Advice for Fake Adults from Real Adults

“Eat kale. It will feel like your life is over! Ha HA.”—Kevin, 65
“Get a sleeper car on the Amtrak. Wear a business suit and high heels, preferably nice pumps with a sensible heel. Require your cabin attendant to run off the train to get you sushi in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Give him no other choice, ladies! This kind of assertiveness is so readily accepted in men, but it’s not so commonly applauded in go-get-‘em gals. But this very same ballsy move got me promoted in 1985, and, if I recall, the sushi in that town is gosh darn phenomenal!”—Juliette, 59
“Nobody can stand being earnest for long. So stop it, you stupid frauds.”—Joe, 80
“Find the right mentor. Your mentor can tell you to how to spot different kinds of ducks, drill for oil, or needlepoint an attractive animal. My mentor’s name was Lacey Jane. She mentored me in square dancing, a skill that I woefully lacked. I really credit Lacey with helping me find a marriageable man. She had a good man, too, but I hear she’s an old dyke in the Florida Keys now.”—Diane, 52
“Look up at the stars and wonder how many of your grandbabies’ grandbabies’ grandbabies’ skin cells are up there. Little particles of you, licked up by Jesus like Fun Dip.”— Florence, 75
“Keep the lists of what to buy at the grocery store and what you need from your therapist separate. Once, I mixed my two lists up, and you just would not believe how confused the grocery checkout girl was when I kept whispering, ‘I’m looking for constancy. Constancy.’ She looked at me real funny and whispered back, ‘Looking for Crystal Light? It’s Aisle 9.’ Talk about embarrassing!”—Makayla, 62
“Become a minimalist art object. Preferably a bad one.”—Augustin, 63
“Wear matching socks. One day I didn’t wear matching socks, and the next day I was a child again. I correlate the two, I really do.”—Child, 12
“Touch children. Just their nails or forearms. Remark about how long ago it was that you had soft skin and strong nails. Ask, Can I touch? Then, tell them to keep drinking their milk.”—Anonymous
“Like I said, my wife stopped cooking roast beef and potatoes and fed me only green stuff after I had a heart attack, but I’d have seven more heart attacks if I could have just one more lick of Mary Jane.”—Kevin, 65
“Stop. Drop. And roll. Is that right?”—Della, 92
“Get a fire burning. In your heart, in your fireplace, in your loins, in a fire pit, in a forest, it doesn’t really matter where. The fire is what’s important. I love the look of big blazes.”—Justin, 55
“Find a high-cholesterol meal you really enjoy, maybe some bacon, maybe some sausage. Order this meal in a palatable local diner. After that, wait. Wait years and years and years. The next time anybody checks on you, you’ll be a relic. You might finally be worth some money.”—Bernie, 76
“Keep your options open. When I was twenty-five, I married a kind man who wore turtlenecks and made soups and stews, but the whole time I was thinking, Ho hum, where’s the sports car? So I divorced the dud, and about six months later, I was knocked out, wowy-zowy, what came along but the most gorgeous red and black Thunderbird that I’d ever seen? Don’t let anybody tell you that love at first sight doesn’t exist. Thundy and I have been together thirty years, can you believe it?”—June, 56
“Die? Nobody gets more adult than that.”—Penelope, 70
“Cultivate grace. I put my Basset to sleep last week, and when I came to say goodbye, she licked my hand. I couldn’t stop crying. I wish I could say more adults had the grace of animals, but I can’t. Barbara Bush and Meryl Streep, they’re the only good ones left.”—Denise, 60




Alicia Bones is a second-year fiction student at the University of Montana. Previously, she earned her master’s degree in literature from the University of Iowa. Her work has been published in Spry, Hello Horror, Plain Song Review and elsewhere. She tweets sporadically @Alicia_Bones87.


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Cover Photo: Amaya O (