I was out walking yesterday morning when my path happened to cross a very loud piece of machinery. As I walked toward it, I felt compelled to plug my ears and so I did. I was now an adult walking down a street with both fingers pressed firmly into ears. It should have felt silly, but it didn’t.
Two men were walking toward me, away from the machine. The one in front looked like he was smirking at me. The one in back had his fingers in his ears. I smiled. As I got closer to the machine, I noticed that the 4 or 5 men standing around it all had bright orange ear protection squished firmly into their ears. And a man walking swiftly away ahead of me was plugging his ears with his fingers.
I grinned at the thought of three adults walking with their fingers in their ears like little children refusing to listen. And then it struck me. Smirking Man aside, maybe a sign of being a grown-up is losing that fear of looking stupid and replacing it with taking action that prevents you from actually being stupid. And maybe Smirking Man just hasn’t grown up yet. Some people get a late start. And some people never manage it at all.