Wooderson was right?

![][1]Back before Matthew McConaughey earned my eternal ire by [narrowly beating me out for People's "Sexiest Man Alive"][2] - and before he made a string of dumb, forgettable movies - he did one good thing in his acting career: He played Wooderson.The movie was "Dazed and Confused," and Wooderson was a familiar character: the guy who kept hanging around the high school crowd for a few years after high school was over, never moving on to the next stage of life.At one point, McConaughey-as-Wooderson eyes a new crop of freshmen and lasciviously drawls: "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age."It's a line - minus, I should add, the dirty-old-man connotations - that I remember every fall as thousands of 18-to-22-year-olds stream into town and onto campus. In Lawrence, it seems, I keep getting older ... and everybody else stays the same age.How did this happen? When I arrived here six years ago, I was just a couple of years older than must undergrad seniors. We were practically generational colleagues, or so I thought. I was hip; I was down with the kids. (Except for the part where I called them my "generational colleagues.")Last week, though, a thought occured: This year's KU freshmen were three years old when I started college, way back in 1991.Put it another way: Census numbers released recently show that the median age in Lawrence - not counting the kids in the dorms - is about 28. In the rest of Kansas, that number is 36. So somebody like me, in his early-to-mid-thirties, would be young anywhere else; here, I'm among the older half of Lawrence residents.And this will not change. Next year, I will be a year older. KU will still draw thousands of 18-to-22-year-olds to town. It's like "Logan's Run" come to life.Somebody, get me a rocking chair and false teeth, quick.Nobody except the most serene among us likes getting older. It is more fun, no doubt, to be skinny, to have energy, to have everything ahead of you. All this is complicated - [as my Journal-World colleague Cathy Hamilton noted recently][3] - by the fact that most of us don't feel much different than we did at 18. Still, I'm trying to resist the temptation to be obsessed with my lost youth. There's nothing to be gained (and a lot to be lost) by trying to live like a college student again. It's smarter and more enriching, I hope, to figure out how to live the most vibrant and fulfilling life with the body and (hopefully) wisdom that come with a few years of experience.Or I could become a curmudgeon. That would be fun, too. Maybe this getting older isn't so bad, after all. [1]: http://www.atomictumor.com/wp-content/2006/wooderson.jpg [2]: http://www.lawrence.com/blogs/mathis/2005/nov/21/again/ [3]: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/aug/13/mirror_doesnt_reflect_youthful_spirit/?boomer_girl

Comments

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

I really hope quoting Wooderson doesn't make me sound like a skeevy perv.

leslie 15 years, 10 months ago

Aging, schmaging. Turns out I've been an old bitty all along.

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

I am glad to here I'm not the only one who has been tempted to recapture my youth. It doesn't help that I got married at the ripe old age of 20 (the day after I turned 20, even) and I never lived on my own. But I've really thought this through, and us "older folk" have the best of both worlds: I can still go out, listen to a band, have a drink or two (or three or four,not to mention we can afford the GOOD beer) and pretend that I fit in for an evening. But when I come home, I have a familiar man, a home I own and the security that comes with being "established". Yes, I've put on a few pounds, but I wouldn't trade it to be a college kid today.

And Joel, kudos on the quote. My husband and I quote it every August, and no, not with sexual connotations.

Aileen Dingus 15 years, 10 months ago

I read this and laughed yesterday. "Hah- Joel's old!"

And then, TODAY happened.

I was dropping my son off at LHS this morning, and got honked at by some uppity youngster in a Honda Civic. I almost got out and kicked some teenage butt.

THEN, as I was leaving the parking lot, some twippy little chippy in a Neon nearly broadsided me- turning with no signal, right into my lane. She shot me the "Old person- get out of my way!" look.

THEN! I watched as a young farmboy totally screwed a parallel park in his farm truck. I waited patiently, as he was blocking the road, but I almost got out and did it for him.

Even the barista (baristo?) boy at Starbucks looked even younger than usual today. He shaved his goatee, so he looks to be about 12. At least when he looked like he was in his 20s I didn't feel too skeevy about flirting with him.

ugh. Thanks a lot Joel. You made me notice my creakiness.

Shelby 15 years, 10 months ago

Somewhat off-topic: Joel, you should be ashamed. John Sayles' "Lonestar" has by far his best performance. But yeah he's made a lot of bad movies...which is also a shame.

