The Ambiguities of Maturity

February 2005

Since I'm on a roll with this first person thing, here's another: Since my wife and I are not old enough to get a flu shot due to the shortage, my wife -- always looking out for my health -- says at dinner, "One way to minimize getting the flu is to take a daily multi-vitamin." "O.K.," I respond, "good idea." She indicates where the multi-vitamins are. I get up. I say, "Sweetie, there are two bottles of multi-vitamins and both are pretty full. Which one is it?" She says, "It's obvious which one you're supposed to take." (My wife is notoriously bad at giving instructions, although she's very good at taking them, which makes up for everything.)

So I inspect both bottles, but they have identical labels. I'm puzzled. I finally see that one says "Mature Adults." So I figure the other one is for the kids. I take one from the "Mature Adults" bottle, and down it.

Then I say, "Why does it say 'Mature Adults'? Isn't 'Adults' sufficient?" I'm advised that "Mature" is a euphemism for old.

So I throw out a one-liner, "I'm so relieved that I'm no longer immature." No one laughs. I'm thinking to myself, why is everyone so sour tonight? But I don't really want to inspect the emotional state of the family -- something we men try to avoid.

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New Oxford Notes: February 2005

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