You might as well consider me ancient.
Now mind you, I’m 31, to be 32 next month. As far as age goes I’m still well within all tv stations’ desired age demographics.
Recently though, I’ve had to confront the fact that I am old.
Admittedly, you do everything in your power, for as long as possible, to convince yourself of your youth short of going back in time to steal the younger version of yourself to take back into the future.
However, you will always inevitably lose. And not because you can’t find more Libyan plutonium.
Yes, that was a Back To The Future joke. A joke about a movie that came out…over 30 years ago.
Anyway, like most people, you never really think you are old. The realization just starts sneaking up on you.
I remember well my first time.
No, not THAT first time.
I was 21, going out to run some errand of some kind while home from college and passing by the high school I had attended all of just a few years ago when one kid coming out walked right into the middle of the road. Naturally, I was calm and collected and did not call him something related to the act of conception and a particular bodily orifice where said action could take place. After coming back home, I immediately announced to no one in particular how dumb…well lets just say I said stupid, that kid was. My mom, having come upstairs, asked me where this was. As the words the high school began to float to my mouth, I immediately realized I had just referred to a high schooler as a kid…a high schooler from the very school I had attended….four years ago.
That’s when I started to suspect I was doomed.
And it was all downhill from there.
What really proves it and shoves it in your face of how you’ve become an exhibit of a living history museum is the gradual obscurity of your pop culture references.
It starts out innocently enough. You gather with some friends of yours in college and inevitably talk gets around to recounting all your favorite tv shows.
Wait, you remember and liked that show from 1997 too?! Awesome!
You of course unconsciously pretend, (yeah unconsciously) that 1997 wasn’t essentially a million years ago but that’s ok. After all this is a group reasonably made up of your peers, so the fact that you are quoting lines from a show that came out the same time getting jiggy was a thing is no big deal.
But then college fades into the working world and at first, everything is more or less the status quo. Most of the people you are working with are still around your same age, if just a little younger, and you can still comfortably have conversations about shared childhood memories of hating boy bands and debating whether Brittney Spears or Christina Aguilera was the better artist (#teamAguilera).
However, retail life is a fickle lot and as the people you started with leave, the replacements seem well….a little more youthful. All of a sudden that hilarious reference to that mid 90’s Saturday night tv show is met only with a confused stare and an admittance that they never saw what you were referring to. This should be the first clue you are bordering on grandpa status but the “reasonable” mind comes to the rescue. There are a lot of tv shows out there. Just because they haven’t seen that one or the 12 others you have referred to in the last 20 minutes, it doesn’t mean you are old. After all, you haven’t finished watching Breaking Bad yet and that has a following exceeded only by the bible. So, they and you are just a part of the uninitiated, that’s all. That and you seriously need to finish Breaking Bad.
People have started staring. It’s like they know.
And now you have reached anniversary levels of service with the company that has functioned as your clock and social calendar for the last several years. Just a couple of the people who were there with you at the beginning remain and it feels more like an episode of a reality show than a job. Plus, you start wondering if your employer is breaking child labor laws because you are convinced the person you have just been given to train should be learning his multiplication tables rather than the intricacies of a cash register. But that’s just a prelude to the ultimate in holy crap, slap-to-the-face, good lord you’re ancient and there’s no way you can rationalize this, end-is-nigh, realizations. For when you are mentioning one of your favorite movies of all time, they give you not just the you-might-as-well-be talking-French-to-me-stares, but also the most devastating line of all-time.
“I wasn’t even born yet.”
There is no more brutal sentence that exists in the English language.
And well, that moment came recently.
So, now, I cannot deny it any longer.
Better start looking into canes.
Or the feasibility of time travel.