For as long as I can remember, people have gotten my age all wrong. When I was around 5 or 6 or 10 (those ages are all clumping together at this point) people used to think my brother and I were twins. Bear in mind, now, my brother is 3.5 years younger than me, although he will deny this if you ask him. That is all odd enough. But what makes people particularly odd and unique as creatures is that I am often asked questions pertaining to my age, as if people think I’m one of Ashton Kutcherr’s tricks, here to punk them (channeling my best digital Joe Pesci there).
I am proud to say that I actually had an encounter with a celebrity (of sorts) in this particular regard. Back when I was in college, James Carville came to speak at my campus. I was excited to see the excitable Cajun I had been watching on TV. I have absolutely no recollection of what he said during his presentation although I am sure it was very intelligent and well-said. After the talk, we all got up to introduce ourselves. I waited patiently in line, excited to shake Mr. Carville’s hand. Hey, I’ve been a political junkie for a long time. That’s what happens when Abraham Lincoln is one of your great heroes. Anyway, as I finally approached Mr. Carville, ready to look up at his weird face in admiration and star-struckedness, he asked, “Are you sure you’re old enough to be here?”
I can honestly say I have absolutely no memory of how I responded, if I responded at all. I’m sure I could have retorted with an immensely insightful comeback that would have inspired Mr. Carville to hire me onto his staff or some such, but apparently that was not the outcome.
To be fair, Mr. Carville is not the only person to question my age-appropriateness. He’s merely the most famous to do so. So far. The shining moment of my high school career (and there are many contenders) occurred one sunny day as I was walking down the sidewalk, ready to walk across the street to put in some slave labor I meant to help out at my family’s business. As I was walking I started hearing this, “Hey…hey!” Now, I don’t know about you but often times when I hear someone saying hey, or when I see someone waving, they are in fact attempting to communicate with another person, so I always strive to play it cool. Also, if you are in fact hearing voices you want to lay low a little anyway. In this particular case, the source of the sound became clear as I passed one of the school busses that was lined up, ready to take my little minion peers home. It was a bus driver beckoning to me. I saw many minion faces pressed against the glass of the windows as he asked, “What grade are you in? What grade are you in?”
Have you ever had a moment where you feel like a spotlight has begun to shine on you just as you begin to pick your nose?
Not that anyone picks their noses. But you get my point.
Given all of these experiences, you can’t blame me for having one time approached one of those “guess your age” fortune tellers at a festival. My dad and I thought the prize money would be a gimme. Every other person on the planet misjudged my age. Now I could FINALLY make some money out of that fact. I was about 12 at the time and I believe the person guessed spot on (they had some margin for error of course). “You carry yourself with too much maturity,” they said, seeing my frustration.
There’s a moral in there somewhere.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdlasica/5817022049/ via Creative Commons