I must gentle readers plead ignorance. It was only this week that I discovered a new verb had been added to the English language:
Adulting (v): to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups.
Used in a sentence: Jane is adulting quite well today as she is on time for work promptly at 8am and appears well groomed.
MILTON! thou shouldst be living at this hour...
New words emerge to describe new things. Apparently behaving as 99.9% of the human race behaved until the day before yesterday is something worthy not only of comment but also verbification. When adjectives become verbs a special idiocy is loosened upon the world. I first saw this new word in that venerable publication of the mildly zany Left, Slate:
When the researchers controlled for route, seating class, time, and date, women’s savings attributable to early planning shrunk to $17 per ticket, about 2 percent of the airfare. (The men might have chosen more expensive seats and more convenient times, making them culpable for their higher prices in more ways than just their procrastination, but the report doesn’t address that possibility.) In a large, multinational organization with 21,000 employees taking four trips each per year, the authors estimate, women would save the company more than $1 million a year just by booking earlier than their male counterparts. Or, to look at it another way, the men would cost the company an extra $1 million by waiting later to book their flights.
That long and winding road came from an article with the title "Women are great at Adulting." Apparently women are better planners or something. Well that or men are more likely to hold down sales and executives positions where travelling is very time sensitive. That would be the obvious point to make, a point which most adults engaged in actual "adulting" would have made as a matter of course. Having however fallen down the rabbit hole of "adulting" I soon came across a website and a book. The book description is a little glimpse into hell:
Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all begins with this funny, wise, and useful book. Based on Kelly Williams Brown's popular blog, ADULTING makes the scary, confusing "real world" approachable, manageable-and even conquerable. This guide will help you to navigate the stormy Sea of Adulthood so that you may find safe harbor in Not Running Out of Toilet Paper Bay, and along the way you will learn:
-What to check for when renting a new apartment-Not just the nearby bars, but the faucets and stove, among other things.
-When a busy person can find time to learn more about the world- It involves the intersection of NPR and hair-straightening.
-How to avoid hooking up with anyone in your office -- Imagine your coworkers having plastic, featureless doll crotches. It helps.
-The secret to finding a mechanic you love-Or, more realistically, one that will not rob you blind.
From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.
This is why Islamic terrorists think they can win. They survey what's left of Western Civilization and see a race of man-children guarding the battlements. Sure we have smart bombs and WiFi but tools - however sophisticated - in the hands of children cease to be tools. Flipping through some of the book's advice I was appalled. So much of this was obvious to me - and virtually everyone I knew - when I was finishing up elementary school. Then again my father thought Oprah was a cynical fraud playing to the worst elements of feminine vanity and weakness. In having bred a race of snowflakes and moral weaklings we come to the logical endpoint: A race of adults where the concept of being an adult is so alien that a new word must evolve in order for them to cope with this outlandish turn of events called growing up.
When confronted with these little gumdrops of the approaching apocalypse, I ask myself one question repeatedly: Did these people have parents?
In the strict biological sense the answer is yes. A man and woman at one point had sex and produced a human being. As to the trickier part of being a parent - preparing their young wards to survive beyond the confines of the parental nest - the answer is very much no. At some point in the aftermath of the 1960s it was assumed that everything old was bad and everything new was good. That whatever your grandmother believed must be false not through logic or observation but instead by the date on the calendar. The rules, principles and practices that guided the West from hunter gatherer to superpower were just old fashioned superstitions to be ditched with yesterday's hemlines. It is now very plain that this was no great insight, no glimpse of what might be, it was instead old fashioned hubris pure and simple.
Toynbee's famous observation about civilizations committing suiciding rather than being murdered is about right. There is something about success - about being so very successful for so very long - that makes even whole nations think that the laws of gravity no longer apply. That this time it really is different. This thing we call Western Civilization has been on one hell of ride for the last few hundred years: Renaissance, Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, Parliamentary government and pizza delivery to your doorstep. Had to end sometime. We end not with a bang as expected but with a long pathetic whine as we run out of toilet paper.