You’re Killing Me, Smalls

Day 8: December 19, 2013

Enjoy a belated birthday present from a good friend: a trip to the movies to see the Hobbit (spoiler alert: it was amazing).

You are both really bad at the timing thing, so you’re running late. Even so, you decide that you must have popcorn and a coke icee. Because you’re at the movies. And it’s your birthday (sort of). And seeing the Hobbit in IMAX 3D (!!) demands an extra serving of sugar (icee) and a bit of salt to cancel out the sugar (popcorn).

(You’ll want to question this logic at some point, as it is definitely not sound and you are definitely still hypoglycemic, but today is not a day for logic.)

You ask for smalls: small popcorn and icee, please! You say it proudly as if smalls make everything okay. But the girl at the counter gives you pause:

We don’t have small icees, she says, only mediums or larges.

Conundrum: do you explain that these terms—small, medium, large—in this context—containers of deliciously awful syrupy liquid—are relative terms?

She’s staring at you, asking if you want the medium instead?

Your mind goes to sophomore year biology and the terms “hyper-tonic” and “hypo-tonic” and the fact that they can only be used when comparing two things (this also makes you remember your alternating hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic conditions, and you try to remember which way the icee pendulum swings).

The point, you want to explain to this counter girl, is that no one thing can be hyper-tonic all on its own and, similarly, no icee can be “medium” if there isn’t also the small and large options. If there are only two options, then they are “small” and “large.” Otherwise, they’re just fooling themselves.

She’s still looking at you, waiting for an answer, her hand hovering over the smaller-of-the-two waxed cups.  And you’re tempted to say oh, well in that case, give me the large! But that’s pushing it, and honestly, she’d probably just say okay and not understand your joke at all. So you sigh and say medium is fine, and when she says, and here’s the small popcorn, you swallow your thoughts about inconsistency .

You smile, put on your 3D glasses real smooth-like, and say thank you, walking to the theater without another word. And the people in line behind you thank you for this.

Translation: Twenty-five is…

Well, if we’re being honest, today’s thoughts have nothing to do with you being twenty-five. You’ve just always been a bit of a smart ass no matter the day or age. Do your best to know your audience.

***

Writer’s Note: This post is part of a larger series called “Learning Twenty-Five.”

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