The Roaring Twenties

Not only would I never go, but I'd probably also consult the fire marshal regarding the lack of clearly marked exits.

At 23 I’m the second-youngest person working at my company, and only because a middle manager in my department hired an assistant who was born three months after I was. As a result, I have a lot of friends at the office who are in their late 20s and early 30s who find my low age quaint and endearing, like I’m an old Amish woman selling hand churned butter.

A couple of weeks ago I was over at a friend’s apartment, playing with his mentally retarded Boston Terrier and chatting with his fiancé, when I mentioned that I was 23.

“You’re 23!?” She shrieked. Turning to my friend John in the kitchen, she yelled, “Why didn’t you tell me you were bringing a 23 year old into our house?” Back to me: “What are you doing sitting around playing with our dog? It’s a Tuesday night! You should be at a blacklight party or something! Make the most of your age! Sooner or later you’ll have to settle down and be boring like us.”

They’re both 29.

I think people nearing the golden twilight years of their 30s tend to romanticize the idea of being in their 20s. I’m pretty sure I’ll be one of them too, since about half of this blog now is me waxing poetical about years gone by.* That being said, with the benefit of being in my 20s now, I can say that while I’m having a great time, they don’t seem to be the highlight reel of debauchery and shenanigans that my elders expect them to be.

*”Oh man, remember when I was in college? Boy, I didn’t appreciate Taco Tuesdays enough at the time! Here, let me tell you about more of the differences between Portland and Los Angeles!

Take, for example, this article from Thought Catalog, the sort of blog that, if it had a home office and a print edition, would be based in Williamsburg and would call itself a ‘Zine,’ because the publishers live life at such a fast pace that they simply don’t have time to sit around saying shit like ‘maga.’ According to the author of ’21 Ways You Should Take Advantage Of Your 20s’, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do if I’m going to make the most of the next seven (almost six!) years:

11. Stay up late. In your 20s, you’re all, “Let’s go to another bar!” “Who wants to eat at a diner?” “Have you guys seen the sun rise from the High Line?”When you get older, this becomes, “What are you doing? Go home. Watch Parks and Rec and go to sleep.”

This one put me on the defensive from the get go because it looks like they’re trying to knock Parks and Recreation. What’s more, I love staying up late, but what’s being described here is staying out late, of which I am not as big of a fan.
Staying up late is playing Mario Kart, or making a last ditch suicide charge for Australia in Risk, or inventing a Starship Troopers drinking game (ideally with your friends). Staying out late is all standing in line to get into obscenely loud and crowded bars, or standing in line to get a drink at an obscenely loud and crowded bar, or standing around holding the drink with nowhere to sit because the bar is obscenely crowded and not being able to participate in the conversation because it’s obscenely loud. The first season of Parks and Recreation may have been weak, but at least I was sitting down when I watched it.

19. Take road trips. Sitting in a car for days on end isn’t something your body was designed to do forever.

Bitch, please. I mean, we’ve established that I like sitting down, but I don’t love it so much that I want to do an 18-hour sitting marathon with sparse and inadequate toilet facilities just to get through Nebraska. San Francisco is only a six hour drive from LA, but I opted to go with the 50 minute plane ride instead, because my 20s are apparently precious and I don’t want to waste a big chunk of them getting to and from places in the most inefficient way possible for nostalgia’s sake.

12. Savor those 20s hangovers. They are a gift from God so that you’ll always remember what your tolerance level is. Your hangover recovery time is like flippin’ Wolverine in your 20s. You wake up, feel like death, pull on some shades, gulp down coffee or maybe a bloody Mary and whine about your headache over brunch.

How dare you. Trivializing how I felt after my Funeral Party junior year, or Franzia Friday as a senior, or December 28th of last year as ‘a gift from God’ is like calling the Khmer Rouge ‘a bunch of awesome dudes with machetes!’ Sure, I was able to suck down approximately two quarts of Potter’s whiskey on a Taco Tuesday and bike to class the next day at 10:00 AM, but only because I would pound three quarts of water before bed. That was a thing I definitely can’t do now, and even then there were some mornings where I woke up vowing to never drink again.

On a related note, what the hell is this brunch thing people keep talking about? I hear about it from the New York and San Francisco crowd all the time, and last time I checked, brunch requires you to get up before noon on a weekend. I like eggs and pancakes as much as the next guy – fortunately, Denny’s serves breakfast all day, and the one by my place is so low key they probably wouldn’t mind if I snuck in some champagne for my orange juice.

7. Play a sport you played in elementary school. Kickball, dodgeball. There are leagues for these games now. Get on it.

Ah, elementary school kickball. When my team was kicking I always made a point of standing at the absolute back of the kicking order and then letting everyone cut in front of me after they’d kicked so I never had to go, and when we were fielding I usually found a good spot in the deep outfield and hoped that everyone would forget I was there until class was over and I could eat lunch. I hated kickball so much that I got good at avoiding playing it. As I recall, my not playing kickball average was almost unrivaled all through elementary and middle school, and my streak continues today, as I have not so much as seen a kickball game in approximately ten years. Joining a kickball league now would seriously jeopardize my chances of getting into the Avoiding Playing Kickball Hall of Fame. 

16. Avoid Burning Man.

This is… Actually, I totally agree with this one.

5. Enjoy all the sex marathons you’re having in your 20s, dudes.

Duly noted. Next time I’m slogging through one of my triweekly sex marathons I’ll try to look on the bright side.

Truman Capps, world’s youngest curmudgeon.