Young at Heart/ Old at Heart

Once again I got mixed up in assessing people's mental age (a concept my friend Whitney invented, where you assign someone an abstract age, which they usually remain for the bulk of their life . . . he says he will always be 19, partying and trying to drink under-age, like it's getting away with something, and I will always be 90, seen it all, crotchety, going to bed early, don't really care how I dress or what people think of me) and first I was doing it in class, because it is great to do for characters in fiction, but of course the students wanted me to assess them, so I would assign them arbitrary ages (two silly girls: I say: "You're three," and "You're four," one asks, "Can I be five?" and I say "Sure," and the other says, "Then I want to be five too, if she gets to be five!" and I say, "No, you really are three") and some of them get upset ("Do I have to be twelve?" "Yes you do," "I want to be twenty one!" "That's just what a twelve year old would say") and I got borderline insulting, calling Liz a bit "snotty" and Laura "passive aggressive" and then assigning them random ages, such as 24, 114, 55, 62, 13, but the funny thing is, everyone listens to you very intently when you do this, because you are talking exclusively about them, and we love it when someone talks about us exclusively, even if the opinions are unfounded and stupid.


Whitney said...

The science of mental age and its assignment is anything but unfounded!

In my latest discovery, mental age can either be static (like in Dave's case; he has been 91 since I ment him), or in some cases, shifting over time. My brother-in-law has always been about ten years behind his biological age. So he went to college when he was actually 8, and you might guess the result: he lasted one year because of video games and irresponsibility. He got 2 DUI's after turning 21 because he was really just 11 or 12. Who could drink and drive at that age?? In his early thirties he finally moved out of his parents' basement, which, factoring in mental age, is about right.

I am now going to commence writing a book on this. Most of the book will be ridiculous stories. The details of those DUI's are the type of silliness that will keep the pages turning.

Whitney said...

And Dave, please be careful with your unlicensed, amateur assigning of mental ages. It takes a skilled professional to get it right. You could put an eye out that way.

Dave said...

i will tell my classes that someday they might want to schedule an appointment with you for a professional consultation.

and i think when you met me, i was 9, and then i turned 91 sometime after college.

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