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Opinion

Maturity issue runs throughout lifetime

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April 3, 2008

Last Tuesday was a day I’d been dreading for the past seven months. While the world carries on the day-to day-business of existence, I’d been counting down the days, waiting in dread.

For elementary age kids across the country, April Fool’s Day has been the only day on which practical jokes and pranks are not only accepted, but expected. Well, elementary school kids and my roommates.

My roommates, all of them, look forward to April Fool’s Day more than Christmas. For them, April Fool’s Day is not merely a day, but a month. It’s now my turn to deal with the consequences.

I’d been forewarned by a mutual friend that April Fool’s Day would create a dog-eat-dog world in my house.

I, along with my roommates, have been in school for the past five years. We should have outgrown the childish desire to prank one another for personal amusement. We haven’t. All this tomfoolery leaves me with a question: what does it mean to be mature?

College is supposed to have taught me a number of things. Political philosophy of the Renaissance, the slope-intercept formula (which took me, admittedly, a long time) and any number of obviously important things.

However, maturity has not been something I think I’ve picked up. Come May I’ll be sent out on my own to try to find gainful employment. With my political science degree, I want to lobby in the great capitols of our nation for lofty and important issues. How can I have a meaningful conversation with a key legislator, discussing an important piece of legislation, when I am still debating whether or not I should put a fake snake in the dresser drawer of a roommate who is deathly afraid of them?

I have not always had this internal moral dilemma about maturity. In fact, I’ve coasted pretty easily through the past few years, knowing full well that there are kids adjusting to middle school who are on the same maturity level as me. It hadn’t dawned on me until this semester that adults may not find the same jokes a sixth grader likes as funny as I probably would.

One of my favorite authors, John Steinbeck, has offered me some solace in my quest for the happy medium between majority and adulthood.

“When I was very young and the urge to be someplace else was on me, I was assured by mature people that maturity would cure this itch. When years described me as mature, the remedy prescribed was middle age. In middle age I was assured that greater age would calm my fever and now that I am 58 perhaps senility will do the job. Nothing has worked,” he wrote.

Steinbeck, one of America’s most cherished and accomplished authors, the same issue as me. The only difference is that I’m only 22.

The reality of the situation is simple. Maturity is something someone back in the day invented to stifle fun. Life is short, work is long and you have to make the best of it. Maturity may be customarily important in certain situations, but will never create the lasting memories which make life worth living.

In the end, if someone tells a funny potty joke or asks you to pull their finger, laugh—you can always find a new job.

Joe is a political science and international studies major, graduating this May.

Joe Eggers is a fifth year senior from Appleton, Wis. He is a political science and international studies major. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year's Student Senate president.