Inside Doug's Head

For all your intelligence, you seem unable to know where you are wanted.

At the event of his 80th birthday, George Burns (this happened after he was God, but before he died) declared that he felt the same at 80 as he did when he was 17, which tells us what a pathetic 17 year old he was, and then everyone in the audience laughed; it was back when jokes were funny and comedians focused on making people laugh.

There are times when I find myself thinking that I feel the same way on the inside as I did when I was younger, and older friends and family have reaffirmed with me their sense that they also feel the same as they did when they were kids.

Except, it can’t really be true. We might think we feel the same, the feeling of you being you has never changed, and the cognizance of your own sentience has been with you as long as you can remember. Even the inner dialogue seems immutable. Still, something must be different.

It might be somewhat reassuring to imagine that everyone on the inside is a timid 13 year old, all frightened by reasons and scary things. Except, even though we hear the same inner voice all our lives—the voice that tells us that just because there are pictures of kittens on the toilet paper packaging does not mean that it would be a good idea to wipe your bum with the neighbors cat—that voice, in your head, has not been saying the exact same thing the whole time. Its tone is familiar, but its message has slowly changed.

When I really think about it, I am not at all like I was when I was younger. In a few ways I am not quite as good, I hurt a lot more now and I got fatter with age and food, but in many ways, ways that really matter, I am much better, now.

These days, I have become much more confident in myself and my opinions, and I no longer feel like I need to try out bad ideas to see how they go. Now, when someone asks me if I like German food, I can confidently reply, “With the exception of the cake, no, I do not enjoy fodder from the Black Forest. There’s a reason that twice in a century the German Empire went on a quest for world domination in search of something good to eat, and I am pretty certain that the next global conflagration will be started by them, too, and for the very same reason.”

There are other examples, like how I yell, “Screw China!” all the time, which is something that I hardly ever did as a child. Also, I am much more patient and less tolerant than I was before. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

Yes, I will always suffer crippling anxiety about going to your awful event or party and being confined in a room full of boring strangers who only want to talk about their work and how they found the best route to take to drive to work, but now that I am older I realize that it’s actually your fault for inviting me. Please stop inviting me. That’s what I am trying to say. Stop inviting me, and screw China.


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