Sometimes sitting in a meeting is like detention. You endure the circle at the spring fair committee or board room. Some sort of heated discord erupts and your mind wanders back to the ’80… The iconic film that allowed us a glimpse into a Saturday in the life of a nerd, a freak, a jock, a princess and a burnout comes to mind. You realize that they are all sitting here with you right now! Most likely you aren’t stoned on the floor of the school library speaking so frankly. But don’t you sometimes wish you could really unload and then leave with perfectly clear heads, relationships refreshed, differences aside and the assurance that you’ll speak on Monday?
Of course we never do this because unlike the escalated drama among the teens in the Breakfast Club, adults get insulted when you tell them they could disappear forever and nobody would notice. Unlike high school, where you leave and forget, adults can hold onto stuff like gum under a desk.
Tongue-biting is an excellent way to save your spot on the committee or your job. I would also posit that only extended family at Christmas dinner make you so mad as to say such an awful thing.
On the plus side, we know instinctively not to criticize the guy who took shop in high school, A. Because it’s arrogant and B. He probably went on to start a plumbing empire while you received severance from the law/investment/insurance/tech/advertising firm that dumped you out of the blue.
When I listen to an adult bickering over who has the superior idea, the following Breakfast Club scene plays in my mind:
Nerd, crying: “In shop I made an elephant lamp. When you pulled the trunk, the light was supposed to go on. It didn’t, I failed! I never got an F in my life, now my grade point is a B!”
Burnout: “Well, why did you take shop in the first place?”
Nerd: “Because I thought it would be an easy A”
Burnout: “Why is that?”
Nerd: “Have you seen the dopes who take shop?”
Burnout: “I take shop. So I’m an idiot because I can make a lamp and you’re a genius because you can’t?”
As we grow up we certainly mature and make room for human diversity. What happens when you grow up seems to be the central question to the movie, the central question to life. Well, what DOES happen when you grow up?
Maybe you rode the financial tsunamis of the early 2000s like a Zuckerberg-esque kid on a surfboard constructed of prescience and guts to invent a new world. You might have had a brief detour on the unemployment line with your sorority sisters. Maybe you did exactly what you planned to do with not a single detour. Whatever the path that you chose or chose you, your growth is never-ending.
But some things do stay the same. Some of the Princesses will snub you at the coffee shop for their own insecurities. The freak will puzzle you and make you wonder if your lovely kid should play with her lovely kid. You will forget the nerd’s name while envying his political prowess, the jock will coach your kid’s team too aggressively and when you feel like letting loose at a party, you always know where the burnout hangs.
The wisdom in age is to know this ahead of time because really, the people arguing at the meeting, like you, are each of those teenagers rolled up into one. They just drive themselves home after detention.