Article by Scott Locklin. I like number twelve the best.
While I’m all for increased awareness of modern America’s sexual dimorphism crisis, we face a much more serious problem—one from which all other social problems emanate like a nasty bathroom smell. I’m talking about the lack of adults in America today. The concept of adolescence was popularized in the 1950s. (It was only discovered in 1904; adolescence didn’t exist at all before then.) The first generation of adolescents liked it so much, they made it the cultural norm for everybody for all time. Marketers love adolescents, adult and otherwise. They’re a perfect helot class in a democracy: People with no self-control are easily led to purchase their identities through consumer products on credit. Totalitarian nanny states love adolescents, because someone has to take care of such people after their parents get sick of them. Big Brother loves ruling over a population of adolescents. You think acting like a superannuated teenager makes you a rebel? It doesn’t; it makes you a conformist. Act like an adult for a day to find out what rebellion against the modern age is.
Being a creature of my time, I was an adolescent until 34, at which point I immediately molted into a very grouchy and hung-over adult, complete with Cap Toe Oxford shoes and a disapproving look. As such, I have experience in these matters and am thus uniquely qualified to offer a Unisex 12-Step Plan to Wrench Americans Into Adulthood:
1) Be discriminating and judgmental. It’s presently considered rude and possibly illegal to be discriminating against things that people can’t help, but it is important to be discriminating and judgmental about things over which people do have power. Do they have good manners? Are they slobs? Do they have facial tattoos? Do they live in Berkeley? You are not only allowed to judge people for such things—it is a fundamental duty of adulthood.
2) Dress like you have self-respect. Your ironic T-shirt wasn’t funny or fashionable when you were young, sleek, and seventeen; it’s even worse now that you’re wrinkly, fat, and forty. This may seem frivolous, but it isn’t: Fake it until you make it. Wearing a grey flannel suit and rep tie for a day will bring you more spiritual enlightenment than fifty years in an ashram. This has been proven by science.
3) I know it’s been said, but stop wearing your fucking backpack. If you’re not a soldier or otherwise hiking through the wilds looking for a remote campground, you are not allowed to wear a backpack as an adult. Travel is no excuse, nor is bicycle riding. Whatever you have in your backpack, you don’t need to have it with you. Corollary: If you’re not deplaning or a homeless person, you’re also not allowed to drag a wheeled suitcase more than 100 yards. If I had my way, all urban adult backpack-wearers and suitcase-draggers should be pressed into agricultural servitude until they are capable of leaving the house without 40 pounds of junk.
4) Get a job. Work is adulthood’s defining characteristic. Unless you’re a lady or gentleman of leisure, or you’re raising small children, you need a job. If you’re 30 and still in school or “discovering yourself,” you’re not admirable; you are an adolescent birdbrain. Alfred Krupp quit school and expanded the Krupps steel empire when he was 14 years old; what’s your excuse?
5) Get physically fit. Barring crippling disease or injury, there is no excuse for being a flabby lump of protoplasm. Fat people: Stop pigging out on candy and sugary drinks. Skinny manorexics: Grow some muscle or I’ll stuff you into a locker. The few skinny ladies left in the republic: I won’t stuff you in a locker, but I will make fun of your chicken legs and slouchy posture until you get fit.
6) Stop playing fake sports. Lift weights, run, or man up like our Lord and Master and play a real sport which involves a risk of hurting yourself. Fake sports such as BMX tricks, skateboarding, Frisbee golf, rock-climbing on things which aren’t rocks, bungee jumping, and parkour are kid stuff. None of these are real sports, and any adult who does them should be ashamed of themselves for being an undisciplined bubblehead. Women: Stripper poles are for low-rent hookers, not responsible adults. Belly dancing is no excuse for being a fat narcissist. Learn real dancing which involves other people, or learn the ballet. Learn things which require the adult qualities of discipline, skill, and not looking like a sequined barnyard animal.
7) Make your peace with your family. You are not an atomic individual birthed in a test tube. Whatever your personal circumstances, you are a member of a family, a tribe, a nation, and a civilization. You owe your parents for putting up with you while you were a kid. Your parents are jerks, you say? Well, the apple probably didn’t fall far from the tree. Give them your filial respect for raising the next generation of jerks.
8) Stop being a passive lump waiting for something nice to happen to you. Escapism is something children do to avoid the hard facts of life over which they have no control. Unfortunately, modern adult children excel at escapism. How many chicken-hearted nerds complain that women won’t have anything to do with them, then go spank it to bukakke and play World of Nerdcraft all night long? How many aging party girls complain they can’t find a nice guy with whom to settle down and make a family, yet they go leaping from peen to scabby peen like a deranged bonobo looking for validation? If Nerdly McMasturbator wants a girlfriend, he needs to quit choking the chicken, eat some red meat, drink some whiskey, and go make out with a real, live girl. If Penny O’Dyingeggs wants a white picket fence and a passel of chilluns, she needs to have the gang’s PROPERTY OF tattoo removed from her hiney and marry a hardworking accountant who is a poor judge of character. Take risks and make decisions with consequences. You’ll be worm food soon, anyway. If you’re waiting for something which is just right or gives you magically delicious feelings, you will wait forever.
9) Make stuff. Making things is the penultimate human activity. Unlike pushing papers around or futzing with a spreadsheet, or whatever most people do for a living these days, when you make stuff, you can see and enjoy your work’s end product. It doesn’t matter what you make. Knit a sweater, write poems, build a deck, cook dinner, start a business, or make little doilies or ashtrays which look like Karl Malden’s nose—just make something. Even savages with bones in their noses make things.
10) Stop living life according to your whims and passions. The ancient Greeks, fathers of Western Civilization, had a word for such people: slaves. Nature’s slaves are people who can’t govern their passions well enough to think about the future. If your every decision is guided by whim or feelings, you are an animated meat puppet controlled by manipulative advertisers and what you had for dinner last night. Adults make choices based on reason and foresight. Decadent children do whatever they feel like. While I’m at it: Stop wallowing in your emotional narcissism. Your emotional life is not important or interesting to anyone. It is almost certainly trite and disgusting.
11) Do something nice for others once in a while, you selfish git. Donate your time and money to a good cause. Assist someone worthy who is down on their luck. Be helpful and kind to your significant other rather than complaining about them. Clean up, cook dinner, or buy a round of beers; do something selfless once in a while. Show people the common decencies even if you feel grouchy. Don’t do these things to show off, and don’t do them for the undeserving. Do them because you’re an adult human being capable of empathy for others. Selfishness is adolescent.
12) No texting.