When I was eleven or twelve, for reasons that seemed sensible at the time, I stuck a piece of hard candy in my ear. It became lodged up there, and when I couldn’t get it out and I had to tell my mom, she had two consoling things to say:
“Oh, Good Lord, now you’re probably going to go deaf!”
“I would think you were old enough to know better than to pull a dumb stunt like that!”
By that point in our relationship, she was really the one who should have known better. But I guess for mothers, hope just springs eternal.
You’re old enough to know better.
That statement has dogged me my entire life, probably because I have continually found ways to prove nothing could be further from the truth.
In college, I once thought a good way to impress a girl I’d met at a party would be to show her just how many gin and tonics I could drink in one sitting. I spent the rest of the night in the bathroom hurling my guts out while making sounds that typically only come out of an alligator. So, you know… goal accomplished.
I once waited until 2am to start writing a term paper that was due at 8 o’clock the next morning.
I’ve spent money I didn’t have on things I didn’t need. I’ve said things in the heat of anger I regret to this day. I’ve tried to curry favor with people who had little to no interest in anything I had to offer, rather than spending time with the friends who know me, warts and all, and who, for some unfathomable reason, like me anyway.
I’ve said and done any number of foolish and ridiculous things. And yes, I’m old enough to know better. I’m waaayyy old enough to know better. But I have come to the realization that, no matter how many times I remind myself, the dumb things are just going to keep coming. I’ll try my best to circumvent most of them, but I think we can all see where this is headed.
With any luck, I’m done sticking stuff in my ear. But that still leaves a lot of room for absurd and mortifying behavior. So consider yourself warned. I’m kind of a walking immature time bomb.