Please, for a moment, disregard the fact that I look like a fifteen-year-old and act like a third grader.
And forget, for the time being, that I answer Steve's questions aloud while watching "Blue's Clues" and that I sometimes whisper "Michelangelo, are you down there?" into open sewer grates.
And finally, temporarily discount my favorite food (McDonald's chicken nuggets), my favorite piece of clothing (polar bear pajama pants), and my personal mission in life (to meet and befriend Harry Potter).
With all of the aforementioned things ignored, I would like to make an announcement.
For those of you who might have missed it, ignored it, or blacked out because of it, I'll repeat myself.
I am an adult.
Corey Gerard Lambert.
No, today is not my birthday.
And no, today was not my first day at a "real" job.
I am an adult because, today, I made a very important adult decision.
I didn't consult my parents (they were at work).
I didn't ask an older sibling (my phone was dead).
And I didn't flip a coin (I didn't have any money).
I made a grownup decision ALL BY MY LONESOME.
Allow me to explain.
Today, while mulling over my current situation (I am unemployed, terribly poor, and perpetually hungry), I decided to trek to Target to exchange my DVD player for store credit.
After walking a mile and a half in the snow, arguing with a tirelessly loyal return counter cashier ("Wait, so you're returning this because the color of the remote doesn't match your LA-Z-BOY?"), and blowing $3.07 on a large cherry Icee, I had, in my hand, a card worth $28.77 in Target store merchandise.
I set out to spend my money on only the essentials, as I was pretty sure Target was quickly going to reexamine their return policy. Knowing full well that it might be a while before twenty-eight bucks graces the fake leather walls of my wallet again, I grabbed the cheapest brands of anything I could find.
Ten minutes later, with a half empty cart of only the bare necessities (deodorant, a medium bristled tooth brush, bacon bits, a 24 count box of crayons, Warheads Super Sour Blueberry candy spray, etc.), I decided it was time to check out.
On my way to the front of the store, a botched shortcut somehow landed me right smack dab in the middle of the toy department. Knowing full well that God was testing me, I made a beeline toward the checkout lanes, toward freedom.
Just as the front of my cart poked itself into the main isle, a toddler waddled in front of my cart and I jerked to a stop, sending my Icee crashing to the floor. I reached down to pick it up and that's when I saw it.
There, on the bottom shelf, was my childhood.
There, in the middle of the Target store, was my oldest best friend.
There, underneath Dora's Overnight Pup Tent and an army of Brats merchandise, was Lite-Brite.
My palms began to sweat as my eyes darted back and forth, searching for the price tag.
I glanced at my cart, frantically trying to decide if I really needed shampoo, if vitamins were really necessary.
Just as I reached for Him, I heard a Voice from above.
Don't do it, Corey. You need to eat.
"What?" I answered, confused.
You can't eat Lite-Brite.
"Leave me alone," I said to the Voice. "I need Him."
What you need is nourishment, fuel for your body.
"Well then what should I do?" I asked.
You must go. Leave Lite-Brite behind.
"No!" I said. "I can’t leave Him!"
Without thinking, I stood up, grasped the handle of my cart, and ran.
It took me almost the whole walk home to realize what had happened.
Although I didn't feel any different physically, I knew something in me had changed.
I knew that when I turned my back on Lite-Brite, I turned my back on my youth.
So now, as I sit here in my polar bear pajamas sipping chocolate milk while I wait hopefully for an owl to swoop in with my acceptance letter to Hogwarts, I can’t help but think that I finally know what Tom Hank's character felt like in the movie Big.
Yesterday, I was a kid.
Today, I'm a ma…
Oh shit, Steve's about the sing "The Mail Song."