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Published:September 13th, 2008 13:57 EST
Immaturity: A Meditation of Sorts

Immaturity: A Meditation of Sorts

By Jon Lee

Hot dogs, football games, and guys mix well. One fine evening last semester, my friends and I were at a football game when one of them decided to get a hot dog. We made room for the hungry man to walk through and we groped and harassed him as he tried to leave the bleachers; normal guy stuff. He came back with a large, long, pink, steamy hot dog that looked every bit like a part of the male anatomy, and with a twinkle in his eye said, Wow, that`s really big. " That`s what she said. Brilliant. High fives all around. However, our merriment abruptly ended when another friend, a female unfortunately, turned around and said, What`s so funny about that? You guys are so immature. " Typical female rhetoric, it should not have fazed me, but it did. The rest of the guys proceeded to tease her about being such a prude, but I, a beacon of maturity in a sea of adolescence, refrained from joining in and instead reflected on her comment. There is nothing funnier than a wiener joke. What could have caused her to speak such blasphemy? Was I really immature? Ever since I could remember, immaturity was a terrible thing. It was to be shunned, to be hated, to be spat upon " so why does it even exist? I look around at my friends today and all of them, except me, are immature. Why? Why are people immature?

a teen movie


            Analyzing a teen movie would be a good place to start trying to understand adolescence. I remember the night I went to watch Superbad with my friends. Superbad defines the high school experience, it is a story about two awkward guys on a quest to have sex before graduation; the American Dream re-imagined for a younger audience. The movie was filled with raunchy gags that produced laughs from the immature audience but one in particular stands out in my mind. One of the main characters, Seth, had a fictional disorder where he could not stop drawing ding-dongs and the crude directors decided to include a five-minute montage of wee-wee drawings. I was shocked. How could the Motion Picture Association allow such filth on the screens of America to hurt the sensibilities of millions of mature folk like myself? In fact, I was so insulted that I laughed until I cried! My crude representations of male genitalia in unsuspecting friend`s notebooks paled in comparison to these drawings that were blown up larger than life. They were the Davids and Mona Lisas of the male appendage art-world and the men that dreamt them up were big, bearded, and in their late twenties. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are responsible for writing Superbad and are also the two most immature men on the planet. I had always thought that maturity came with age, but these men have been alive a decade longer than I have and if anything they have deteriorated. If people do indeed get more immature with age, what does that have to say about why people are immature? Could they possibly be trying to hang on to the strands of childhood that have not yet slipped out of their hands?


            Holden Caulfield attempts this very feat in The Catcher in the Rye. Holden is immature; he neglects to tell his parents about his getting kicked out of school, he tries to fight Stradlater for not telling him about his date, and he denies his immaturity (Salinger). Holden is obviously a smart guy, but he consistently flunks out of school? He has the support of his parents and teachers so how could this be? He also states that he aspires to be nothing more than a, catcher in the rye " whose sole purpose is to catch little kids before they run off a cliff (Salinger). Holden`s aspiration explains his lack of motivation, Holden is afraid of adulthood. Holden has become disillusioned about adulthood because of the things he has seen. His one positive adult role model turned out to be a pedophile and his encounter with a p*ostitute, a symbol of loss of innocence, leaves him injured both physically and emotionally (Salinger). If the children fall off the cliff they will mature and become adults. Holden, with his fear of adulthood, wishes to keep the children innocent and would like to protect them from the adult world. Holden is immature because he fears adulthood and would prefer to hold onto childhood as long as possible. I myself do not fear the enormous responsibilities of leaving home, raising a family, managing my own finances, putting food on the table, and working full-time; but fear of adulthood is what inspires immaturity in so many other people.


            It is fear that drives people to be immature. The fear of becoming adults drives people to be immature. The creators of Superbad, faced with their increasing age, crank out more and more vulgar films in order to relive their high school days as inappropriate young men. Holden Caulfield works his hardest to fail school as if he could stay forever young by never graduating. The next time you think of glaring at someone for cracking a that`s what she said " joke, remember that behind the grinning face lies a scared child that is seeking sanctuary in his or her immaturity.


Salinger, J D. The Catcher in the Rye. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1951.