Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Cootie Catchers and Life

Do we ever really grow up? I'm not sure that we do.

The other day, people here in Alaska received a $900 check, courtesy of the Permanent Fund Dividend. One woman I know (who is not wealthy or bill-free) spent the entire amount on a designer bag. A tote. Seriously. She went out and bought a Louis Vuitton Neverfull. And, If you ever read this post, you might not think I'd have room to criticize, but I was young and stupid. The person I'm talking about is old enough to know better.

The thing is, I'm not surprised that people spent their money on things like designer purses and big TVs because, while we all grow older, we don't all grow up. I believe that all of us, in some way, retain a schoolyard mentality.

When I was a kid, my friends and I wanted the latest or the coolest or the best-est of everything. As adults, we still want the latest phone or coolest car or best whatever. If we get a cellphone today and a new one comes out tomorrow, we are impatient for our upgrade. If we ladies get a Coach bag and our friends start carrying Pradas, we just have to have a Chanel or Fendi. It's like when I was in my thirties, had a great job and just had to have Edwin jeans for casual Fridays because Levi's were so damn common. A co-worker of mine (who probably thought Edwin was a boyfriend's name I'd sewn on a label) almost hurt herself going out to buy a pair.

If it sounds like I'm just picking on women, I'm not. Men are almost as bad. No - they're worse.

One of  my brothers is a car freak. He loves cars the way I love perfumes (and I love perfumes enough to marry my bottle of Shalimar). This is a man who makes good money and is smart with his finances. He doesn't give a flip what other people think so he's not into impressing others - except when it comes to his rides. The only time I've heard this particular brother of mine use urban slang is when he calls his cars his "whips." Lord.

Yeah, so we women might be little girls when it comes to our purses and shoes, but you men go all Peter Pan about cars and electronics. Hell, maybe even about perfumes.

This playground crap isn't just about material things. When we like someone, we want to fall into the old game of "I like you, do you like me? Say Yes or No." (Remember those little paper origami things called Cootie Catchers?) Within our close adult circles, it's the game of "She's no longer my friend, so why are you still talking to her?"

If we are a "football captain" or "cheerleader," we want to be the "brains." If we are the "Nerd" we want to be the "Hunk." And on and on it goes, where it stops, nobody knows.

Games, games, games. They're the same whether we're 15 or 50. The stakes are just higher. From schoolyard to nursing home. It's because we all have insecurities, we all want to be liked, to be loved and to be cherished.

So, maybe none of us ever really do grow up. I guess that just makes us what we are: human.


Post Script of two things:

1. I'm getting that freaking Vuitton bag. (As soon as Walmart starts racking them!)
2. I want to play Cootie Catcher with someone so I'm going to make one for the next time I see them.