Do any of you miss the voice of authority?
Assuming that those of you reading it are, nominally at least, adults, and thus, have been your own authority for quite some time.
I’m not talking about the IRS, the President, or the cops, all of whom (hopefully) do not represent the kind of authority I am talking about.
I’m talking about the people who used to tell you what to do and you did it. Not because you were necessarily afraid of them, but because at least on some level you knew that they had your best interests in mind and that if you did what they said it was inherently good for you, if not fun to do. And also because you were afraid of them.
My wrestling coach. My German teacher. An ex-girlfriend I had lots and lots of great sex with and whose opinion I cared very much about until I found that she was already in a committed relationship. My first writing professor at college.
All of these people – and more; my parents and a few aunts and uncles play no small part in this pantheon – made me do what I needed to do when I needed to do it.
Which is not to say that they so much molded what I wanted to become or what I should be doing as motivated me – actually, forced me – into doing things that were good for me but that were, well, hard.
Authority. Painful. And fucking annoying.
Would I ever have run five miles if I hadn’t had someone calling me a pussy? Would I have learned a foreign language if my prissy foreign language teacher hadn’t threatened to ruin my university credit? Would I have learned to get up at 6 A.M. with a hangover if I hadn’t had my father’s expectations and a potential shaming to face instead?
Does anyone else feel this way? You spend all of this time growing up and then when you get there you figure out that there is all of this wondrous freedom.
You can do whatever the hell you want, really. Within reason, which means whatever the hell you want. Right? Laws and constraints of economics pale in comparison with all of the shit we prevent ourselves from doing on a daily basis. Want to sleep with that chick at the checkout lane at Kroger’s? You could probably do it. What’s holding you back? Want to shoot some heroin? You know you’d get away with it. Want to run a marathon? Your employer or your children aren’t robbing you of that much time, are they?
Want to hang ass-naked from inversion boots for 48 hours every weekend, naked, eating Cheetos and rubbing that orange chemical shit all over your nipples while watching old reruns of Ren and Stimpy?
What’s that, you say? Inversion boots are too expensive?
Shit, most of us are incapable of driving a different route to work, let alone thinking about something differently, trying a different approach, or speaking out in the face of even minor adversity.
So much for all of that glorious freedom and democracy Fox is always talking about.
Of course, as we were told a million jillion times growing up, with all of that glorious freedom comes all that responsibility. You have to motivate yourself to get up in the morning, to learn new things, to run five miles. I know that this isn’t such a profound concept. Those of us who were told about the “real world” had ample time to prepare for it, didn’t we?
And that really fucking sucks. That is the hardest part about being an adult.
I miss authority. Quick, somebody come tell me what to do.
Wag the Dad
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