At the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Lewiston, some kid had dropped his Mickey Mouse doll while waiting for his mother to conclude her business. 

The doll had landed facedown on the floor, arms stretched out in back of it in a posture of abject despair and resignation. 

I knew how ol’ Mickey felt. In spirit, I was down on that floor with him. 

I’d been waiting at the BMV for a whole hour, you see, and as far as I was concerned, my life was pretty much over. I mean, we’re talking a whole HOUR here — an hour I could have used for fun stuff. An hour that I can never get back.  

I saw some things during my long ordeal at the Bureau of Pain and Waiting, my friends. I saw men pulling tickets out of their pockets to stare glumly at their numbers of doom. Every five minutes, they pulled those tickets out again, hoping upon hope that through some bureaucratic miracle, those numbers had gotten smaller. 

No such miracles were at hand. 


I saw a woman turn her face to the ceiling with such great reverence when her number was announced, you’d have thought that old St. Peter himself had just called her name. 

I saw one man outright sprint to the window when his number was called as if he expected some conniving imposter to rappel from the ceiling to steal his spot. 

I saw fire, my friends. And I saw rain. 

Which is no big deal, really. Everybody’s seen fire and rain.  

Listen, I’m not here to complain about the BMV specifically. They’re really quite a lot better than they used to be. Back in the day, it used to be commonplace to see people driven mad by long waits in the BMV line, which at the time was in Augusta and called the DMV for some reason. 

Back then, a poor soul could stand six hours in that long, terrible line only to be told, when he finally reached the Window of Judgment, that he had forgotten form 17A-stroke-6B and that he would have to go back to the end of the line and start over. 


If you wanted to see a grown man weeping back then, you went to the DMV. 

It’s not them I’m mad at, though. It’s the time-sucking tedium of adult stuff in general. 

The other night I was out shoveling the yard for the sixth time that day when I noticed that the registration sticker on my truck was looking kind of weathered. The bright green sticker told me that it was valid until sometime in 2022, which was impossible, I thought, because I had just registered the truck, like . . . I dunno, last year or something. 

But no, the sticker had gone bad and in fact, it had gone bad six months previous. Which meant that I had to go waste more time adulting to get that sucker registered again to avoid Serious Adult Consequences. 

So, you can see how I’ve suffered. I mean, what did the world want from me? I had already paid a credit card bill that day, shouldn’t that have freed me from adult stuff for a while so I could go off and play? 

Then I got a notice from my dentist that I had an appointment coming up. Then my wife said blah blah blah something federal taxes blah blah. 


Then the newspaper’s human resources lady told me I needed to provide proof of insurance for my car or blah blah horrible adult consequences blah blah. 

I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old I complained to some old person — the dude was pushing 30 and thus near death — about the poopy limitations of being a kid. 

“Can’t drive, can’t just pack up and hit the road whenever you want to, can’t climb onto the roof and chuck stuff at people down below . . .” I groused. “Being a kid is lousy, old person. I can’t WAIT to grow up.” 

At this point the moribund fellow, clutching his shepherd’s crook and stuffing the teeth back into his mouth, babbled a whole bunch of old person nonsense. Something about how childhood is the very best time of a person’s life; about how, when you grow up, you’ll have all sorts of responsibilities and you won’t be able to spend all day goofing off anymore; about how being an adult means jumping through one flaming hoop after another just to keep your life from rolling off the tracks and blah blah blah, yada yada yada. I stopped listening to him after about five seconds, because I mean, who’s got time to just stand there listening to some geezer when I could be playing on the monkey bars? 

Of course, in retrospect, that ancient, half-decayed sage was right about everything — growing old ain’t all it’s cracked up to be and youth is absolutely wasted on the young. You don’t know how good you’ve got it until whole decades have sneaked by and suddenly your doctor is telling you it’s time for some unspeakable medical procedure involving rubber gloves and a lot of swearing. 

Adulthood demands massive chunks of your time and adulthood will take that time over and over until you are dead. That’s what we get for squandering youth and wishing away our childhood. Every kid who dreams of being a grown-up will eventually be cursed with that very thing. 

But hey, it’s not all toil and tedium. If you get it all done — if you pay your mortgage, register your truck, take your kid to his doctor’s appointment, meet with a plumber about those leaky pipes, get the car inspected, sit through the third work meeting of the week, file your taxes and finally brave the doctor with the rubber gloves, then by gum, whatever time is left at the end of the day is all yours to do with what you please. 

I don’t know about you, chum, but I’m gonna climb to the roof and chuck things at people down below. 

I can do that now. I’m a grown-up. 

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