Milestones

We’re a world filled with milestones or rite of passages or atta-girls-way-to-go or whatever you want to call it when you’ve managed to accomplish something a little more exciting than consuming oxygen. You know those special occasions where only a Hallmark money holder card can properly express “yay”.

There was the first birthday – well, you don’t remember it, but you’ve seen the photographic proof in the form of some bald oddly familiar looking midget smeared in chocolate, clutching clumps of cake while smiling under a shiny drool glaze. At your repeat performance at 21, you wished for the days when there were actual negatives to burn. Darn the digital age. Darn your friends. Darn camera phones.

Then there was the rapid fire of “first” milestones: first tooth, first word (God help you if you said anything other than “mama” or “dada”, because that could easily become the stuff of family lore and make an embarrassing appearance at your wedding toast), first step, first haircut (well, for some of you that didn’t occur until you were around 10 – my friends were very bald kids). I had some additional first – I remember the first time I tied my shoes without doing the bunny rabbit ears thing and the first sandwich I made (mustard on white bread – it foreshadowed my later culinary prowess – yes, keep insisting I come to your potluck, I dare you) – my first garage sale (turns out my cheap parents didn’t think my Casper the Friendly Ghost book was worth $1k – clearly not the refined class of customers my trailer Neiman Marcus sale aspired to cater to).

The school years hit and you graduate from Kindergarten, move in with the big kids in Jr. High and then try to lay low your Freshman year of high school to avoid the “fish” hazing. (I didn’t do such a great job there and managed to have my foot tied to a door hinge (nothing beats hopping on one foot trying to undo a knot on a middle hinge) and stuffed in a trashcan because I may have told someone they couldn’t physically do that – while that’s true now, at 120 lbs. it was really no problem as they made quite apparent.) Then you just have to survive to make it through prom – get the dress, get the picture, get out of there as soon as possible (well, the part where we ate out was nice, but the country musicians who thought Tears for Fears was a song caused me a great deal of pain) and yay, you’re at graduation. You throw your hat up, bid farewell and promise to catch up at some future reunion that springs up on you way too fast.

From there you might have a higher education speed bump, but pretty much you’re watching as friends get married, friends have kids, friends get divorced, friends live on your couch and you suddenly realize you don’t have a namesake (is it too much to ask that someone be named after me – a pet? some wallpaper?) and you’re on the fast track to becoming a spinster – I’m talking about “you” here, this isn’t some veiled “me” story – stop looking at me.

Then the funerals start and I have to admit that’s the least fun as you lose the people who adore you and who have known you all your life and even forgive that you’re a terrible writer, but they’re still supportive. Hello, “you” again, not “me”. You read too much into these posts.

Now I’m confronted with the latest in insults… err, milestones. The “I need a magnifying glass” milestone. Sure, it’s a relatively minor milestone, but I don’t like it just the same. This is the one where I surrender playing the game of sticking things close to my face and pulling them back slowly then moving them quickly back in a sad attempt to find that perfect spot with the perfect lighting so I can actually read them. Thankfully, this currently only affects software manuals where the tech writers bust out the 8 pt. font (which for the record should be illegal) and print it on a grey backgrounds (again, should be illegal) or my other favorite – black 8 pt. font on a lovely deep red and they use something like Arial when all the best research (best because it backs up my point) says that Times Roman is easier on the eyes thanks to those serifs. Sans serif – what cruel under 40 thought that was a fine idea? From here on forward, thanks to these cruel individuals, I’m going to look like a cast off from some Sherlock Holmes comedy hour as I cautiously approach things with my giant spy glass trying to discover what the black smudge on grey means – all because we can’t either print on a white background that isn’t glossy or at least print in 10 pt. font. I smell age discrimination!

Next up, I’ll be buying baby gifts for my friend’s kids. It wasn’t enough that they’re all off at college minding their own milestones, they just had to throw in an extra “make mom’s friend with the spy glass feel old”. Sheesh. Kids these days. Probably can read 8 pt. Arial font on glossy grey, too. Was there some show-off milestone I missed along the way?

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