THUNDER BAY – Feature – I am not an advocate for being a total idiot, but sometimes it may not be such a bad thing.
Remember the movie “Big?” For the uninitiated, this movie is about a 12-year-old kid named Josh, who makes a wish on a carnival game to be big (because he was too short to go on a ride). He wakes up as Tom Hanks – and 1980s Tom Hanks, so he’s a handsome dude.
Now that he’s an adult, Josh has to get a job, an apartment and of course, a girl. In the beginning of his supernatural journey, Josh outfits his apartment with a Pepsi machine, trampoline and bunk beds; he sprays silly string snot on his friend and raises his hand at board meetings like he’s in Math class.
In one scene, Josh invites a girl to his apartment after a fancy party and tries to get her to jump on his trampoline. She protests for no good reason, other than her belief that only kids jump on trampolines. But because he’s Tom Hanks – and let’s face it, Tom Hanks is pretty charming – Josh eventually convinces her and she giggles like a little girl as she jumps high into the air in her frilly dress.
Later in the movie, Josh adapts to his adult life and becomes less silly and more responsible and stressed, abandoning his best friend in the process, who yells at him: “And I’m three months older than you are (expletive)!”
We’re all going to end up where Josh is. Adult life is obligation, responsibility, bills and stress. There’s no way out of it. That’s why when we’re young, we should get the crazy out of our systems and yes, maybe kind of behave like idiots.
In other words, we should jump on the trampoline.
Youth is about having fun, loving freely, experiencing new things, trying on different personalities and interests while you find out who you are. And it’s sometimes about being a little crazy and stupid.
Your youth is not the time for seriousness.
Unfortunately, I was never truly young. By 18, I had already adopted the caution and worry that you don’t usually acquire until adulthood. And I missed out on a lot – I avoided socializing with kids my age, I didn’t date much and I always went to bed on time.
And now I’m an adult and no longer carry the free pass to be stupid – they just issue those to kids in their early 20s. Idiocy does have an expiration date; even Josh soon realized that you have to get off the trampoline sometimes and go to work and he was only 12.
But you should carry something into adulthood: a sense of whimsy and silliness that keeps you from taking things too seriously. You don’t want to be a drag, like Josh’s whiny co-worker – played by John Heard – who makes fun of his innocence (“I don’t get it. I don’t get it. Let’s make it a bug”).
Be young when you’re young and don’t be in a rush to grow up like Josh Baskin. You may not get big over night, but sometimes, it seems like youth passes you by in a second.
Feature Journalist & Short Fiction Writer