Don’t tell me I’m growing up!
It’s finally come to this. I tried to deny it. Ignore it and it will go away. La, la, la, la, I can’t hear you.
Despite my best Peter Pan efforts, it happened anyway.
I fear that I am growing up.
I pondered this while sipping my wife’s coffee. That’s when I knew. For more than 60 years now, I’ve equated coffee with grownups. I knew that as long as I didn’t drink coffee, I couldn’t be an adult.
My caffeine came from cola — kids’ stuff. I guzzled the carbonated goodness.
Then bad things started happening. I ended up at the doctor’s office, where I was jabbed with words scarier than any needle: “You’re not a kid anymore. Sugary drinks mess with the body, especially at your age.”
I’ve been cola-free for four years. But neither did I resort to adult beverages like Maxwell House or Folgers.
Then a couple months ago, I idly picked up my wife’s coffee cup and sipped. Disgusting! Still not a grownup.
Two weeks later, I slipped up again. My nose still wrinkled and my lips still curled. Then I caught myself taking a second sip. I sensed trouble brewing.
Last week, she asked if I wanted a cup of coffee.
“Of course not! Do I look like an adult to you?” Then I drank a quarter of hers.
I’m seeking counseling.
In the meantime, I sought Google — the Knower of All Things — for warning signs that a person might be an adult. I’m loaded with symptoms. Covered in codger cooties. Puckered in passe.
Here are a few tell-tale indicators of growing up:
• Somewhere along the way, you developed a sense of responsibility, and unlike homework, you don’t blow off projects at work, nor rely on your mom to schedule your appointments;
• Nothing to do on a Saturday night sounds amazing;
• Money is for paying bills, saving for retirement and for a down payment on prescriptions, not for cool clothes for the weekend;
• You have no idea what’s “cool” — nor do you care;
• You schedule off days at the front and back ends of vacation trips because, you know, recovery time;
• Your body crackles like a poorly synced rhythm section when you roll out of bed;
• “Rolling out of bed” is actually how you start the day — and you pull yourself up by the headboard;
• You exercise so you can move, not so you can flex for the babes;
• “The babes” appear to be actual babies, or maybe middle school students — as do store clerks, the kid who prepares your taxes, the paramedics who came after you rolled out of bed, and three-fourths of your co-workers;
• You glance at Billboard’s Top 10 and don’t recognize eight of the artists listed — and you’re probably thinking of someone else for the other two;
• Your last concert ticket stub is from 1983;
• The elevator is playing your song;
• The last time you woke up with a hangover was that crazy Wednesday when you stayed up until almost 10:30 playing Uno with the grandkids;
• You finally know what your parents meant when they said, “You’ll understand when you’re older”;
• But actually you understand less than you ever did;
• You catch yourself drinking coffee.
• Cole still prefers ice water to coffee. Grow up with him at email@example.com or at www.burtonwcole.com.