I Learned How to Do These Three Important Things Before I Was 21. Can You Do Them? Can Your Kids?

It’s hard to believe, Kids, I know, but there was a time when anyone over age 22 would wear a bag over his head if he had to admit that he lived with his parents. I am NOT making that up. Then, people had to wait until age 21 to be considered “adults,” but when we finally did, we were expected to assume responsibility for ourselves. Now we are officially “adults” at age 18, but the word “adult” has been adulterated in the way so many other words like “marriage” have been, so much so that it’s virtually meaningless, or even in some particularly unfortunate cases, ridiculous.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of our best and brightest are in their twenties, and even late teens, and as I write, they are kicking in doors in Afghanistan, dodging IED’s and otherwise sacrificing to protect our freedom with their brave and selfless service. There’s another group of twenty-somethings, though. I think you know the ones I mean. The narcissistic, arrested development cases, who grew up believing that the greatest crime anyone could commit would be to threaten their precious self-esteem by pointing out that they’ve never accomplished anything, don’t know how to do anything constructive, but do know how to run off at the mouth, and know that we would all suffer greatly if they don’t express every thought that comes into their heads. I know what you’re thinking. With that resume, anyone of them could be President. You’re right, especially today, when so many consider the specific qualifications spelled out in that archaic, irrelevant, quaint document written by those hideous, repressing European white men, the Constitution, suggestions rather than requirements. “I can’t be president unless I’m 35 years old? WTF? t’s not “fair!” Boo-hoo, my immature little friend. Don’t cry. I’m sure that we can ignore that silly age requirement in the same way that we decided to throw that stupid “natural born citizen” thing out the window. Dry your tears. When you’re done sobbing and someone has changed your diaper, please consider proving the grownups wrong by actually learning how to do something other than take up space and breathe out toxic greenhouse gases. Here’s a list of ideas to get you started, things I learned how to do when I was young that I am grateful I know how to do now.

  • Parallel park

A couple of years ago, when I saw an ad for a car that relieves people of the horror of having to actually parallel park by doing it for them, my first thought was “seriously? When a male (alleged variety) buys this car does he have to start wearing panties?” if you don’t know how to parallel park, you have no business driving. Do as all a favor. Get off the road. Give the keys back to your mom, and get back to that crucial text message you were going to send while driving on the expressway.

  • Drive a car with a standard transmission (aka drive “a stick”)

Not exactly an essential skill these days, you say? Perhaps not when you borrow your mom’s van, but what if you want to drive something cool like this? You want to feel what it’s like to really drive this baby, as in feel the silky-smooth action of the 6-speed gear box, not just move the handle to “D” and cruise along like your grandmother (who by the way will never be texting while driving on the expressway because she is terrified to drive on the expressway). Plus even if you don’t think you’ll ever drive a $250,000 Aston Martin, it’s just cool to know how to do it, especially if you’re a girl. Never doubt me.

  • Make a yummy flaky pie crust from scratch

Of course, like you, on occasion, as in it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I have to cook and stuff the turkey, prepare several side dishes, and vacuum the entire house one more time (OCD can be a curse!), I have resorted to buying one of those perfectly formed, pre-fab pie enclosures, stamped out in some factory, which I can only hope isn’t in China. Thanks to my wonderful grandmother, who I miss every day now that she has passed, I don’t have to do that. I know how to make a real pie crust that is a dream of buttery flakiness, one that makes those cheater pie shells taste like cardboard by comparison. I probably should teach someone how to make a proper pie crust, lest the women of my generation and the previous one, take this secret with us when we go the next plain of existence.

I’m certainly glad I learned to do these three things back in the day. Yes, I know I sound like an old geezer. I’m not, but don’t get me started on multiplication tables.

What things are you glad you learned to do when you were young? Please comment here.


The Teri O'Brien Show