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20/20: Life's vision after 19 does not seem much clearer

By I turned 20 this past July. At first glance, my 20th year seems to be an uneventful one except that I finally obtained the right to vote in the Canadian Pepsi/Coca-Cola Taste Challenge. However, the use of technologically advanced methods such as a Ouiji Board has shown that the age 20 signifies a change from immature teenager to immature adult.

It is crucial to understand the historical significance of the number 20 in order to be successful at a competitive game of Yahtzee (I'm speaking of the Scandinavian rules of course). And although this column has nothing to do with Yachtzee, wouldn't you feel pretty silly if you were playing right now? I rest my case.

In early Egyptian times, the number 20 held highly mystical powers. For example, a man who owned 20 mules was thought to have a house that smelled like crap, but that pretty much remains the same today. And of course we're all familiar with the children's nursery rhyme, which goes "Mary had a little lamb whose fleece was white as 20 kilos of cocaine." Maybe that's not the exact wording, but you get the idea.

Now that we've covered a brief history, I'll go on with my tale. For the first couple of days following my 20th birthday, I fell into a deep depression, during which I locked myself in my room and refused to have any verbal communication with the coffee machine. Following that I went into an involved contemplation of my life as a whole. I reexamined my soul as well as my action figure collection. Despite confronting the fact that I am no longer a teenager, I still came to the conclusion that G.I. Joe could kick He-Man's ass any day. Since I have become more analytical in my old age, here's a quick chart proving my conclusion.


weapon: sword

vehicle: purple

G.I. Joe

weapon: A.K. 47 Laser Gun

vehicle: multi-panther purpose, steel-plated, death-to-all, battle cruiser with Gatling gun and grenade launcher

I couldn't help but wonder if departing from my teenage years meant I was under some sort of societal obligation to behave as an adult. Would I suddenly be expected to map out my future, search for my soulmate, and constantly complain about traffic and taxes? I was hoping not because at that moment the future I had mapped out for myself looked a great deal like a map of Water Country, USA.

After thinking about the issue, I resigned myself to continue to act like a teenager, a.k.a. "a fool," and not take on any of the shortcomings of adulthood, i.e. responsibility. However, the next morning I found myself doing something horrible.

It started off innocently enough. I turned on the television and began flipping channels. Then, without thinking about it, I stopped on none other than The Weather Channel. I watched with odd fascination as a woman who had obviously failed to map out her future stood in front of a map of the continental United States and informed me that it was going to be cloudy. Some unknown force caused me to watch the various weather reports for the better part of a half an hour.

When I finally broke the trance, I was terrified at what had just taken place. I could have sworn the uncontrollable urge to watch The Weather Channel didn't overcome most men until their early 40s.

What was wrong with me? Who the hell cares that much about the weather?

The fact that it was going to be cloudy would not significantly alter my life. Plus, during that wasted half an hour, I could have been doing something quite productive, such as eating raw cookie dough or watching an old rerun of "The A-Team" or, dare I say it, doing both at the same time. That was one half hour of cookie-dough-A-Team-action I would never see again.

At about that point I realized my life was slipping by at a tremendous pace. It seems like just yesterday I was splashing around in the baby pool in my back yard, possibly wearing a sky blue bathing suit, but more likely wearing nothing but a carefree smile. However, in reality that was an entire week ago.

To slow down this ferocious loss of time, I came up with a couple methods.

My first technique was to pull off the pages of my desk calendar in reverse order at the rate of one every two hours and feed them to my dog. Yet, I found that any time I may have saved through this procedure was in turn spent cleaning half-chewed calendar pages off the carpet.

The second technique operated on the understanding that one 50-minute English literature class seems to last the better part of three years. So I hired an English literature professor to follow me around continuously lecturing. It's gone pretty well except for the expected awkwardness when I'm in the shower.

Despite all this, my birthday depression continued. Just when I was about to give in to the callings of my depressed mood, which was something along the lines of "you suck," I finally found an advantage of being 20. By turning 20 I was one year closer to being the age my fake I.D. said I was, and therefore would be more easily allowed into bars. Yet now I realize that even though I am one year closer to 42, I still don't look much like a 300 lb. Frenchman who evidently insisted on wearing some sort of turban in his license photograph.

But I still vow to continue to enjoy my youth by living vicariously, taking part in insanely dangerous stunts, never slowing down for even a second and - oh, I gotta' go. They're about to show the local forecast on The Weather Channel!


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