This week I will be one of many, many people attending Comic Con International down in San Diego. I will not be pursuing women. I will be pursuing limited edition action figures and buying more animation cells to hang in my room. I won't be thinking too much about work because my job is to write about things that make me laugh, so that work will be easy.
And Comic Con is serious damn business.
This, fair readers, is my personal definition of being a "man child": to turn whatever was your childhood passion into your adult job. I am aware that urbandictionary would disagree. In most people's mind, being labeled a man child is a terrible thing. Women don't usually have to worry about it, because for whatever reason, women are invulnerable to insults regarding their maturity. I guess because they hit puberty before men, or maybe they all had a meeting about it. And while I fit many definitions of being a man child: over 25, still needing financial assistance, and really, really liking comics and pro wrestling; I am confident that I am not a typical man child.
Or maybe I'm in man child denial…hmm.
Yeah, it's a little unfair because this guy has a job, and doesn't live with his parents
…but you get the idea.
Let's see…I have my prized Princess Leia action figure still in box, my framed panel of Batman The Animated Series comic, and my signed picture of Ric Flair that my brother got me for Christmas. No family pictures up as of this writing, and my folders filled with tax documents are still less organized than my full run of Amanda Conner's "Power Girl" #1-12. I can name more holders of the NWA world heavyweight championship than U.S. Senators, have replayed Mystical Ninja Goemon more times than I have re-read a good book, and wrote and starred in a web series where I play a young, oversexed otaku still living with his sister.
Yep, I'm in denial.
It's not fun to realize you still have a lot of growing up to do. I graduated college and never had trouble with my identity as a nerd and a giant dork. Meeting friends was easy, and my eccentricities were tolerated and mostly encouraged. Recently, I had a few hard conversations with friends and family, looked myself in the mirror and thought about my priorities. My "come to Jesus" moment as I call it, or the "Shawshank Redemption" moment. But don't click away now, cause I have more funny coming up. Cause maturity is never funny. And that's when I thought, some people aren't meant to grow up the way we think they should.
Man children are the creators of tomorrow waiting to spring up out of their parent's financial basement and write the next "Star Wars". We are dreamers, spending our time thinking about philosophy and complaining about it online. A new generation of internet monks and clerics, holing themselves up in apartments and writing like cloistered men studying the infinity of God in their own minds! It's a new stage of culture that we're only now becoming aware of!
It's possible however I'm completely overselling it; I don't think monks ever got cheese powder stains on their laptop keys.
If the above video doesn't give you deja vu, you're not a man child. "Chip…LAUNDRY!"
When man children grow up they have a hard time leaving the things they love. Their hobbies are still looked at as immature and irresponsible. But how are comic books and video games looked at as worse than alchohol and drugs? Some guys get out of college and continue to waste their bodies and minds, but those people are sold beer and baseball tickets so their behavior is not seen as less "mature". I think what's looked down upon with man children is the embarrassing reminder of a time when we were kids. "Adults" can sometimes be very embarrassed by what they loved when they were younger, and they see a man child embracing it so they condemn them and call them immature. It's a cultural conspiracy! The jocks are still trying to get us! My mom's against me! My dad hates me! Girls won't talk to me cause they're stupid! I can play games my whole life cause that's what makes me happy!
But maybe it's time for man children to grow up a little too.
Get a job. Brush your teeth. Take a shower. Clean your room. These aren't instructions for other man children, they're instructions for life. They are notes that are hanging on my wall right now. (I don't have a photo of it yet because I'm still working on that last note) I'm not embarrassed that I need to grow up; it just means taking on responsibility for actions, to be held accountable for your own life. I believe growing up doesn't mean giving up childish things; it just means loving those things without being childish. And getting a job…and budgeting…and getting an oil change…and writing your articles…and cleaning your bathroom…and planning ahead…and…
Don't use your love of being a kid keep you as one. Even Luke had to eventually stop working on droids and embrace his destiny as a Jedi. And guess what? We liked Luke a whole lot better when he wasn't whining about going into Kashi station to get some power converters.