(This is part of a series of posts. See here for the introduction.)
Here's the thing: I don't have many clothes that look like anything purchased in the last 5 (ok, 10) years. Why? Because I don't need to buy new clothes (I tell myself). All my clothes still fit that I wore in high school. It's not like I'm getting any bigger or smaller. I also don't have the money to just go buy some new clothes. All that money has been diverted to diapers and wipes and regular professional household carpet cleanings for when the first two items don't work together. (We don't really have literal crap all over our carpet. It's mostly just milk or juice from when the kids play the game "We're a couple of ninjas that can sneak any drink or snack out of the kitchen to handle carelessly in the family room." Their game, my name.) Plus I've never had to think about staying current with my clothing. When you're young, you buy clothes at least every year for school (Something mom's like to do way more than the kids, by the way. I'm pretty sure the new clothes are 80% for them.). Stores sell whatever is in style and current so, by default, you dress in things that are usually pretty current. But I haven't done any significant clothes buying in about a decade and it shows in everything I wear.
Here's a good example. This is a picture Angie and I took about 10 years ago in a photo booth, not long after we started dating...
Hey wait! There's Patrick and our current kitchen and an aggressively receding hairline! You know why? That picture was taken last weekend while the kids were helping me make chili. SAME. SHIRT.
It's been that same way for movies and culture in general. Now, I've seen movies in the last 10 years. But, not a lot of them. Especially in the last 4 years. Last movie I saw in the theater? Winnie the Pooh. Before that? Couldn't even name it. Iron Man maybe? That movie came out in 2008. It's now 2012. I used to practically memorize movies I liked and could quote them all day long. Movies like Tommy Boy, Billy Madison, Office Space, The Usual Suspects and dozens of others were cataloged in my mental movie bank and could be recalled at will.
The problem is that I still quote those movies, only nobody under 23 knows what I'm talking about. Right now it's just awkward but I'm hoping that I can keep this up for another ten years and then just pretend I'm some kind of time traveler when talking to younger people. Here's how I'm thinking that conversation would go...
Walking down the street listening to some Pearl Jam, I get stopped by two teenagers. They look worried.
Teen 1: Hey man, are you ok?
Me: (singing) Jeremy spooookee iiiinnn....sorry, what?
Teen 2: Are. You. Ok?
Me: Oh yea, I'm fine. Just rockin' out. What are you dudes up to?
Teen 1: You just looked a little...out of place...you from around here?
Me: Yep, right up the road. What do you mean "out of place"?
Teen 1 to Teen 2: (whispering) See?! I told you he doesn't even know.
Teen 2 to Teen 1: This is crazy! How could you tell?
Teen 1 to Teen 2: Just look at his clothes. He's wearing green cargo pants and a baseball tee and doesn't show any sign of embarrassment. He either just woke up from a coma or is a visitor from the past. He probably couldn't even tell us who the president is.
Me: Guys, I can hear you. And to answer you, the president is David Palmer. Hah! Nailed it.
Teen 2: What? Who is David Palmer?
Me: You guys watch 24, right?
Teen 1: What?
Teen 2: What are you talking about?
Me: Nothing. I just thought...I mean, I know you're young but...I thought maybe you'd...it's gotta be YOUR bull. . .
Teen 1: ...
Me: Tommy Boy reference? No?
Teen 1: ...
Teen 2: Anyway, are you feeling ok? Does the jump make you nauseous or anything?
Me: The jump? I'll tell you who will make you jump. Kriss Kross! Amirite? Come on guys, up high!
Teen 1: I'm not giving him a high five. Who knows what germs he brought with him from the past.
Me: Oooooh, you guys think I'm from the past?
Teen 2: Well, yea. Look at you. The cargos, the iPod 4th gen, the blank but happy look in your eyes.
Me: What? These cargos? Are they not cool any more?
Teen 1: They were never cool.
Me: Oh no, they were definitely cool. Ask your Dad. He'll tell you.
Teen 1: My Dad is the most uncool person I know. I'm not asking him anything.
Me: Suit yourself. Someday though, you'll be wearing his clothes. When you finally get a job and realize you don't have any clothes that fall into the category "business casual."
Teen 2: No way. My mom will take me shopping for new clothes when that happens. She LOVES doing that.
Teen 1: Yea, what is that with them?
Teen 2: I don't know. I can't figure it out.
Me: Good to know some things never change. Anyway, trust me. It'll happen. Also, you should pick good music to like right now because you'll be listening to it for most of the rest of your life. And the jokes you think are funny now? You'll still think they're funny 20 years from now and so will your friends but nobody else will. You'll turn into a human version of that morning drive-time radio your parents listen to now while they hover car you to school (side note: can we PLEASE get hover cars in 10 years?). You and your circle of 5 friends will all think witty, sarcastic jokes about TPS Reports or whatever the modern equivalent is are hysterical and the rest of the youthful world will roll their eyes.
Teen 1: That sounds horrible.
Me: Well, at that point, you really have two options: you can convince yourself they "just don't get it" and whine about "kids today" and turn into a bitter old person that thinks their generation is better than any other or you can understand what's happening. Accept it. You're getting older and less relevant. It's what happens. Just embrace it and be happy you're still around. It doesn't matter that what you enjoy is old. You enjoy it, and that's what matters.
Teen 2: That explains the blank but happy look.
Me: Ok guys. I gotta run. I need to pick up some stuff from the store then text my wife that I'm on the way home.
Teen 1 to Teen 2: Holy crap he still texts! Hahahahaha! I bet he's one of those weirdos that still pays for a cell phone even though the cell chip is implanted in our ears at birth! Let's promise each other now that we don't turn into that.
Teen 2 to Teen 1: Definitely. I don't care how old I get. I'm not going to be that lame. These jean shorts are cool now and they always will be.