How Old Things Are, in Context

How Old Things Are, in Context

One year old: Not that old. As old as a baby that can’t say much or even walk that great, probably.

Two years old: Only slightly older than the car I’m leasing, and it still has “new car smell,” at least according to the guy who tried to fit a table in the back of the car at Menards. (It didn’t fit, and he had to take it back and I returned it — not even tipping the guy, which I felt bad about but it just would have been so awkward and probably no one else tips him anyway because Minnesota.)

Three years old: As old as that bush your parents planted that’s refusing to grow, making you think it’s probably dead or dying and will just need to be mowed over — which won’t even hurt the mower, because this bush is still that scrawny.

Four years old: As old as Blue Ivy Carter. What a sassy little lady!

Five years old: As old as The King’s Speech Best Picture Oscar.

Six years old: It’s been around as long as it takes the average person to earn a Ph.D. So, that’s a good chunk of time — but still, just one degree. (Unless they threw in a Master’s in passing, but no one really counts those.)

Seven years old: The perfect amount of old to be, according to Christian numerology.

Eight years old: As old as my older cousin Jesse was when I decided he was the perfect age, because he was the coolest and could not possibly be any cooler at any other age, thus indicating that eight was the optimal age for peak coolness.

Nine years old: As old as Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Whoa.

Ten years old: Double digits!

Eleven years old: Chubby-stage age.

Twelve years old: Tween-age. Young enough to still be THE FUTURE, but old enough that people can start writing thinkpieces.

Thirteen years old: The age I turned on my golden birthday, which I celebrated by playing a tape of myself singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” to myself and making all my friends and family sing along.

Fourteen years old: The maximum length of time that the process of menopause can take from beginning to end, according to at least one study.

Fifteen years old: The age the 21st century actually is — because technically you start counting on the ones.

Sixteen years old: The age the 21st century is, according to most normal people who start counting on the zeros.

Seventeen years old: The perfect amount of time to have existed before you can have a magazine dedicated just to you but actually probably less likely to be read by someone your age than by someone in any other age group, except maybe 60+.

Eighteen years old: Legal! Great time to sue someone.

Nineteen years old: As old as the post-Bryant-Gumbel Today show.

Twenty years old: The anniversary that goes with getting China, but does anyone still really call it that?

Twenty-one years old: Legal! In a more important way. Great time to get sued.

Twenty-two years old: People who are this age grew up never knowing what an “area code” was, probably. Or knowing what the “zip” stands for in zip code.

Twenty-three years old: The most relevant oldness to be, if you believe cable TV.

Twenty-four years old: A very evenly divisible age, when mathematicians typically reach their peak.

Twenty-five years old: An age at which you get to have a new logo to celebrate all year long, and then switch to a new, slightly more permanent logo with a rounded font but no serifs.

Twenty-six years old: When a baby born today is old enough to drink, this blog will be twenty-six years old.

Twenty-seven years old: The age when if you actually have the right number of candles on a cake, it’s highly odd.

Twenty-eight years old: The age at which you have to be before a sequel goes into pre-production, if you’re Beetlejuice.

Twenty-nine years old: An age that sounds vaguely kinkier than it is.

Thirty years old: The age at which you’d better have very strongly distinguished yourself from your twin (even being the person Heath Ledger’s masseuse calls when she finds him dead doesn’t cut it, unbelievably) or you’ll be doomed to forever be one of “the Blank Twins.”

Thirty-one years old: What’s thirty-one years old? That’s a weird age. As old as Kate & Allie, and even people who watched it don’t really remember that show.

Thirty-two years old: The age at which, according to the twice-minus-seven rule, it’s not weird to date a 57-year-old. Think about that.

Thirty-three years old: The grooviest age.

Thirty-four years old: The average age.

Thirty-five years old: Imagine a carful of seven-year-olds on their way to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. Add up all the years that all of them have lived, and you have thirty-five.

Thirty-six years old: When I was going into fifth grade and still hadn’t memorized my times tables, my parents hired Ms. Zook (I swear, that was actually her name), who was going to be my fifth-grade teacher, to tutor me in multiplication over the summer. One of her teaching techniques was to give me a cassette on which a series of voices rapped the times tables, for me to listen to each night as I fell asleep. The only one I really remember is six-times-six-is-thir-ty-six. Point being, we’re right in the heart of the times table here.

Thirty-seven years old: I think this is how old the Canadian prime minister is. [checks] Hot damn, he’s forty-four. Doesn’t look a day older than Zach Braff (who’s forty).

Thirty-eight years old: I think that every classical composer was dead by this age. Okay, except for Liszt, Brahms, and Richard Strauss — who had secret Nazi science to keep him preternaturally young.

Thirty-nine years old: The U.S. bicentennial, and all the patriotic crap that was made to sell during it, is this old.

Forty years old: My age! Have a shot of Cabin Still, ya salty dog.

Jay Gabler

Photo by Aldo Cauchi Savona (CC BY 2.0)