“I want to be you when I grow up.” Boom. There it was. One innocent little sentence made up of nine innocent little words that together suddenly made the most hideous insult I’ve ever heard. Twenty years ago this was a compliment. Ten years ago it was cute. Now it’s “I’ll slap you if you say that again” horrific and instantly says to the fifty three year old person you’re talking to – “wow you’re old as shit.” At least that’s what my ears took in, swirled around in my crazy center and spit back out as a rude insult.
There are a few “compliments” that as you get older no longer feel so complimentary. This is one of them. Add to that “Wow you don’t look your age at all” and you can send me back to my bed under the covers with a bunch of medical tape strapped to the back of my neck pulling it together like a skin ponytail and returning it to it’s thirty year old status. I hate my neck. But that’s another story.
I always hoped that one day I’d grow up to be some kind of role model or powerful influence to young women but now I’m rethinking this because every time I open my mouth around someone more youthful than me – which is the entire los angeles area – I get slapped with this anti-acclamation. Perhaps you young people come up with something new to say to someone who says something that inspires you or perhaps you could just write them a check. And while you’re at it – if you could learn to shut your mouth a teensy bit when I say – I’m 53 – I’d appreciate it. I wouldn’t want to break a hip picking your jaw up off the floor.