Okay, parents, could we come to some sort of consensus about what we expect from our children? Do you want to your children spending their childhood learning to be little adults or do you want them spending kid time being a kid? I know that the age of 21 constitutes an “adult,” but have you seen the brand of “adults” we’ve been churning out lately?
I thought of this recently as I watched the steady stream of former Lehman Brothers employees filing out of their office and realized I had socks older than most of them. These were the people running the financial future of the country? No wonder the economy tanked. I have houseplants with more wisdom than your average 28-year-old.
I was hoping stodgy old men or maybe some nerdy, conservative types were keeping things running over on Wall Street. But instead it turns out all the buying and selling was being done by people only a few years older than my own kids – who can’t seem to make the connection between frequenting iTunes and running out of gas money before their next paycheck.
Is it that all the grownups took early retirement? That seems to be the goal, I understand: to retire young. If we are going to persist in this early retirement thing, though, we’re going to have to be a little more vigilant in preparing future generations to take over early. Either that, or just don’t let me know about it.
I offer the following conversation (sort of) with a dental hygienist – we’ll call her Amber…or Tiffany…or Britney…whateverrrr:
Amber: Dude! Great brushing job!
Amber: Yah! (This was sort of a swallowed gurgle that I can’t recreate without choking.)
Amber: You have awesome teeth for someone your age!
Let me digress. I’m sick of the word “awesome.” And what the hell does she mean “for someone your age?”
Me: Thanks. They cost a lot.
Amber: (smirking) They’re not fake.
Me: I mean the orthodontia.
Amber: Wow! You must have had the first braces ever!
Me: Did you call me ‘Dude‘?
Okay, I didn’t really say that last line. But did she miss the day in hygienist school they discussed professionalism or ways to instill confidence when you’re going to being sticking your hand in a person’s mouth, or just plain, old “How to Not Talk Like a Dimwit While You’re Gouging the Gum Flesh Of Your Patient”?
When I think back on the adults I knew growing up, they seemed older. They certainly seemed to have a better handle on things. The only adult I knew who still lived at home with his parents was my cousin Bruce who had indulged in one too many acid trips.
You know whose sagely wisdom I really miss? The Lingerie Lady.
If you are over 50, you remember the Lingerie Lady because you had to endure the embarrassment of being measured for your first bra by her. But she came to be your friend, particularly those of us who really needed a bra. You could go to the lingerie department of any big store and the Lingerie Lady would be there, grandmotherly and discreet, with her half-frame glasses and tape measure around her neck.
The thing is, you could see the Lingerie Lady knew bras from first-hand experience and, unlike today, would never suggest anything but a virginal, functional white underwire for an underage Catholic girl shopping with her mother, but would sneak in a beige lacey number when she was alone. She always knew not to deliver anything but engineering marvels of complicated structural soundness to my dressing room and, if I listened to her advice, I could drop an entire size in one afternoon.
You don’t get Lingerie Ladies anymore. Only anorexic-looking, flat-chested drones who are only there for the employee discount. Ask them if they have a specific style in stock and they will look exactly where you just finished looking and tell you, “I guess not.”
Heir 1 recently interviewed for a security job checking in trucks at a plant. The interviewer asked what he would do if he saw someone outside taking a sledgehammer to one of the trucks. Later Heir 1 found out most of the guys interviewed said they’d run out, take the guy on and prevent the destruction, one pinhead actually citing his success with a boxing program on his Wii as “fight training.”
Heir 1, by the way, said he’d call the police. He figured the company had insurance on the truck and he’d sue them for a whole lot more since he’d probably get the snot beat out of him for taking on the guy with a sledgehammer armed with only a flashlight and a paperback.
He got the job.