March 18, 2010

As you get older a kind of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers thing happens where you start to notice everyone in the world being slowly replaced, except instead of being replaced by aliens or robots they're replaced by people the same age as you. Instead of some telltale sign like lizard eyes or random bleeding from the ear, the thing that gives it away is when people in positions of power, prestige, and authority reveal that they watched the same TV shows as you did growing up, and liked the same stupid bands as you did at the same time as you did. The kids, you realize, are BECOMING the grown-ups. Not, you realize, maturing into grown-ups as you always expected they would, but simply REPLACING them. It feels exactly the opposite of the way you were prepared for it to feel by a lot of the sentiment you grew up around, stuff to the effect that today's children were a peace-loving bunch and adults needed to preserve the world for them because once the kids took over, gosh darn it, things would be different. They must have been talking about a different set of kids. Maybe they have a race of superkids stashed away on an island somewhere. Because us? Plain old US? We're allowed to just become the grown-ups? It makes you want to run screaming into the street but instead of screaming "THEY CAN BE KILLED BY SODA WATER" or some other unlikely science-fiction pronouncement, you want to scream, "WE'RE THE ONES? ARE YOU KIDDING? HAVE YOU MET US?"

The comforting thought, the thing that would pacify you after you'd had been driven mad by the revelation that everyone in the world had been replaced by the people you went to middle school with and you were being wheeled away on the gurney (because no one will listen to you, secretly the sanest one of all) was that this was not the first time this had happened. Your adults, your actual responsible-seeming adults, the ones you were horrified to see swapped out for people who also went to the Warped tour, they were former kids, too. They were once the flawed invaders. Some of them were similarly traumatized to see themselves and their peers slide into world domination without ever actually growing up. "It's us? Really? The Class of '79? Weren't we supposed to, like...learn something first?"

And maybe that's what would finally drive you truly, fully nuts: That it had always been that way. That there was never a generation of "men" and "women" who didn't feel a little bit like fakers by describing themselves in those terms. Books full of important, old-seeming portraits, every human in history: wave after wave of old kids pretending.

Posted by DC at March 18, 2010 03:52 AM
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