Today I saw a sour-faced kid get his enormous mohawk stuck in a tree.
I wrote an entire post about it, but then I realized that the post diluted the effect of seeing that kid, flopping down the street with his carefully crafted ‘fuck you’ walk, get snagged in a low hanging branch and have to call his fellow-floppers over to help him get loose.
Kid, it is twenty-seven degrees today. Your shredded jeans and sleeveless Ramones jean jacket aren’t impressing anybody, and if you hadn’t had your little cadre of fellow anarchists there to snap off all the branches that held you hostage, you would have probably frozen to death.
And you know what? I feel absolutely no guilt for laughing at you. Not just laughing, no. I was guffawing. I was slapping my knee and leaning against the steering wheel for support as I waited for the light to turn green. I eventually had to fish a wad of old napkins out of the glove compartment, because I had begun to cry from the sheer hilarity of seeing your punk ass get upbraided by a tree, from seeing that delicious look of surprise as your head twanged back, as though your pigtails had just been pulled.
Do you know why I don’t feel guilty? Because I belong to a special club of people called adults, who have each spent months, nay, years as teenagers, wearing and doing all kinds of stupid shit until we get old enough to know better. Don’t worry, someday you can join our club, and you will have earned your right to laugh at all of the pubescent stupid-shit-doers that you see on your afternoon commute.
But Jessica, you say, your mohawk still snarled in the low-hanging branches. How will I know when I am old enough to laugh at the stupidity of young people?
Son, someday you will be waiting in line at the ATM and you will see some thirteen year old goth girl, dressed in five black layers on a ninety eight degree day. She will be wearing many belts, more belts than she needs to hold her pants up. You will absently wonder what the hell she needs that many belts for, and why she doesn’t just buy a pair of properly-fitting pants.
On that day, you will truly become a man.
In the meantime, enjoy your desperate quest to differentiate yourself from your peers while still fitting in, and try to avoid the local shrubbery.