In my day, we didn’t have some fancy smart phone to tell us what day it was — we had calendars. Made out of paper! With dates printed on the pages. The greater the number of calendars one had scribbled upon and discarded, the more one was thought to be ‘mature.’
But a calendar implies maturity like a “best before” date implies that a package of Strawberry Pop Tarts was ever good to begin with. That’s because calendars lie. Just like statistics. Or anyone who has ever responded to their dental hygienist by stating, “Yes, I floss after every meal.”
In spite of having personally discarded so many calendars that the local land fill was renamed in my honor, I never felt all that mature. Even though it takes me 17 minutes to scroll down through one of those new-fangled pop-up date fields when entering my birth year in an online form — I’m still not ready to give up giggling as a pastime. Besides, I’m a grown man who plays with synthesizers for a living. It’s fun, yes. But high school kids can bag french fries for more money than I make. And if you don’t think income and maturity have anything to do with one another, you’re probably not tuned-in to dating euphemisms, in which “mature” is a code word for “rich.”
So I simply came to accept “man child” as further proof of my Girlfriend Theorem calculations, and got on with the business of giggling at the wheezing, bubbling, alien burping sounds that I program into my synthesizers.
But one day, with no warning and without premonition, it happened — that one singular instant when a steel girder whacks you on the side of the head, knocking you clear across the divide and into maturity.
For me, that girder arrived in the form of a pineapple.
I’d returned from a trip to the grocery store and had just unloaded two bags full of blueberries, oranges, avocados, tomatoes, bok choy, broccolini, and other assorted fruits and vegetables — one of which was the pineapple now yielding to the ferocity of my knife.
And it dawned on me. There wasn’t a single processed food item in those bags. When did this happen? When did going to the grocery store not mean coming home with a couple sacks filled with frozen pizza, Hot Pockets, Stouffer’s lasagna, a baguette, pasta, runny cheese, Cheetos, chocolate chip cookies and a pint of ice cream?
I got… what’s the word for it?… Old!
Now this isn’t exactly new news. The mirrors in my home have been telling me this for years, and mirrors (unlike calendars) don’t lie. But the mirrors only tell you that you’re old on the outside. Those two sacks of groceries? They told me I was old on the inside.
I wasn’t quite sure what to think of the fact I’d now crossed the threshold to maturity. So I did what any mature man would do. I slumped into the sofa, grabbed the remote control, and surfed around until I found an old episode of “Murder, She Wrote” on the television.
Some time during the fifth commercial break for pharmaceuticals (“Ask your doctor about JOYarex™”), I started to feel a bit depressed about this whole maturity bag. All those ads — showing all those happy seniors walking arm-in-arm on a deserted beach at sunset — offered a far more enticing vision of maturity than sitting alone on the couch watching television. “Hey Siri,” I said to an iPhone so outdated that only a geezer could own it, “remind me to ask my doctor about JOYarex.”
By the seventh commercial break for pharmaceuticals (“side effects of YOUTHenasia™ may include misinterpretation of your intentions”), I decided to hunt for the bright side of this maturity issue. And while I didn’t manage to find an entire bright side, I was able to locate a few tiny patches of filtered light. So I’ve decided to embrace whatever speckles of sunlight exist, and incorporate them into my new mature lifestyle. I figured it would be preferable to succumbing to the allure of a YOUTHenasia prescription and its worrisome side effects.
So here are a few maturity-related lifestyle changes I’ve decided to adopt in an effort to act my age:
First, I will now refer to anyone under the age of 40 as a “whippersnapper.” Never mind that I don’t have any idea what this means — it just sounds mature. So I figure tossing the term around like a football at a backyard bar-b-que is bound to secure me the respect and admiration someone of my maturity deserves.
Second, any future “girlfriend” will now be referred to as “my lover.” Why tiptoe around semantics when the smile on my face will make it clearly evident what’s really going on. Introducing a woman as “my lover” paints me as both mature and suave.
Third, from here on out, I will spitefully reject any new technology, trend or methodology. “What’s that a drone? If I need to photograph from a high angle, I’ll carry a ladder, the way nature intended!”
And finally, because youth always appreciates hearing about the hardships endured by their elders, every article I write will now begin with the words, “In my day…”
©2018 grEGORy simpson
ABOUT THE PHOTOS:
“DNA” is the sort of photo that the immature version of me would have taken. I have yet to reconcile the fact I took this photo after my incident with the pineapple.
“Commuter 1” and “Commuter 2” clearly depict people who haven’t yet had their pineapple incidents. Then again, if I thought I could ride a skateboard down the middle of the street without a significantly elevated likelihood of death, I would probably do so.
Which makes me think… Maybe it takes more than a couple of bags full of produce to cross the maturity threshold? Perhaps it’s not even a threshold at all? Maybe it’s just the first sign of a process? That would be good — ’cause I’m really not ready to give up giggling yet.
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