4 Ridiculous Things No One Tells You About Being an Adult
When you're a kid, it seems like everything awesome in life is going to happen as soon as you're an adult. Are you materialistic? As an adult you can start making money. Are you civic-minded? You can vote. Do you want to drown the memories of your terrible childhood? You can drink. Do you want to make money, but in a faster, slightly more dishonest way? You can gamble, or buy a gun. You can also look at boobies or, if you're a lady, you can have them all to yourself. Yes, being an adult is awesome.
Thing is, once you reach adulthood, there's a pantsload of shit waiting for you that no one prepared you for. And it's not stuff like jury duty and taxes, it's stupid shit no one saw coming. Like this!
Children take food for granted. Except those hungry kids in commercials late at night who need your money. But you, as a kid, probably took food for granted. You probably never knew the horror your parents experienced every single time they went grocery shopping. But you'll know it once you start buying your own groceries.
From the outside, grocery shopping appears to be triumphantly mundane. You go to a store, put the food you want in a cart, buy it and go home. But God, when you're there in person doing it, it's so much worse.
You walk into the store and the first thing you're going to see is produce. Why? Because. Maybe it's because produce looks fresh and inviting and the produce section is mostly open and it eases you into the experience. It also leaves you putting soft, squishy things like tomatoes and bananas into your cart before anything else, so you're constantly looking to arrange everything so they don't get squished.
Do you want to buy milk, eggs, butter and bread? Of course you do, those are the basic staples of grocery shopping. They're on the far side of the store, so you have to walk past everything else to get them. And that would be cool if you were the one person in the store. But you aren't, are you? No. No you're not.
Inevitably, every time you go grocery shopping, 80 percent of the other shoppers will be the vanguard of an elite squad of shopping morons, trained in secret to not have a goddamn clue about anything and probably unable to find their own assholes with a road map and two Sherpa guides. They will stop in the middle of aisles, they'll take the last one of whatever it is you went to the store to get, and once they get to the checkout, they will decide they don't want half of what they picked up, and they'll debate the pricing of whatever they bought based on a flier that clearly states they're more wrong than a Ron Paul supporter.
Everyone else grocery shopping is there only to buy groceries as a secondary goal. Their primary goal, despite how little sense it makes, is just to piss you off. Every week. Every single week.
If you were a child ensconced to a greater or lesser degree in some kind of sociopathy, then adults meant nothing to you and you probably set fires or watched innocent people die in accidents with a detached indifference and a nearly imperceptible look in your eye that said "Yes, I'm going to put on this William Shatner mask and slaughter anyone who has ever eaten Activia yogurt." To every other kid, adults were imposing figures of authority, especially those elevated adults in the roles of teachers, police, shopkeepers, bus drivers and the scary old ladies who constantly swept their own driveways as though no one had ever had the decency to tell them that the outside is where dirt comes from and thus they will never clean it off because they are, in fact, outside.
Once you grow up, you are welcomed into that world of imposing adult authority figures, but the thing is, you don't get a memo. So there will be a day, as a full-grown, in-control-of-your-own-sexual-urges, eating-vegetables-without-being-told adult, when you speak to a teacher and find yourself deferring to them and asking permission for things like some kind of epic wank job of a person.
You're conditioned from childhood to respect elders, listen to your teachers, do as people in authority tell you, because they know better than your empty, worthless child's brain does, and then the day comes when you're one of those old people and you're not even aware that the illusion of authority that these people have is still pushing you around. You know for a fact, as an adult, that a school principal is one missed paycheck away from scouring the gutters in his discount suit, trying to eat homeless people's faces, so what authority does he have? Not a lick. Sure, you can still respect him if you have to deal with him, but if he takes a phone call in the middle of talking to you, it's not only OK, it's expected of you that you'll piss on his desk. If he tries to protest, you raise a finger to silence him until you're done, and you make sure he expresses sincere thanks for your effort or you just walk right out. Right out.
