There is an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I’m a huge Whedon Fan if you didn’t know) called “Band Candy.” In the episode the Band sells the aforementioned candy as part of a fund raiser without ever knowing that it was secretly enchanted to revert them all to their teenage selves. Hilarity and Drama ensues. I’m 90% certain there is a baby-eating demon involved also. Seriously, there’s layers of metaphor here.
We don’t need cursed chocolate bars to see what that’s like. I’ve noticed a pattern with the people in my life, and I like to believe it’s pretty accurate. Whenever a group of people get together, and especially if they’ve been apart for a long time, in some ways they revert to the people they were when they first met. They layers and masks of age peel away and leave behind the core of that person, stripped back to that time when the emotional scars of adulthood hadn’t quite had time to manifest.
I don’t know why our psychology is made up this way. Is it some sort of defense mechanism? A survival instinct? Maybe it’s just biology’s cruel joke, a way to make us all feel like the uncomfortable teenagers that we secretly still are deep down inside. I’m not sure if I can make a judgment call on that. I still feel like that same awkward fat kid at any given moment.
I can tell you, though, that it is universal. When a group of old High School friends get together you can watch the change take place. The confident, successful woman reverts back to a shy, maladroit girl that chews her hair. The tortured artist learning to battle his demons is suddenly that gangly goth kid with the plastic spoon around his neck. The responsible, conservative father of three is suddenly the fart-lighting beer-guzzler.
And yes, the socially anxious blogger with self-esteem issues is suddenly the fat-kid that feels the need to use biting commentary and grandiose falsehoods to overcome the crippling fact that there is absolutely nothing he is capable of doing well.
I don’t know what that means for all of us that are floating out there wanting to know what it means to be an adult. We’re all still searching for that moment when we wake up and suddenly need to make the bed and balance a checkbook.
The truth is no matter how old we get, no matter how far we go in life, we are always that same person inside. Some deep part of us will always be a kid that just can’t ever grow up.
I’m going to feed mine cheesecake and let him watch cartoons for a while.
Maybe in exchange he’ll let me watch the news without flipping over to reruns of the Simpsons.