Hypothetically Speaking . . .

. . . . . . . . Because Humor Matters

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, And You Can’t Make Me!!!

Written By: Michael Rochelle - Jul• 21•10

I was sitting at a red light one morning when a gentleman and his little boy crossed the road. The man, who I assume to be the kid’s father, was holding the little boy’s hand as the boy skipped happily across the street. It was the cutest thing. Immediately I wanted to skip too. If I could have, I would have gotten out of my car and skipped right on down the block. I would have continued skipping right past the armed guards at my job and all the way until I got to my desk. All that day, whenever my boss asked me to do something, I wanted to say, “Yes sir” and then go skipping down the hall to get it done. Whatever happened to those carefree days when skipping was acceptable? How old will that little boy be before his father sits him down on his lap and tells him that he’s too old to skip and now has to get a part job if he wants some new crayons or Play-Doh? And who was this wise old person who decided that a 30-year-old man was too old to sing Barney songs if he darn well pleased? Hmph!!!

Nowadays, as opposed to skipping on down the lane, due to the recession, we’re skipping meals and skipping phone calls from bill collectors. Instead of having that happy-go-lucky spirit we once had as children, we’re now fighting people over the last bag of low-calorie chips at the supermarket, and counting the items in other people’s carts so that we can report them to upper management for having eleven items in the ten items or less line. Is being an adult really that serious? That is what was going through my mind as I watched the child and his father with envy. For one, the little boy’s outfit was way cooler than my work clothes and I could tell a Popsicle was in his near future. But I wanted a Popsicle too! Aside from having a bed time, not being able to eat as much ice cream as you wanted, and relying on your parents’ sense of style and color schemes, being a kid was sooooo much easier than being an adult. Oh how I long to be a kid again when there was no such thing as rent, car payments, or federal and state taxes.

Now that I think about it, everything wasn’t so great for me as a child. First of all, I hated my name. One reason was because I was a Jr. Imagine being 5 years old and trying to find your place in the world and getting all excited because someone is calling your name because they want to talk to YOU. They need YOU for something that’s probably really super important. Who knows? Maybe they need the solution to world peace and they’d like to give a preschooler a crack at it because no one else seems to have a good answer. I mean, why not? So because you hear your name called, you answer with all the strength your little lungs can muster and the response is, “Not you! Your dad!” as if you’ a moron for thinking someone wanted to talk to you because they said YOUR name. Honestly, my shrink and I have spent many hours trying to reverse the damage done by my being confused due to all the years of being told to be an original and that I was unique, but then being given the exact same name as my dad.

On top of that, I wasn’t handed down one of those cool names like Jamal or Kelvin. Because my father was born in the fifties, the government hadn’t yet created and approved the use of cool names. Instead, I was given the name … wait a minute … come closer to the screen so I can whisper it to you. Closer. I would hate for this information to get out. Look over your shoulder. Is anyone nearby? Who is that lady I see in the background? Oh, that’s just a picture. Ok, well, if you’re absolutely sure that this will stay between the two of us, and you will guard this information with your life, and you wouldn’t give up this secret even if you were a prisoner of war and the fate of the next season of “The Bachelor” rested in your hands, then fine, I will tell you. My first name is William. Shhhhhhhh!!! I know. Stop laughing!!! I’ve cried myself to sleep many nights. Granted, I could have had a worse name. I mean, I could have been named Wilbur Bartholomew-Lamar Jenkins Jr., so I guess I should count my blessings.

Because I was nowhere near cool enough for my name to be shortened to Will, adults began calling me Bill, which is at least a trillion times worse than William. Attention Future and Current Baby Makers of America: If you call a child Bill, you might as well go ahead and tattoo the number to the nearest psychiatrist on his or her forehead because they are obviously going to need one. I understand that once a person reaches a certain age—like 50—being called Bill may seem logical and appropriate as it does with Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, or Bill the mechanic, but there should be a law against bestowing this name upon a toddler. I’m just saying. And if Bill wasn’t bad enough, because of my last name, my fellow classmates began to call me Roach. Imagine that. I had to choose between being called Bill or Roach. Take your pick. It was obvious that if I was one day going to grow up to be a relatively normal, tax-paying, responsible adult, something had to be done. Fortunately, when I was in the ninth grade, I switched high schools and the guidance counselor at the new school asked me what I’d like to be called. From that day on, I’ve been Michael … or Mr. Rochelle if you’re nasty.

