American Family, If We Could Self-Identify As The Age We Were When We Were At What We Believe Was The Top Of Our Game

Photo by Alena Darmel on

Dad (is 65; identifies as 21): Cute like Brian Jones. Wears flared jeans and a Henley shirt. Feels most comfortable when discussing his favorite music–the Stones, Pink Floyd, Hendrix–and reminding people not to touch his vinyl collection. Refers to women as “chicks.” When removing leaves and stems from a substance still banned in many states, often wonders aloud how people who don’t own actual record albums do it.

Mom (is 64; identifies as 3): Insists on wearing her pink and blue tutu everywhere, including Bible study and meetings with her financial adviser. Her favorite song is “Happy Birthday,” which she will sing when pulled over for traffic violations, while waiting in the supermarket line and during weddings. Will scream and beat her heels against the chair rungs if the waitress serves her toast cut in half instead of in triangles. Must have her blanky bear or she can’t sleep.

Older son (is 39; identifies as 5): Is in love with his kindergarten teacher. Likes what he calls “comfy pants,” with elastic waists and nothing scratchy. Carries his laptop in a Scooby Doo backpack. Likes colored marshmallows in his cocoa. Won’t eat green beans, asparagus or anything he deems “spicy.” Insisted on honeymooning at Legoland. Still dreams of playing professional T-ball. What’s on his bedside table: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”

Younger daughter (is 37; identifies as 27): Loves Shelley Long. Tried to start a 20-Minute Workout club on her college campus. Does Jazzercise. Has at least 60 pairs of legwarmers.  Watches “St. Elmo’s Fire” at least once a month. Her favorite game is Pac-Man, and her number one dessert is frozen yogurt with Oreos and gummy bears. Keeps hoping for a remake of “Dirty Dancing.” Is known as the most normal person in her family.

Grandma (is 88; identifies as 13): Likes to point out that she can practically still fit into the pleated skirt and letter sweater that was her junior high school cheerleading outfit. Will sooner or later do a cheer demonstration at any gathering, including Christmas parties and her friends’ funerals: “Our team is red HOT! Our team is red HOT!” Insists on wearing her wedding ring around her neck on a chain. When the League of Women Voters brainstorms fundraising ideas, she invariably suggests a sock hop.

Grandpa (is 90; identifies as 42): Never shuts up about Watergate.

Grandchild (is 12; identifies as 0): Thinks floating and slo-mo somersaulting should be Olympic sports. Campaigns in favor of thumb-sucking with the slogan, “Unborn this Way.” Can’t sleep without a red disco-ball ceiling light and noise-canceling headphones set on “bubbles.” Prefers food and drink that can be ingested via intravenous tube but will use a straw if necessary. Tends to be awake when everyone else is asleep, and vice versa. Refuses to participate when headstands are taught in gym class because they cause anxiety attacks. Resists change.

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