Sassy Pants

Sometimes, an advertisement will blindside me. Not for what it says, but for what it doesn't say.

"You're not in high school anymore."

The ad jumped off the computer screen, stuck out its tongue and, I swear, it mooned me. I don't even remember what the advertisement was for; I was busy reeling from the low blow.

Thank you for pointing out something just barely more obvious than the fact that either my washer is broken or I chose the Rainbow Brite tank top out of some skewed fashion sense, but the industrial strength stretchy pants I'm wearing have been nagging me about the same thing for a while now. I'm pretty sure I realize that the past is just that.

And if word problems were a pain in the Algebra book back then, imagine how much I love splitting the lunch check with five women who won't admit to ordering dessert on the sly.

I've survived parent-teacher conferences and have filled out enough volumes of forms inquiring about my home address and nearest family member not living with me to send the Library of Congress's archives spilling over to state and local levels.

I've long forgotten cramming for finals and graduating with honors. These days, I'm happy when somebody remembers to empty the dishwasher. Feeding the dog will let you exempt Home Economics and Animal Husbandry from your course of study.

Youthful summer vacations are a memory of three months of Fruit Loops, short shorts and romantic movies. Right now, I'm still trying to nudge last year's summer trip to visit Aunt Edna off the charge card so I can squeeze in a trek to the lawn and garden store for ant killer.

High School lunches? I thought they were bad until I sampled the broccoli and cheese Hot Pocket I found under the couch cushion. After raising two boys and a migraine of neighborhood kids, I'll eat anything I don't have to make myself. I have fond memories of a couple of spare fries with no expiration date tucked neatly into the lining of the living room drapes.

My schedule isn't filled up with social activities. No Journalism Club. No school dances. No Friday night football games. But I persevered through a decade of Saturday morning soccer games with two different practices on the same night. At the same time. In different locations. Tell me that doesn't make you dance the jitterbug.

I get it. I'm no longer the age that makes skinny jeans look good even from the back. My seven-day beauty plan gave up on me 17 years ago. My home permanent is a quitter.

But I'm grinning like the teacher's pet on blackboard-cleaning day, because I don't care.

My car is not featured on Super Bowl commercials. But it took me straight to my sister's house when she had a flat tire and needed a ride to work.

My clothes don't match anything I've seen in a glossy-paged magazine. But I got enough new duds to wear to girls' weekend at the beach because I watched the sales and remembered to take my Seniors Discount coupon when I went shopping.

My husband doesn't look like Zac Efron. But he looks like Prince Charming to me. And he does the dishes. And brings me a cup of tea every night.

My girlfriends don't giggle and point out other people's mistakes. They laugh out loud at their own goof ups and love me even more when they hear about mine.

So you're right, Mr. Sassy-Pants Advertisement. I'm not in high school any more.

I'm busy majoring in Life.