I Guess I Have To Keep Being Polite

After a certain point, age no longer feels to be the milestone it was in youth. Each passing year as a child is somehow indefinably but unequivocally different from the one before it; this year is a new one, and there will be changes. But a lot of that mindset comes from simply being in school, and after the rush of freedom at 16, the liberation of 18, and the poor choices of the night you turn 21, there aren't many more signposts to so clearly mark your progress from birth to death. The next big number is probably 30, but there's a lot of fast water between here and there, and not a lot of points to stop and catch your breath. However, I have found another one of those signposts:• Today I am 25 years old, meaning: • I am now too old to be on "The Real World." This is a weird thing to realize, not least because every member of my generation has, at some point, thought about what they would put on their audition tape or just what it would be like to live in the house, be one of the roommates, become superficially friendly with intellectually challenged people before stabbing them in the back with a withering confessional, get drunk on camera, etc. The show has been a cultural touchstone for people my age, who have never lived in a world without MTV, and though it isn't what it once was — or maybe I'm too old to care — it still serves as a kind of clearinghouse for the current generation's prettiest and dumbest people. As I've gotten older, though, I've come to realize that the dichotomy between the thought of being on the show and the actuality of being cast would probably perfectly fulfill the maxim: "Having is not often so pleasing a thing as wanting; it is not logical, but it is often true." You have to be 18-24 to be on the show (though, weirdly, the rules only say you "should appear to be between the ages of 18-24," which is confusing, since I doubt like hell that a young-looking 30-year-old would be let anywhere near the show), which means there's a good possibility that getting cast would mean spending 4 months in a house with at least one 18-year-old, who are generally pretty insufferable people. Where's the fun in that? I'm surprised the age cutoff isn't 22, since the possibility of watching a 24-year-old and 18-year-old interact would be like watching a big brother babysit their younger sibling. Every day. For months. Which is the bigger picture, and the even weirder part about getting just a day older this time around: I don't even think I would want to be on "The Real World" anymore. Sure, my sister and I used to think about being on the show — I maintained that I would be the laziest roommate ever, sleep in constantly, and not get laid; basically, my current life plus some rapid-fire editing and B-roll of downtown exteriors — but that was in high school. Even the occasional discussion of the show in college was more about how crazy it had become than anything else. Still, it's weird to think that from now on, the kids on that show will always be younger than me (except for the oldies they bring back for the challenges, like Timmy, who's clearly 39ish). I suppose as I get older I'll get accustomed to the fact that people in the media are more and more likely to be born after I was, and I guess that's okay. But it's just weird to realize that I'm really starting to slide out of whatever demographic MTV hopes to capture. Maybe that's a good thing.