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The Kicker | Magazine

What I thought I’d be doing at age 50, according to my childhood self

I would be quite elderly and probably close to death at all times. And I would live in a glass penthouse and drive a talking car.

(Scotty Reifsnyder)

I just rounded the hard corner of my 50th birthday, and if one thing has become clear, it’s that the gap between what I thought I’d be doing by now and what I’m actually doing is, let’s say, substantial.

For example, by the time I turned 50 I obviously would’ve spent my entire adult life commuting in a seamless and aesthetically pleasing way to my job. My office would be spacious, my desk very cool. My job would primarily involve going away from my house, spending most of my day drinking coffee, chitchatting with my many co-workers, then returning home to complain at great length while drinking whiskey. In fact, most of my adult life would revolve around beverages and complaining. (This has actually turned out to be true.)

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If, for some unfathomable reason, the Jetsons’ instant-spaceship-that-folds-into-a-briefcase didn’t work out (and there was no good reason it shouldn’t), I would at a minimum have a talking car. In fact, everyone would have talking cars. Talking cars would be the base model. Wonder Woman’s invisible jet and instant-spaceships-that-fold-into-a-briefcase would be the luxury upgrades. I, of course, would be able to afford these upgrades since I would be making millions of dollars.

By the time I turned 50, when I would be quite elderly and probably close to death at all times, I would mostly just sit around in my space rocking chair. My space rocking chair would hover above the floor in my penthouse apartment that I had bought with the many piles of money I made doing my regular adult job. This might seem like an obvious detail, but my penthouse apartment would be made entirely of glass.

I would’ve long since passed every significant adult milestone, including getting married to someone “not gross” who also liked to eat only the marshmallows from Lucky Charms. We would easily have all the children we wanted (however that happened, but it seemed pretty easy given the evidence all around me).

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By the time I turned 50, my children would be grown and I would have approximately 37 grandchildren who would probably wear pressed clothing of the sort found on royal heirs. They would be spellbound by every word that dropped from my super-old mouth. When not listening to me or playing quietly and cooperatively together, they would sit with their hands folded in their laps. They would not fidget.

By the time I turned 50, I would be famous. This would be in addition to my regular adult job. I would frequently go on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson even though he would be approximately 200 years old. This may seem like another obvious detail, but I would wear gowns made of diamonds pretty much all the time.

By the time I turned 50, women would be running 50 percent of everything! Just like having boys and girls soccer teams, everything else in the world would be divvied up equally. And while boys and girls would certainly be competitive with one another, we would always root for the other team when the stakes were high, just like we did during state playoffs.

Boys could be nurses or neurosurgeons. Girls could be presidents or physical education teachers. Anything would go, because we learned that everyone could do every job. Not like in the 1950s when everything was so specific and weird. Whew, thank goodness that would be over!

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By the time I turned 50, I would obviously be retired.

Wow, kids are so dumb.


Kimberly Harrington is a comedy writer and essayist in Vermont. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.