finally fell short with a missed three-pointer at the buzzer, I knew my night was effectively done. No more than 30 seconds after the game had ended, our host informed us that he would call us tomorrow and stormed out of the room. He did not return or even answer his phone for days, leaving us to just kind of figure out a new city on our own while he sulked about a basketball game. Good trip.
Listen, I understand that sports are an emotional thing. I'm passionate about the Chicago Bears, to the point that I refuse to watch important games in the company of more than a few people. But if I punched a wall or drove my car 65 in a 30 every time they lost, I'd have died of a stroke by the age of 21. We watch the teams; we aren't on the teams. Leave the overaggressive reactions to the people who get paid to take the steroids.
Oh, and it should go without saying, if you're crying about a loss ...
... you damn well better be on the team. For everyone else, it's just a game. Treat the situation accordingly.