"We are the people,
our parents warned us about..."
Being the youngest of four children meant wherever I went as a kid, I was usually the youngest one there. My parents never had the challenge of managing a barrel of monkeys like the folks I see at the grocery store (with 3 kids, 2 buggies and a boatload of headaches.) When our family went somewhere it was me and a bunch of grown folks. It never occurred to me to act like a fool because nobody I was with was ever acting like a fool. I had several templates to choose from when learning to be an adult. Problem is, I'm now 46 years old and still trying to figure it out. I don't FEEL grown. I probably don't SEEM grown. I've been domesticated by a lovely woman who probably wonders if she's bitten off more than she can chew. But I'm not playing the part of "adult" as well as the grown folks I grew up around and certainly not as well as the ones (especially the men) who raised me.
I once had an older, semi-retired coworker who made a clear point with me in the course of conversation. He got most exasperated and said "Thank Christ your generation didn't have to fight World War II!! We'd all be speaking German!!!!!!" It's not our fault we've got "the greatest generation" to live up to. Current events dictate heroic responses. The enemy was clear in 1939 and then certainly became more clear in 1941. Here in 2010 our enemies aren't quite so obvious. The enemy is sometimes wearing a designer suit with a red, white and blue flag pin on his lapel. The enemy is sometimes sitting in his basement and is one keystroke on a laptop away from hacking into our personal lives, our checking accounts or even our national security. The enemy looks like the rest of us but is a step away from hijacking a plane, planting a bomb or releasing some toxins into an air conditioning vent. Hell, I reckon sometimes we're our own worst enemy. So forgive us if we haven't assembled the Calvary and charged where angels fear to tread. We're not sure where to charge!
It was 70-something degrees yesterday. So I opened the windows, shook up a cocktail, threw supper on the grill and blasted "Physical Graffiti" from the living room onto the patio. I chuckled because the thought occurred to me that I hadn't come from very far from being 21 years old - sitting in the sun, getting baked and listening to Zeppelin (though, when I was 21 "getting baked" carried a much different connotation..now it just means I need some sunblock!) My wife reminded me that I'm always the one complaining about kids in the neighborhood and their loud music. I made it quite clear that there was, in fact, a distinct difference because I was listening to GOOD music.
I'm rambling, but here's my point. I'm having a helluva time making the real ME catch up to the chronological ME. I used to find great amusement in laughing at someone who was (what I considered at the time) OLD but still wearing the same outfit they'd worn to Woodstock. Now I'm fairly certain that someday I'll be that same character...wearing a worn out Buffett t-shirt and a ratty old pair of flip flops, in dire need of cutting whatever hair I have left, my cane in one hand, a martini in the other. And some young soul will laugh at me, certain that they're never going to reach a point in life where they'll be that ridiculous.