You all know the feeling. Well, actually, maybe you don’t because I haven’t told you what said feeling is yet. OK, so in the sentence after this one you will know the feeling. Here it is: the feeling that you have just sort of fallen behind in life. The feeling that, no matter how many times you’ve paid the property tax on a Volvo sedan your parents gave you for $0 plus interest, you just haven’t made it as far as you were supposed to be by this point. The feeling that, when you strip away all the pomp and circumstance and that time you ran into Meghan Edmonds King in a random parking lot due to her yoga studio being located directly next to the Great Clips where you just got your hair cut, you are just kind of stuck in the mediocrity your parents told you would never be a part of after you read at a 6th grade level on the last day of 5th grade and they, for that brief moment, expected big things from you.
My point is that I have done things in my life for which I should be proud of, and yet, in spite of my father’s approval(ish) on that one occasion, I do not always feel like the success that I so obviously am (relatively speaking of course). Sometimes I feel like, well, a little less than that. Sometimes I feel like I haven’t done, or achieved, enough. The list below covers many of those times. The list below is also a solid representation of the reasons why.
How To Tell You Haven’t Quite Made It In Life Yet
1) Your car doesn’t have a backup camera-This is society’s most surefire way to determine who is smart and who is poor. Every day I have to suffer the indignity of turning my head in order to physically see what’s behind me while I back out of my parking space very slowly in my attempt not to ram into the headlights of my co-worker’s Hyundai Sonata and allow the resulting $500 bill to cause me to stand up on my desk during office hours and loudly proclaim bankruptcy. Every day I am also reminded that there are people who can afford to install a robot in their bumper that will display exactly what is behind their car while they back up on a screen in their dashboard. These people never have to turn their head while backing up. These people also make me realize that I may never have enough money to buy a Buick.
2) Your parents always pay for dinner-One time I was at my fiancé’s parents’ house watching some television with her and her mom and dad when everyone decided they were hungry and I made a furious call to the local Papa John’s. At the end of the conversation with the PJ customer service rep, I was asked for a method of payment, and after looking around awkwardly wondering if it was appropriate to ask other people’s parent’s for money, I just said 'f it' and pulled out my debit card, before weeping softly because I may or may not had just overdrawn my checking account after splurging on the cheesy bread. I had now bought 1 more meal for my fiance’s parents than I had ever bought for my own.
Seriously. I have never bought my parents frozen yogurt, much less an entire meal of food. When I order pizza at my parent’s house I tell the fella on the other end of the phone that we will be paying by check. And then the guy on the other end of the phone says they don’t take checks. Then I say that my family has been ordering from this Imo’s for 30 goddamn years. Then he says that this Imo’s has only been open for 14 years. Then a clumsy silence settles in over the telephone line while I breathe heavily and appear to sob. Then the guy tells me that, OK, they will take a check. Then I forge my dad’s signature on a check I found in the laundry room and eat an entire free pizza by myself. Turns out, my parents weren’t even home.
3) You would never go to the dentist if left to your own devices-I hate the dentist, and for good reason. One good reason primarily: my dental hygienist is always judging me for things like never having flossed in my 29 years on Earth and shrugging my shoulders when she asks me whether or not I think it is healthy to have pieces of breakfast sausage lodged between each and every one of my teeth. She also told me I need chapstick one time, which like, sure I did but why you gotta call me on it trick? That’s just bad manners. I don’t care how close you gotta work to my lip skin.
It is this hate that prevents me from making dental appointments on my own. This was a non-issue as an adolescent, considering my mom made my appointments for me and bribed me to not bite the hygenist’s gloved hand by promising me a copious amount of Qdoba for dinner if I behaved myself. However, now my mom’s bribes are worthless, considering that I have to drive 1.6 miles from my apartment to her house in order to enjoy the Qdoba she purchased with my inheritance. Turns out I love not moving more than I loved queso. Who knew? Anyways, as it turns out my better half was more than willing to pick up the slack from the woman that brought me into the world. And my fiance's method has nothing to do with bribery so… yeah. Ipso facto I still go to the dentist every 6 months without ever having decided to on my own. Son of a...
4) You bring taco bell to social gatherings-Look, I don’t know how to cook in general, and I definitely don’t know how to cook as well as the sous chefs at a little restaurant known in Latin America as Taco Campana. So if you invite me to a classy get together at what is also known in Latin America as your “casa” then I am going to bring you some gosh dang Taco Bell without even trying to pass it off as something I made myself, because it is delicious and my number one goal in life is to make other people happy. Also, using microwaves is hard. And I have never once “chopped” anything without bleeding on my henley. Put those together and what do you get? Not a lot of options besides a quesarito for this guy.
5) Your co-worker indirectly tells you you’re poor-Just about everyone in my office is younger than me, which is fantastic considering we all make roughly the same amount of money (I suspect they all make more money than me, but am afraid to admit this on the internet. Wait…) and several of them currently have dogs that are not dead while my only experience caring for a pet was when I released my brother’s turtle in our sandbox and then never saw the reptile again in my life. If you want to feel like a total geezer that ironically has no idea how to use "health insurance," go work for a start up when you’re 29 and already possess a noticeable bald-spot that no one mentions because you are so much taller than them that they can’t see the top of your head.
Case in point: one day a co-worker and I were walking back from lunch while said co-worker discussed what he saw for himself in terms of future earnings potential. “God,” he said in the middle of his dissertation, “If I’m not making six figures by the time I’m 29 or 30, just fucking shoot me.” “Right,” I said while looking at the ground and attempting not to cry in front of someone who has never seen a live episode of Saved By The Bell: College Years in their life. “Totally.” I then contemplated going to a gun show (clarification: not the kind I snapchat about) and purchasing a gun (don’t want that background check dog…) before realizing that I was too poor to both miss work and afford a firearm, and therefore too poor to shoot myself. That’s one positive thing you can say about relative poverty I suppose. It saves lives.
Long story not nearly as short as I intended it to be, I do not belief that my life, or the achievements that have taken place during the course of it, represent an abject failure. I have seen things. I have done things. To quote the late, great George Costanza (is he dead?): “If you take everything I’ve ever done in my entire life, and condense it down into one day...it looks decent.” And, when it’s all said and done, I am of the belief that decent really is good enough. At least that's what I tell myself before I go to sleep at night, right before I close my eyes and my actual reality fades away.