Recently a young co-worker of Uncle Pookie's, who's not long out of school, confidently told UP that he would still think about things the same way and have the same opinions the rest of his life. This amused UP enough to share with me, and I out and out laughed. (If you're under twenty-two or so and don't understand why this is funny, wait ten or fifteen years.) It may sound mean to laugh at youth's naivete, but I like to think of it as one of the consolation prizes we get in return for all of the things middle age takes away from us--things such as good eyesight, the ability to remember what we were just talking about, and the ability to go to work or school fresh as a daisy on under three hours of sleep.
For the record, when I was this fellow's age, I was an Utne reading, pro-choice, NOW-supporting, straight-ticket Democrat voter, who "knew" that all Republicans were racists; that all Christians were ignorant, gullible, and frightened of the big, wonderful universe we live in; that social conservatives were either tyrannical, sexist, reactionary men or their female dupes; that men just want to oppress women and women are somehow nobler than men; that anyone who didn't share my sexual mores was obviously repressed and joyless; and so forth. I don't think I was ever silly enough to say I would always hold the same opinions, but I wouldn't bet money I didn't think it--after all, why would I ever want to change, when my vast intelligence and two decades of experience had made me so obviously right about everything?