Learning how to be an adult is hard, sorta

This is one of the first columns I ever wrote for The Trentonian, back on December 5, 2000. I thought I was an “adult.” As it turns out, I had a lot to learn. Also, super happy Robert Downey Jr. got a second chance ….

Understand the following four things: I recently celebrated my 29th birthday, I just got back from my 10-year high school reunion, my parents came to my house for Thanksgiving and my father just bought me a toolbox.

In other words, it appears that I am now an adult.

This is not something that crept up on me; in fact, it has attacked me like a king cobra going after a field mouse. Quickly and without remorse.


See, you have to understand that I never wanted to be an adult. I know, I know. Break out the violins, play some maudlin tunes.

But, and in the interest of the public good, I thought that I would throw some things out there, some signs of adulthood, in order to warn others of the impending horror of having to pay all your bills.

For instance…

Your beloved parents have not been saying you have a “trust fund.” You’ve misheard them. They’ve been saying that you have a “bus fund.”

You’re finding that you can no longer drink five Jack-and- Cokes, three vodka shots and a 12-pack of Busch in one evening.

As a corollary, you also notice that you cannot wake up the next day and play basketball.

In fact, every alcoholic beverage you consume results in one day of acid reflux.

You are experiencing acid reflux.

Instead of typing in “free porn” on Web search engines, you’re typing in “free colon screening.”

You’ve had a free colon screening.

You quit smoking. Everything.

In fact, the only thing you would even consider smoking is a ham.

Except for the fact you no longer eat meat.

When people ask you how you’re doing, your response is “regular.”

You’re never, ever “regular”.

“Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen makes you cry.

You start to wonder how Bruce Springsteen, at his age, jumps around the stage for four straight hours.

You can no longer jump, and you can’t do anything for four straight hours.

Except complain about how things aren’t the way they used to be.

You don’t think it’s weird to be talking about the way things used to be.

You refer to anyone on a skateboard as a “punk.”

Your old skateboard has more than one neon color on it.

You used to own at least three items of neon clothing, purchased at or around the Jersey Shore between the years 1988-91.

The idea of purchasing a good, solid pair of cufflinks has crossed your mind.

You need cufflinks.

Well, OK You really don’t “need” cufflinks, you just want them. And a tie clip.

Your “little black book” has been confiscated by your girlfriend.

In fact, the only “digits” you’re getting are from insurance agents.

You’ve been talking to insurance agents.

Jack Kerouac is no longer your favorite author.

You’re close to admitting that you never really cared for Jack Kerouac.

Truth be told, you didn’t get the point of “On The Road,” never mind “Dharma Bums.”

You think they should throw the book at Robert Downey Jr.

You thought “Less Than Zero” was a high point of both literature and film.

You are referring to books and movies as “literature and film.”

And finally, you’re seriously considering becoming a Republican.

Hope all of this helped. Now I’m going to go stare at my toolbox.

Jeff Edelstein is a columnist for The Trentonian. He can be reached at [email protected], facebook.com/jeffreyedelstein and @jeffedelstein on Twitter.

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