Growing Old

November 1, 2011 12:17 am Published by
      Recently I’ve encountered more and more reminders that I am shifting from one generation to another. I look at people twenty years my junior and think that still ought to be me. Then I’ll catch a glimpse of my children walking through the house and think that I cannot possibly have kids that so closely resemble adults.  Though my body reminds me otherwise, I still feel like I should be in my twenties.  Yet the reminders that I’m growing old – not to be confused with growing up – are becoming undeniably more frequent.
  The Space Invaders of the current generation was released today – ‘Call of Duty – Modern Warfare’ – is expected to break video game industry sales records.  Over nine million units were pre ordered, which doesn’t mean much to me, but I suppose that’s a very large number. In the interest of full disclosure, I haven’t played a video game for years, and I have never played any of the X Box or PlayStation variety. My knowledge of the games on the market today, is limited to the 30 second commercials proliferating the sports shows that I tend to watch. In fact, I would probably not take notice of the commercials at all if not for the ironic tag line they generally conclude with – “rated M for Mature”. Even the rating system of such games revolves more around marketing than the actual provision of information. As a parent, I can fool myself into thinking I’m buying my child something mature. ‘Rated U for Unemployed’, while perhaps more accurate, might put a damper on sales. Thankfully, my kids never took to video games.  If they did, I would be faced with the same pressure I remember applying fruitlessly upon my own parents. The cool kids at the time had Atari. Alas, I was destined to remain un-cool.
  My reaction to video games so closely resembles that of my parents 30 years ago, that it’s clear to me that I have become my parents – not that a mirror isn’t reminder enough. Where my father might have wondered how my brother expected to find employment with hair down to his shoulders, I look at high school kids today and wonder who’s going to hire a kid with a pierced lip and pants in serious need of a belt.  In our household, I will not be the voice of reason on such matters of fashion. That task belongs to my wife, who I’m sure is on high alert to protect our daughters from embarrassing things their father might say to their peers. While she is quick to remind me that even nice boys have three inches of underwear showing, I’m doubtful she would be so forgiving should I take her to the movies dressed that way.
   Kids today dress and behave they way they always have – different from their parents. After all, who wants to look like their Mom or Dad?  The irony is that we have no choice and eventually we start to look like the very people we have been trying to differentiate ourselves from.  My wife tells me that I stand like my dad, and walk like my dad. Soon, I too will be wearing dress socks in my sandals. While I used to think that people who did were oblivious to how they looked, I’m beginning to understand that it’s not that they don’t know – it’s that they don’t care.  I’m rather looking forward to it!
Thanks for reading,
Jeff Neumann

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