Growing old is inevitable. But growing up is a choice. Not my own – somebody wise said that. I simply endorse the view. It makes sense, you know. But it’s hardly new knowledge. Not a day goes by without someone or the other telling me to grow up. It’s quite clear that they know it’s a matter of choice. It’s not in debate. My only question is… why?
There has to be some plus side to growing up, of course. Every kid I know has this instinctive expectation that growing up is just going to be awesome. But the awesome part is not clearly defined – they think it basically means getting to stay up late at night, choosing to eat ice cream all day, and being able to get the better of that bully who steals their lunch money.
But as you grow older, you know that these things are less awesome than pictured. Sure, you get to stay up all night, but it’s going to hit you hard when you’re caught snoring during the team meeting you attend the next day. You can choose to eat ice cream all day, but the calories in it is going to build its own territory in your body until you start looking like Chris Christie. And no matter how grown up you are, you are not going to be immune to bullies; there will always be someone bigger, with more power, who can still metaphorically punch you in the gut. As a matter of fact, as you grow up, you may have a lot more bullies to face, some of whom may actually be Chris Christie.
My point is… growing up is not all that it’s cracked out to be. I think it’s good to hold on to your childhood whenever possible. I have a small collection of toys that seem at odds with the fact that my household does not have kids yet. I have a tiny car on the showcase that I got with my rice crispies, a soft hand wavy thing that makes a cracking sound when struck, a cheap Chinese gun that shoots Styrofoam pellets, a battery operated bubble gun, an electric powered plasma globe, and a remote controlled car that I keep charged at all times. Is it something to be proud of? No. Is it something to be ashamed of? Well, according to some critics… maybe.
One of my recent acquisition is a neat toy called a ‘splat ball’… a small blob of sticky rubber filled with water inside, available in many shapes – angry birds, tomato, soccer balls, etc. If you threw one on the floor, it would spread itself for a second before re-forming its shape. My entire evening was spent throwing this on the floor and watching the cool shape shifting process. Not unlike T-1000, except the T stands for ‘Tomato’.
It may be enough to keep a toddler entertained for hours. But I’m a grown man playing with a squish toy; obviously, throwing it splat across the floor was not gonna cut it for long. I soon graduated to table tops and walls… and of course, inevitably, the ceiling. I would hurl this onto the ceiling, where it would go splat and stick on for a while, but due to the force of gravity acting on its own weight, it would eventually drop back down… where it would go splat on the floor again! So that’s twice the splat for your efforts. Hurrah.
As the evening progressed, I moved the splatsperiment to the bedroom ceiling… I knew, of course, that eventually, I would get tired of it, but for now, it was still pretty cool. As it turned out, gravity got bored of the game much faster than I did. It stopped playing the game and my splat ball just got stuck to the ceiling. It was quite late, so I just went to bed hoping it would drop on its own by morning.
So I figured I had to do something to get it down. The mature, adult thing response would have been to take a long stick and just prod it loose. But in case you haven’t deduced from the collection of toys I have, I’m not well known for mature, adult responses. I got on the bed and reached for it with my small hand-shaped toy. It wasn’t long enough… so I leaned forward as far as gravity would let me (oh, yeah… Gravity only quit on the splat ball… It was working fine on other stuff)… Nope. Still not enough. I was already dressed for work by this time, and I should have given a higher priority to leaving for office than to scraping cheap, adamant Chinese toys off ceilings.
I kept thinking… Maybe if I really crane myself… no, that’s no good. Maybe I could just hop a little bit… Drat!! That was close… So close… No, no… One more time, with a little more oomph on the jump… I’ll get it for sure. And… a HOP!
No, I didn’t reach it that time either, but that was the least of my concerns by then. My second hop had a bit more oomph than I had intended. If I were lean and athletic, I may have flown through the air with the greatest of ease… But as things stand, my landing was less than graceful. The bed… broke. If it weren’t for the mattress, I would have just gone on to the floor, possibly denting that too.
No, the bed didn’t disintegrate; it didn’t get smashed to smithereens… One of the layers supporting the top portion broke off… It happens. Accidents happen; nothing to be ashamed about. Except… at the end of the day, to people who know my inclination to cling on to kiddie toys, I jumped up and down the bed and broke it. And so far, nobody’s buying my ‘splat-ball-stuck-to-the-ceiling’ anecdote. They kinda assume that I’m just making it up to hide the fact that I jump on my bed every morning.
That’s just not fair. I wouldn’t do that; I’m reserving my jumping strength for the day I buy a trampoline.