Having kids can make you rethink childhood, filling your world with new toys and cartoons while bringing up long-forgotten memories about how it felt to be a kid.
But lately, I’ve been reassessing adulthood too. Maybe it’s because kid society sets up an obvious parallel, or maybe my mind just tends to wander after hearing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song for the forty-millionth time.
At any rate, after thinking long and hard about the adult lifestyle, I’ve decided it’s completely crap. Even beyond all the bills, long working hours, and slower recovery times:
No more magic
I can distinctly remember thinking, as a young child, that my pets were holding out on me because they could probably talk if they wanted to. I was also convinced that becoming a fairytale princess who lived in a magical castle was a viable career track.
Why not? These things happened on TV and in movies all the time. It’s kind of like adults thinking they’ve actually gained useful medical knowledge after watching enough episodes of House or Grey’s Anatomy.
Eventually though, you grow up and learn that animals will never ever have long conversations with you, won’t help you clean up or sew costumes, and don’t wear cute little outfits in their adorable secret treehouses.
Plus, these so-called “magicians” are just con men with impressive slight-of-hand abilities.
These revelations could explain why the Harry Potter series is so popular among adults. We just can’t accept never being able to turn invisible or fly.
2. And you’re not even allowed to pretend
Sure, it’s “adorable” when little kids build Lego castles and play with Star Wars figures, but adults doing the exact same things are suddenly “socially-retarded dorks.”
Everyone loves it when kids put on costumes and start role-playing, yet Cosplay and SCAA aficionados are considered deranged the minute they put down the coffee and stop discussing interest rates. Cause why would any rational person prefer superpowers to some hardcore monotonous number crunching?
3. It’s harder to make friends
Making friends as an adult is a tedious balancing act. Everyone’s so suspicious of strangers now that you find yourself always trying to be friendly without coming off needy, original without seeming crazy, or ethical without looking like a butt-clenched Puritan.
It’s a fine tightrope to walk and the constant class-pegging scrutiny only complicates matters. You could be talking about the weather, for example, but deep down you know everyone’s silently judging the clothes you’re wearing, the car you drive and the line of work you’re in.
Oh, you drive a Prius? Must be a quasi-Socialist tree-hugger.
An SUV? Possibly a holier-than-thou Soccer Mom. Check for highlights.
A truck? Clearly a gun-toting redneck that can point out inconsistencies in the whole “moon-landing” hoax.
My four-year-old’s friend-making process is soooooo much simpler. It goes something like this:
My daughter runs up to some kid wearing a My Little Pony shirt and yells, “YOU LIKE PINKIE PIE? I LIKE PINKIE PIE! WANNA BE BEST FRIENDS?”
And then, realizing they “get” each other, they walk off holding hands.
4. You take care of more than your appearance
When you’re a little kid, mastering basic grooming standards is pretty simple:
Hair brushed? Check!
Skirt/shirt not glaringly tucked into my underwear? Check!
Shoes match? Check!
And you’re good.
When you’re a teenager, things get a little tougher. By then, you also have to worry about your clothes being reasonably stylish and the current state of your acne outbreak, but you’re still mostly focused on your own body being sufficiently groomed.
Once you hit adulthood, though, grooming your body gets much harder. Your metabolism is plummeting and you have less time to play outside.
Clothing standards get more formal too. Now you’ve got to shell out for work attire and event wear.
But that’s not all, the whole concept of your appearance expands in scope.
Now you have to have nice furniture and dishes and entertainment systems and office supplies. And you have to keep it all clean, so your guests don’t think you’re some kind of degenerate with ketchup stains on your shirt and dried-out pizza crusts under your couch cushions.
If you rent an apartment, you feel like you should be trying to buy a house.
And once you live in a house, you’ve got to worry about keeping the plumbing, the exterior paint job, and your roof intact.
But that’s not all. Now you also have “landscaping”responsibilities. You need to make sure your patio furniture is cute enough and have long, boring discussions about building retaining walls.
You’ve got to get your lawn mowed, your hedges trimmed, your pests controlled, your fences intact, and your rain gutters cleaned before your neighbors, and possibly the homeowner’s association, come after you.
It’s not just your body anymore. You have to manage an entire ecosystem.
5. It’s harder to impress people
No one ever claps for me when I pee in the toilet anymore, at least not without sarcasm. No one ever compliments me on finishing an entire meal without getting it all over the table.
And no one ever predicts a wildly successful career because of some basic proficiency I just demonstrated: Holy crap, did you just REPLACE A LIGHTBULB? Folks, we have the next electrical engineer on our hands!
No, for that much social approval, adults have to win a Nobel Peace prize or something.
6. You can’t get away with much
Adults who get caught painting on walls are fined or jailed. No one praises their creativity or need for artistic expression.
No one ever thinks adults who binge on chocolate while watching cartoons are adorable. Suddenly, it’s all “asking for diabetes” and “heart attack waiting to happen”city.
Likewise, if I, say, flipped some guy’s shirt up at Safeway, people wouldn’t chuckle while saying I was just being curious. Maybe I WAS being curious… is that so hard to understand?
Adults are MEAN.
7. And you can’t freely express yourself
Say you’re having a really stressful day and after filling up your shopping cart and waiting in a super-long line at Costco, the cashier hands your card back and says, “I’m sorry Ma’am (or ‘Sir’), your card has been declined.”
Imagine if you could just chuck your purse (or wallet) at the nearest wall, throw your head back and scream “NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!” before dropping on the floor and rolling around, kicking your legs and punching anything in the vicinity.
Or say if your spouse suggested seeing a really dumb movie, you could scream “NO, THAT’S STUPID!’ in response before running in circles to express your irritation.
Or pretend your boss asks you to stay late at work on Friday evening to finish a boring project and you start shouting “I DON’T WANT TO I DON’T WANT TO” while dropping your files and running straight out of the building.
Okay, maybe allowing that sort of behavior would get pretty inconvenient after the initial thrill, but it could start wearing down the crushing stockpiles of frustrated anger most adults are carting around wherever they go.
Maybe there’d eventually be less misdirected anger haphazardly zig-zagging across adult society as we lumber through our daily routines.
Just think: no one awkwardly positioning their shopping carts in the middle of aisles when you obviously want to get by. No one tailgating the crap out of you when there’s clearly another car right in front of you or speeding up the moment you flip your blinker on then moving into your lane anyway.
Passive-aggressive episodes like these could be a thing of the past, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.
In short, I’ve decided this whole adulting thing is not all it’s cracked up to be. Now excuse me while I make some popcorn and go read zombie comic books for a while.