The thing about growing up is no one is really sure what it should be like.
When I was younger, I thought that growing up was just something that happened to you. Somewhere along the lines, you learn how to be disciplined, you learn how to be happy while sharing your things, you learn how to be sociable, and you learn how to be productive and good.
Then there are the people who would say things like, “Growing up is when you learn to put someone else’s needs before yours” or “Growing up is when you learn how to take your responsibilities seriously”. The trouble with these things is that there are kids half or even a quarter of my age who can do these things better than I. I mean, I’m turning 23 this year, and I still have to be told to eat my greens, and I still willfully ignore my alarm clock and work deadlines.
I’m just this kid trapped in a young adult’s body.
Some time after I turned 20, I figured that if I’m the weird one who’s not naturally growing up, perhaps I could take some cues from the people around me who were. Here is what I have discovered grown-ups do:
1. They are politically correct, even if they’re lying
The public’s opinion is, by default, the correct opinion, and it’s this opinion that grown-ups repeat to one another, even if they disagree. As a result, the majority of grown-ups fuse together to become this collective consciousness of grown-up thoughts, such as:
“If someone bullies you, it’s because they’re hurting in the inside, and they want someone to hurt along with them.”
“You cannot call Jimmy stupid, even if he is being stupid. How would you like it if someone called you stupid?”
“Everyone is beautiful on the inside.”
“Everything is the government’s fault.”
More on the government thing later.
You know how it goes. Sometimes the lies aren’t verbal. Sometimes they’re embedded in their attitudes. When a grown-up sees someone they don’t like, they don’t turn around and walk the other direction really quickly. They smile, have a polite conversation, and make their leave. Gossiping about said person later is optional, but is points added for grown-up-ness.
The important thing is to maintain a politically correct stance.
2. They tell incredibly bad jokes
I’m not talking about plain, garden variety bad jokes. I’m talking about jokes so bad you actually need to force yourself to laugh, because it’s in accordance with being politically correct – you must laugh at jokes, even if they’re not funny.
Grown-ups don’t get wit. They need clues on whether you’re telling a joke or not, so dry humor is completely out of the question. So the idea is to tell the baldest, most awful joke you can think of.
Scenario: family reunion, upon hearing that a nephew/niece/young cousin got into sports
Sample response: “Make sure you hit the right ball and not the wrong one!” (uproarious laughter)
The uproarious later is the key. Remember, people need clues. Your laughter will indicate the punchline, and every other grown-up at the table will laugh with you.
If you’re on the receiving end, remember the rule about being politically correct. The proper response upon hearing a joke is, again, to laugh uproariously – no muffled chuckles, no giggles – you need a good, heart laugh, and bonus points if you hold your stomach while laughing.
3. They complain about the government
This is a hard-and-fast rule: if you support the government, you’re either not a grown-up, or you have shit for brains. Whenever the subject of the government comes up, the correct response is to sigh heavily, shake your head, and begin chewing out the government on their latest controversy, or failing that, their latest episode of inefficiency.
Whether it’s their failure to address the issue of the haze, or their inability to find a plane, or their complete failure at maintaining a constant flow of water to your houses – there’s always something to complain about, and no adult is proper grown-up until they can complain about the government.
Cuss words are optional, but again, they are bonus points for added grown-up-ness.
And there you have it. As for me, I’ll be busy playing the new Batman game until this grown-up thing grows on me. I think I already tell incredibly bad jokes pretty well.
Have fun being a grown-up!