A few days ago, on my 39th birthday, I had to go to Best Buy to buy a cable.
I stood in line but stopped to browse the rack of birthday cards, remembering I had to buy one for my niece. I said “Go ahead of me” to the guy behind me, but he was already lumbering past me.
Even out of the corner of my eye, I could feel his nervous, violent energy. He was looking at his hands, then at the floor, then around himself. His movements were as jerky as a black and white cartoon.
I was surprised to see that he was a teenager--tall and loping, like a basketball player, but young. He wore baggy pants and a torn shirt featuring some band I had never heard of. Pumped full of some kind of manic energy, he constantly looked as though he was going to stop, drop, and roll. I thought what any older adult thinks when encountering such an individual: “Must be drugs.”
The young man finished his purchase, then turned to me and said “I’ve been in places like this all morning. They suck out MY ENERGY, MAN.”
I noticed that his wallet, attached to his pocket by a gold chain, was dragging on the ground. It flopped open, revealing a driver’s license behind fuzzy plastic. I said, “Hey, careful there. I think you want your wallet.”
He collected it and stormed out the door. I bought my cable and card, then left. And he was sitting out there on the curb, staring at me.
He shouted at me, “COME TALK TO ME MAN.” I waved at him. “NO NO,” he insisted. “COME TALK TO ME. COME ON, COME TALK TO ME.”
I headed to my car. “HEY. WHAT ARE YOU, TEN YEARS OLDER THAN ME? COME ON. YOU’RE SOME KIND OF BUSINESSMAN, AND BEFORE YOU DESTROY THE WORLD AND MY FUTURE, COME TALK TO ME!”
I waved at him again. “Ten years? That’s great!”
He started screaming. “I HATE YOU, YOU #*&*&*! ALL I’M ASKING IS FOR YOU TO COME TALK TO ME! YOU @*(&*@&*&!! WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME!”
But I was busy calculating in my head. The kid was no older than 18. If he thought I was ten years older, that put me at 28...eleven years younger than my actual age.
So I want to dedicate this post, Kasey Kasem-style, to that young, drugged out, badly dressed young man. You did me a solid. I hope you clean up and get straight, and maybe listen to some decent music. I mean, sure, you’re as loopy as a loon...but does that mean that you were wrong in how you assessed my youthful appearance? I think not.
Thanks buddy! And in return for the compliment, I will do my solemn best not to destroy your world.