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

Ignoring the dirty old man connotations sort of abrogates the entire core of my being.

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

These comment boxes seriously need grammar check.... here, hear!!

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

Dotdot: Truth is, I didn't expect anybody to believe that I wasn't being a dirty old man. I had to give it a shot, though.

Shelby: I saw "Lonestar," but I can't for the life of me remember McConaughey's performance in it....

Dazie: See what I mean?

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

I (heart) Matthew McConaughey.

Here you go Joel: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116905/

I loved him in "Larger Than Life" with Bill Murray. Now that was a funny performance. His imdb profile is very telling of his talent. He plays all kinds of different roles and he always does it well.

sigh....

Aileen Dingus 15 years, 10 months ago

alm77- plus he's yummy. Don't forget that. ;)

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

Oh, I haven't forgotten, but I have to point out his talent so as to not make my husband jealous. ;) But sometimes, I think he's onto me....

cvillehawk 15 years, 10 months ago

My wife used to have a thing for Mel Gibson. I don't think we'll be hearing too much about that one any more.

cee 15 years, 10 months ago

We're the same age. Thanks for putting that awful thought re the three-year-olds in my head. Time to start saving for that butt lift!

No matter how old I get, I can't seem to wrap my head around the fact that I'm no longer a college student. Wasn't it just yesterday that I moved into the dorms at KU?

emawkc 15 years, 10 months ago

Back to the getting old thing, I remember the immortal words of that great philosopher and late-20th century social critic Butthead who said "The more things change, the more they suck."

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

Alm... I've never disagreed with you about anything. But.

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

but...???? go on...
Don't tell me you don't think he has TALENT!?!? Come ON.
A Time to Kill? Ed TV? (remember that was a fun movie), U-571? and THEN you have to mention Dazed and Confused (which is actually the character closest to his real personality) but the role as the truckdriver in Larger Than Life had me laughing so hard I was crying. He can do it all. Drama, comedy, chick flicks, he's fabulous.

And yes, Sahara sucked, but it was a movie we could watch with the kids and it's not his fault that the script was crappy (it is his fault for agreeing to do it though) He did the best he could with what he had.

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

But...

Nah. I think he's reasonably talented. I'm just not a fan. What can I say?

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

I can accept that. I actually have a theory that he is the single most underrated actor in Hollywood and his looks hinder him from gaining the recognition and the aknowledgement of credibility he deserves. (Anyone that handsome can't have talent, right?)

Now, I'll admit, if the topic was Brad Pitt, whom I'm also a big fan of, I would have to concede. He's gotten by on his looks (with the exception of Thelma and Louise and Snatch). The final scene in Seven clinched that for me. He was terrible at "mourning" his loss. No wonder Gwenyth dumped him after that. If my man couldn't have been more sincere when he got my head in a box, would've dumped him too! But I digress.....

Darth_Vader 15 years, 10 months ago

too bad he's gay (not there is anything wrong with that)

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

Weird, Alm. I actually like Brad Pitt, because I think he's played a few interesting not-pretty boy roles: Fight Club, 12 Monkeys, and so on. It's when he's playing to the pretty boy stereotype that I think he's boring.

DV: Oh no you didn't!

Darth_Vader 15 years, 10 months ago

yes I did-

from his wikipedia page According to official police reports, McConaughey was found dancing around naked and playing bongo drums with a friend, actor Cole Hauser.

Now I like to bang on the bongos just as much as the next guy, but I KEEP MY CLOTHES ON!

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

DV: Then you haven't lived- you're just a little dead inside if you insist on being clothed while playing bongos.

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

I was about to mention how I haven't been able to read Grisham since I saw MM play in A Time to Kill, but now that I know he's in the naked bongo club, I'll let it go.

But lets just say I'll give you Matthew McConaughey as an actor if I can keep this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1c-IOs99q_A

as a news anchor.

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

Ah yes, Melissa. I'm well aware of her newsreading acumen already, dotdot, but thank you for sharing. The world can't have enough Melissa.

Dazie: What's wrong?

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

See, thats what I'm talking about. Is she just a "reader" because she's yummy? Heck, She is the reason for naked bongos and France to even exist!

lori 15 years, 10 months ago

Two comments: 1) MM is hanging out an awful lot with Lance Armstrong these days, flush with lycra. I'm tending to believe DVs theory.

