GrowingUp


"I am about as strategic as a strand of overcooked spaghetti …"

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever grow up. I've been growing for a very long time without really feeling as if I'm anywhere close to up. I'm still a kid at heart and not yet really much of a part of the grown up world, which continues to mostly mystify me. I prefer the company of small children, those still mastering the language but not yet outgrowing absurdity. I like to puzzle through the world with those who presume that I might know better, then demonstrate that I probably don't, and that they probably do. I tend to appear a fool around them, which suits me fine. I think I might hold the responsibility to never overshadow kids, to let them run the world we share. I don't really have much faith in grown-ups.

I know, kids grow up fast, though I didn't.
I didn't, as was so often said of the Boomer generation, extend my adolescence into near infinity because I never quite achieved adolescence. I remained a child at heart if not of body. I could sometimes pass as an adult, like securing a driver's license, marriage license, mortgage, and career. The examiners never really suspected that I was still a kid, but I knew. Maybe my maturity was inhibited when my mom refused to let me join the Boy Scouts. "You'll just learn to smoke and cuss," she insisted. I learned to smoke, anyway, but still can't unselfconsciously cuss. The Army designated me a Conscientious Objector, so I was never subjected to boot camp training. By the time I managed to catch up to university, I was no longer college-aged and passed as a responsible, probably an overly-responsible, adult, the way anyone deeply invested in playing an alien role might, because I was still a kid inside. I used to get in BIG trouble for jumping on the bed and winding up the little ones before bedtime once my own kids came along.

I never could muster much interest in adult activities. I still can't play cards worth a darn. Betting remains beyond my comprehension, deal-making, too. I cannot walk into a tavern or barroom without feeling as though I might get tossed out for being underage. Competition still seems like a conspiracy to lower everyone's satisfaction. I always want the other guy to win. I can't quite figure out how to be wary all the time, or suspicious. I think the best of strangers without even thinking about it. I never gave a damn about money and still can't quite comprehend it. I mostly deal with wanting by figuring out how to do without, a superpower my parents taught me before I recognized that I was learning anything. Though I was a supervisor for a time, I never mastered lording over others. I am about as strategic as a string of overcooked spaghetti and can't quite manage to be conniving. I despise freeways, guns, and pretension.

I maintain my share of secrets, like every decent kid does. I live a largely secret life overflowing with fantastic suppositions. I don't know how most things work and consider most conventions and inventions to be either abominations or marvels. I like cats and secretly fear all dogs, but only because I can't read 'em and they can't read me. I never figured out how to get ahead and finally gave up on the notion as too complicated. I've filed many ideas away as being too complicated for me to comprehend. I figure the big boys and girls can cover the complicated bases. I love creating things, especially silly things, just like all kids do, and I can be quick with the corny jokes. I sometimes think that I haven't taken this growing up business nearly serious enough but I mostly wonder if I'll ever really grow up and what that might actually mean.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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