I'll never know why I suddenly started seeing teenagers as angry, restless, violent people with crazy hormones they couldn't process or manage. I mean, that's what they are, but that never used to terrify me. Until I got older, that is.
Defiantly Eating Something Ridiculous for Dinner
The "defiance" here is very important. Eating something absurd for dinner (or any meal) is an action that can happen at any age; it's the intention that makes the difference. In high school, I would eat a meal that consisted entirely of french fries because I was an idiot. In college, I would eat a meal that consisted of Top Ramen noodles and steak sauce because I was poor. Last week, I ate a meal that consisted of bacon-wrapped buffalo shrimp and candy bars because I am a goddamned adult. If I make some terrible meal of junk food, it's not because I'm out of options, or money, and it's not because I don't understand anything about nutrition. It's because I decided that I wanted it, and no one in Dan O'Brien's America would ever think about stopping me.
Above: Dan O'Brien's America.
Getting older and stumbling into adulthood isn't just about responsibilities and maintaining your precious sleep schedule; it's also about doing whatever the hell you want (assuming "whatever the hell you want to do" isn't "abandon my family and murder all the people"). Sometimes I just take fun trips on a whim with my friends, because we all have jobs that pay us real money, and that's literally the only thing you need to rent a cabin for a weekend, or go skiing, or head to Vegas. I'm getting a dog soon because I looked around my apartment and was like "No dog? That's stupid." If I want to spend a Saturday sitting on my computer in my underwear, I probably wouldn't do that, but only because I already did that on Wednesday because my grown-up job lets me work from home if I want. I prefer crunchy peanut butter, but we always had smooth in my house growing up because I was in the minority in my preference, and the O'Brien household is nothing if not utilitarian in our grocery shopping. I'm the only one who does the grocery shopping for me now, so not only do I have crunchy peanut butter, but every single thing in my kitchen is a piece of food that I love. Wrap your heads around that, teenagers. Drink it in. I open up my refrigerator and I never lose. I had corndogs for breakfast, Cheez-its for dinner, and fuck you for lunch.
And if anyone sees me doing this, because I am an adult who pays his own bills, they legally have to just nod and say, "Yeah, that's Dan, he's doing his thing, that's fine. In the eyes of the law, he can vote and rent a car and be tried as an adult, so I'm forced to assume he's got his shit together. Why would I stop him? I got my own thing going on, we're all cool here."
Adulting is so rad.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's Senior Writer (ladies), and his stock portfolio is yielding sweeping dividends (ladies born before 1985).
For more from Dan, check out If The 'Space Invaders' Movie is Faithful to the Game and The First Talking Sex Robot: A (Terrified) User Review.