2) I see those pretty little fresh faced college kids and think that it sucks to be them. I can't imagine going through the late teens/early 20s all over again. Thank god for old age and experience. I am seriously enjoying my 30s, and one of my friends in her 40s says that while she is enjoying them even better than her 30s, HER good friend who is in her 50s says that THAT is the decade that is truly awesome. So bring it on. So what if they college girls are skinnier and more toned? I've got self confidence, education, awesome kids and a great marriage, an amazing community of true friends, a steady job that I love, and more financial stability (and independence) than they do. I wouldn't trade any of that for anything that they have. I just look at them and think, awww, aren't they cute? Kind of like puppies.

Aileen Dingus 15 years, 10 months ago

Joel- naked men bongo dancing. Who wants to see THAT floppin around??!

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

HA! Aileen, you just agreed with me on something I've been trying to tell my husband for years. Men like to look at naked women, but most women think looking at naked guys is pretty gross.

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

Ladies, it's not about the visuals on display, it's about FREEDOM, and the feeling of freedom.

Just ask Dotdot. He knows what I'm talkin' about.

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

Right on, cover the mirrors and turn the music down a bit. Done.

I don't know if that makes me gay or not, but hell (I mean heck), I play the piano, so what difference does it make?

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

I think the question is, dotdot, do you play piano naked with other men?

And Joel, it IS about feeling the freedom. Everybody knows Matthew is a free lovin hippie, so why wouldn't he dance naked with bongos? HOWEVER, I do feel this needs more scientific research and could probably find a volunteer should the LJWorld, Lawrence.com or any other local media would happen to be looking for someone to test DV's theory. ;)

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

Alm: You'll notice I never, ever criticized MM for the bongos.

CafeSiren 15 years, 10 months ago

"So what if they college girls are skinnier and more toned? I've got self confidence, education, awesome kids and a great marriage, an amazing community of true friends, a steady job that I love, and more financial stability (and independence) than they do. I wouldn't trade any of that for anything that they have."

What Lori said (except for the spouse & kids bit).

Amen, sister.

lcneece 15 years, 10 months ago

One of my favorite professors at KU, who is a little bit older, walked into our freshman English class in 1999 and announced, for some reason, that 'I get older, they stay the same age."

He was a little dumbfounded by our laughter.

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

"I think the question is, dotdot, do you play piano naked with other men?"

Dunno, but if Joel brings the bongos...

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

You ever had that thing where you are talking in a crowded room and you say one (particular) offbeat (stupid) thing and the entire room goes silent?

Just wondering.

alm77 15 years, 10 months ago

Yeah, we used to have this guy in our circle of friends who was notorious for "conversation killing". Don't assume that's the case this time though. Joel is probably considering your idea (or at least a response) right now.

Terry Bush 15 years, 10 months ago

I am late to chime in, I know, but I am the official OLD person on the blogs - so that's my excuse.

For myself, I always felt older then I was - so when I actually was 18 those around me already seemed extra young.

While I wouldn't mind having more energy and being in better shape (automatically without having to work for it), I wouldn't be 18-30 again for all the tea on earth! There are just some things that only experience will teach. I'm glad to have learned those lessons, but I'll take a pass on re-learning anything (I might consider going back in time if I could retain all the memories and not have to re-learn some lessons).

I used to pick at myself a little more. But now, I look back at pictures of me when I thought I was "too" something, and I laugh; I'd love to look that good now! So I am enjoying how good I have it now, because this too will fade/change, all too soon!

No matter the age, attempts to compare ones' self or life to anyone elses is not very prudent or productive. If you aren't happy with your self or life, comparing yourself to others won't really help you out very much. Just take what you are/have and where you are at the moment, and enjoy your life or work to improve it. Or my favorite, do both.

You are never going to BE younger. Today is the last time you will be THIS young. So make the most of it, and move along.

Meanwhile, I now have to forget the mental picture of thetom and Joel dancing around together & playing music, at all ..... let alone nude... Shudder.....

balance71 15 years, 10 months ago

Joel, you need to embrace the curmudgeon you're becoming. Let your curmudgeonly feelings flow. Don't fight it.

Joel 15 years, 10 months ago

Damn kids!

Thanks balance. That does feel better.

Dotdot: I don't have bongos, but I do have a djembe. When's our concert?

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

I just googled your djembe. I feel free already.

thetomdotdot 15 years, 10 months ago

"...a skin covered hand drum."

Good god almighty.

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