I’ve decided to do a social experiment to see how much I have changed in the past decade. I’m 26, so I selected some things that were part of my life at 16 and still are now. Then I analyzed how I view or react to doing them.
Getting a paycheck.
16: This is fucking awesome! $84 for stocking shelves and running a cash register! I knew this job would make me rich! I’m going to treat myself to some books, and then I’m going to give the rest to my older brother so he can buy me cans of Skoal!
Now: Guess I’ll just go ahead and deposit this so that I can write my own check and send almost all of it to my landlord so that I do not become a homeless person. Boy, I miss the days when I had money to blow on tobacco products.
16: This should be fun until mom comes in around 10 and makes me get out of bed without giving me one legitimate reason why I should. I can’t wait to grow up and live alone.
Now: Well, I’m unable to sleep for more than five hours straight for some reason, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to stay in bed until at least noon just because I live alone and have nothing to do today and sometimes I don’t really live, per se, I just kill time.
Going on a first date.
16: This is going to be fantastic. Maybe I’ll get to kiss her at the end of the night! I’m pretty good at basketball, so I bet she at least lets me kiss her. This is how the social dynamic works at my school. And we’re going to the movies because that is a totally appropriate first date spot, so maybe I’ll even get an over-the-pants-hand job! I’m so glad I spend hours every day perfecting my jumper so that girls will like me.
Now: I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. I hate having to look forward to this kind of thing all day because it’s distracting and I can’t help but feel a bit of trepidation. I used to get positively excited about dates. Now I just don’t even like going on them. It’s going to be awkward. I’m going to sweat. One or both of us are probably not going to like the other that much and then I’ll be out however much our drinks cost. Speaking of drinks, I wonder how many I should have before the date starts. Probably fewer than last time, because I don’t even remember what I talked about with that woman. Or her name.
16: Oh. My. God. I cannot believe this is really happening.
Now: Oh. My. God. I can’t believe this is really happening.
The prospect of going to a strip club.
16: Boy oh boy do I love looking at titties. I can’t wait for two years from now when I can go into a strip club and pay women to show me their knockers! I’m going to feel so cool. I bet lap dances are just mind-blowing.
Now: No way am I going to one of these. I’m a man of principle. If I can’t manage to see breasts in person on my own merit, then I don’t deserve to see them at all. OK—that isn’t entirely true. Basically, I’m just unwilling to shill out any shekels to see a naked woman I’m not going to be allowed to touch when I have unfettered access to Internet porn and can see all the breasticles I want from the comfort of my own bedroom.
Seeking medical care.
16: Something is wrong with me. I will have my mom schedule me an appointment with the family doctor.
Now: Holy shit, this stuff is expensive. The co-pay is at least $20 just to get in the door, get weighed by a nurse, and then interact with the doctor for, at most, five minutes. And just last year I had to go to four doctors and get a skin biopsy done before one finally figured out that my problem was FUCKING ECZEMA. I should’ve just spent that $20 on a cover charge to a strip club.
Getting hammered drunk.
16: This. Is. Going. To. Be. Awesome. My boy’s parents are out of town and we are going to raid their liquor cabinet, and then cover our tracks by filling up the bottles with a little bit of water so the liquid level doesn’t go down. I can’t wait to tell all my friends that I got totally wasted this weekend!
Now: Is this really going to be worth it? I’ll be hurting tomorrow for sure. I should maybe stop doing this so often and find a healthier hobby. Whatever. I’m doing it anyway.
16: If a dude from a rival high school wants to step to me then I’ll probably engage him in a physical fashion. Because if I don’t I will be called a pussy!
Now: It’s so much more fun to abuse people verbally. So I’m going to keep doing that.
16: I would never try that stuff. It’s for total losers, man.
Now: If I take the marijuana before going to a Chinese buffet, I will certainly get my money’s worth. My friends tell me it makes you really hungry.
Driving a car.
16: This is what freedom feels like! I want to drive everywhere, all of the time.
Now: Driving is stupid. I’d rather take public transportation so I can read while I make my way from Point A to Point B. Driving is essentially a waste of time. Unless you’re rocking out, of course.
16: This is my life and I care about nothing else.
Now: If I try to join a 5-on-5 pickup run, I will probably go into cardiac arrest. At the very least, I’ll slip a disk. I wonder if I can still slap glass on a lay-up.
Going to church.
16: Boy, this is terrible. I wish my parents didn’t make me do this, even if I only have to do so on Christmas and Easter. The only good thing about this is that all the pretty girls dress up real nice. If there is a god, I bet he or she would be upset with me for perving dishes during a religious service.
Now: I’m not showing up unless it’s for a close friend’s wedding. And if that’s the case, then I’m certainly showing up hammered drunk with mini bottles of scotch in all of my pockets.