While we’re on the subject of names, as a child, I heard the words “grow up” so much that I often thought it was my nickname. Ironically, even though children really don’t have control over the whole process of growing up, whenever I did attempt to be more like an adult, I was promptly told to stay in a child’s place. As a matter of fact, my mother still uses that one every once in a while. I will never forget being in the fourth grade and hearing my teacher tell my mother that I wasn’t mature for my age. I was 9. Pardon me if I wasn’t reading “Newsweek” or keeping an eye on the stock market at that point. Although that sense of being behind everyone else regarding maturity would be something that would follow me to this day, I get a kick out of being a big kid and feel that it works in my favor. Because of it, I can laugh at myself and then write about it. Would a person who focused on being mature have the ability to run a relatively successful self-deprecating humor blog like mine? I think not. So put that in your pipe and smoke it, Ms. Kulick.

Anyway, although we progress into adulthood, it’s funny how we never really grow out of having authoritative figures in our lives. When you’re young, those figures are called parents. As you get older, those figures are called supervisors. When you’re young, your parents force you to go to your room. When you get older, your manager forces you to go to your cubical. When you’re young, you’re parents may request that you stop talking so much. When you get older, your boss may request that you stop talking so much. Your parents may have forced you to eat broccoli as a kid, and now your boss forces you to eat whatever is provided at the departmental potlucks—especially that crusty stuff over in the corner that you just know your co-worker, Nora, let her 6 cats dip their paws into. And when it comes to cleaning your room, as a kid, your parents may say you aren’t performing up to your potential or to their expectations. As a grown-up that same message is delivered by your boss in the form of a performance review. So, in reality, we never really grow up. This is why, Your Honor, I believe adults should be allowed to Skip To My Lou if we so desire.

Furthermore, there are tons of things we miss out on as grown-ups. Personally, I’m still mad at McDonalds for waiting to build those awesome Playlands until I was too big to enjoy them. While all the littler kids got to go inside and have a blast, I had to watch from the outside with my nose pressed against the glass as I ate my chicken nuggets just knowing that they’d taste so much better if I could’ve eaten them inside that little room with all the balls. Oh, and imagine how much fun it would’ve been to go to Chuck E. Cheese, or explore Elmo’s Castle at Bush Gardens. Don’t pretend you don’t sometimes wish you could get on a merry-go-round or ride in a tea cup at an amusement park without having people stare at you. I know you do. And don’t you remember those days of ripping and running until you were so tired that your parents had to carry you to bed with juice stains on your shirt and a lollipop stuck to your forehead? As an adult, no one carries you to bed anymore … well, then again, maybe they do, but I’m sure it’s for a very different reason than to just tuck you in.

My point is, many of us have lost that inner child that allowed us to be free spirits and find the humor in everyday situations. For example, the other day a cashier at the gas station asked me why I was buying a hot coffee and a cold one. Not that it was any of his business, but I told him that I was buying the cold one in case the hot one was yucky. He asked, “What are you? A kid? Did you just describe something as yucky?” Of course, I could have used a more adult response like, “Well, this cold one is just in case the hot one tastes like (insert your expletive of choice here).” However, what’s wrong with my being 192 years old and describing something as yucky? What happened to our being able to laugh and play and have “accidents” without worrying about our insurance premiums going up and possibly being sued? And more importantly, where did all our imaginary friends go? For some reason, I can’t find them on Facebook.

Michael Rochelle
Access my full blog: http://www.justmichael.net/blog
Access my website: http://www.justmichael.net
Find me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michael.rochelle1

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One Comment

  1. Shawn Bonner says:

    Loved it, especially the visual of being carried to the bed as a kid. I tell kids all the time that you never grow out of having someone to tell you what to do. As a child, it’s your parents, teachers, and other adults. As an adult, the finance company tells you when to pay your car note, the landlord with the rent, the feds and states when to pay taxes, register your car, when to vote, and so on. Thanks for another good one.

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