Adulthood: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

When you’re a kid you can’t wait to be an adult so you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, no matter what anyone else says. Through a child’s eyes, adulthood looks like a magical world of freedoms, the likes of which they can only dream … drinking milk straight from the carton, bringing a jacket when it is cold and not because it might get cold and the end of being dragged to places and events when you’d rather be just about anywhere else.

Drinking anything from the carton, or bottle, or bottle concealed in a paper bag, and never getting yelled at for losing a jacket you didn’t need and wouldn’t have forgotten if you hadn’t been forced to bring it in the first place, are indeed a couple of the sweet perks that come along with being responsible for making your own decisions.

I doubt there are any children reading my blog; but in the interest of erring on the side of caution, if you’re a youngster and you’re reading this, you’re obviously wise beyond your years, have a fantastic sense of humor and impeccable taste. And because you remind me so much of myself, I’m giving you a heads-up (what you kids would call a “spoiler alert”) that if you continue reading this post, you may learn some truths about adulthood that you’ll wish you didn’t know.

Then again, if you’re a kid and you’re allowed to read my blog, you likely have no illusions about adults and adulthood and nothing I might say can fuck you up any more than your parents probably already have. So welcome, little fan! Read on …

One of the hard truths about adulthood is that any freedom you get generally comes with a buttload of responsibility. You want to drink your milk from the carton? First, you need to buy that milk; and unless you plan on chugging it all on the way home from the market, you’ll need a refrigerator to keep it in. Guess what … refrigerators aren’t free. You need to buy that, too. Also, don’t forget about a house or apartment to put the refrigerator in. How did you get to the grocery store and back? Did you drive? How much are your car payments? What about insurance? And have you seen gas prices lately? You’re gonna need a damn good job to finance your alternative milk-drinking lifestyle.

Fortunately, as one approaches adulthood, other benefits become apparent that make beverage chugging and jacket shunning seem insignificant: the ability to get married and the opportunity to serve on jury duty.

Bwahahaha! I’m just kidding!

Those are actually the two items that top the list of things adults would like to avoid; and failing that, that they try to get out of. The best benefits of reaching adulthood are, of course, booze and sex. They go great together and enough of the first one can even make marriage and jury duty seem less awful. And yes, I’m aware that one can engage in sex long before reaching adulthood. The difference is that young people often have sex in the car because it’s their only option. Adults typically have more options; so when they have sex in a car, it’s probably because one or both of them believe the best advice about love and sex includes the word “naughty” and comes from a fashion or lifestyle magazine.  Also, adults don’t worry about being quiet — unless or until they have kids, that is. Which would explain why having kids is number three on the “things to avoid or get out of” list.

Sadly, one of the most anticipated adult abilities doesn’t completely happen and can be tough use: not going places one doesn’t wish to be, and not doing things one doesn’t want to do. As an adult, no one can tell you that you must go somewhere … other than prison, I suppose. However, most adults develop a sense of guilt and/or obligation that supersedes the desire to stay home or do something fun.

0069 bored-flower-girlFor instance, as a kid most people have been forced to attend a wedding or two. Unsurprisingly, spending a Saturday attending a church service before going to a party where promises of serious and frightening repercussions for misbehavior are made, and watching mom and dad get drunk and act like idiots, isn’t something most children look forward to. But what the terminally bored kid doesn’t know is that a percentage of the adults don’t want to be there, either. And in that group, are those who the bride and/or groom didn’t really care about inviting.

For whatever reason, the bride/groom felt obligated to invite certain guests; and because they were invited, the guests feel obligated to attend. This scenario plays out in countless weddings each year and it could easily end if people could shake the curse of obligation. When my nephew was asked if he wanted to go to the birthday party of a little boy in his kindergarten class (who was standing right there), my nephew replied, “No thank you. I don’t really like him very much.”

While most adults would be uncomfortable with that level of brute honesty, there are things a person can say in an effort to avoid being invited to the next shindig. Using three events that rank high on the obligatory-attendance scale, I’ve provided some statements and questions that are very effective in increasing the chance of invitation exclusion.

Baby Shower

To the mom-to-be:
– “So you’ve decided to keep it then?”
– “Is husband/boyfriend the father?”
– “I bet you’re keeping your fingers crossed that the baby gets its looks from father’s name.”

To other guests:
– “I think it’s amazing how two single cells can join together and split, divide and multiply into the billions and billions of cells that make up something as complex as a human being. And if just one tiny thing goes wrong during that whole process, the the baby ends up with three eyes or an undeveloped twin growing out of its head or something.” (This can also be used as a toast or included in memory book.)
– “Baby showers always make me sad because I think about all the abandoned kids and orphans in the world, just waiting and hoping to be adopted. Having a baby is basically the human equivalent to getting a puppy from a pet store instead of the pound.”

Family Gatherings

To an elderly relative: “Oh My God! You’re here! I thought you died years ago.”
To a relative’s new-ish girlfriend: “I thought his first wife was good-looking, but you’re so much prettier.”
To a relative who’d likely come from the blow up pool: “It’s not hard to guess which relatives swam laps in the good-gene pool and which ones just splashed around in a leaky blowup pool in the front yard …”
To a recently married couple: “You’re still together? Great. There goes my chance of winning the “Days ’til Divorce” pool …
To any well-off relatives: “Has anyone made me the beneficiary of their life insurance or put me in their will? I’d probably never kill someone just for money, I’m just curious”

Wedding & Reception

To the signifigant-other of a relative who’s never been married, or has only been married to the person you’re talking to: “I bet if S.O. had a wedding like this, he/she would still be with his/her first husband/wife.”
To the sad-sacks and losers at your table: “Don’t you hate getting stuck at the table with the sad-sacks and losers?”
To any guest: “What number did you bet on for the Days ’til Divorce pool?”
To a group of guests at the reception: “Who else only showed up today for the open bar?”
To any guest, but preferably one the bride is close to: “What is it about married men that makes them so appealing? Seriously, if a guy wants me to date him, the best thing for him to do is marry someone else.”

Nothing is perfect and this method won’t work 100% percent of the time, but the more you use it, the more likely you are to get black-balled from future guests lists. And even when your efforts prove unsuccessful, you’ve still made the soiree more interesting and given the other guests something to talk about.

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