Some of us are predisposed to not bending over once we're older, but some of us get stuck in patterns -- thankless fast food or chain store jobs where our shitty bosses take the place of shitty teachers, and we never really develop that spine we should have as equals because we're still treated like children. So, as a favor to me, if you work a throwaway, bullshit job for a douchebag boss who doesn't respect you, the next time he's being a totally unreasonable dick, feel free to tell him you have a gift for him, then drop a deuce in his coffee mug. You'll have to be stealthy, as most people's first reaction is to immediately pull their mug away once you've depantsed and taken up a squat mount on their desk, but you'll figure something out. Make me proud.
The Wooderson Effect
That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age. That's a quote from Dazed and Confused. The character was David Wooderson, played by Matthew McConaughey the one time he decided to be in a decent movie. It exemplifies his kind of scumbag nature, and if you take the love part out, it's a terrifying reality that each of us faces. We keep getting older and those kids stay the same age.
We all know on a basic, logical level that we age and that 16-year-olds in general are always going to be 16-year-olds. But the older you get, the more you're going to lose touch with those kids. Or 18-year-olds. Or 21-year-olds. And you don't even need to be a pederast to feel the sting of still thinking, in your head, that you have something in common because you remember being 21 and then realizing when you foolishly try to make conversation with a teenager because you're both waiting for a bus together that you literally have nothing in common. That kid doesn't listen to the same music, watch the same shows or even use the same slang as you, you skeepy old bung shucker.
In your head you're the same person you always were, you're likeable enough, you're cool, you're picking up what everyone is putting down. To a high school kid, you're the out-of-touch sex crime that's going to get them on the news.
Only the most dreadfully serious among us, the kids with underbites and bowl haircuts who didn't have time to go to parties because they had to organize their chemistry notes according to covalent bonds, ever grow up to not think they relate to kids in some way. And sure, probably by the time we're in our 40s most of us will have been away from youth culture so long that when we see kids on hoverboards listening to technocountry on an MP9 audio-scrotal implant we'll just shake our heads and sweep our driveways some more, but through your 20s and into your 30s you're still so close to it that it's almost insulting when kids don't think you're cool, because fuck them, you were cool before they were born.
When I was a kid, every summer I would go camping with my parents out in the middle of Bumblefuck Nowhere, and we'd listen to the same CCR tape about a million times. It's not that my parents didn't have other music -- there was a pantsload of what is now known as classic rock, the most recent album of the bunch being AC/DC's Who Made Who (a gift from my older brother). And while now I can appreciate the musical talent of John Fogerty and the boys, as a kid I goddamn hated everyone who was looking out their back door down on the corner.
The thing I didn't realize until I was older, of course, was not that my parents had a fanatical obsession with old-ass music, or even that they had a fanatical obsession with making sure they made use of all five senses to ruin every camping trip we went on together and this was their auditory attack. It was that they were suffering the same temporal retardation I currently suffer from. The same one that is causing me to listen to Guns 'N Roses while I write this article. Seriously, Guns 'N Roses. Is Axl Rose even alive right now? You think he might be, but you don't know for sure because literally no one on earth gives a shit about Axl Rose anymore. He could be in a gutter right now with his tongue, swollen and black from Thunderbird, serving as nothing more than fertilizer for various mosses.
A sad fact of growing up is that you lose time. You work, you raise a family, you have to grunt and rock a little to get out of bed in the mornings, costing you precious seconds of life that, in your youth, you spent listening to cool new music. Well there's no time for cool new music when you have to put on a uniform and make copies of budget wedding invites for people at Staples 30 hours a week. So when you finally get around to buying a secondhand iPod mini, you fill that thing with music from CDs you bought in 1997.
The music that makes you think of fun and awesome times is all stuck in the past with your fun and awesome times. Worse yet, when you have fun and awesome times now, because being an adult didn't kill you or anything, you only play that same old music because that's what makes you think of fun times and that's why, when you're 90 having a party at your moon cabin, your grandkids are going to be quietly cursing out the Milli Vanilli album you put on.
For more of Dan's celebrity insight, check out 6 Fake Foods You (Will Wish You Didn't) Have in Your Kitchen and 7 Safety Products (for the Incredibly Paranoid).
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