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Age 11 – discovering that “Fettuccine Alfredo” is basically fancy for “Macaroni & Cheese” (a dish I’d detested since early childhood).

Age 15 – discovering that Toad The Wet Sprocket was nothing near to as zany and lighthearted as their band name.

Age 5 – discovering that the orange drink which churns tantalizingly in the translucent plastic mixer at McDonald’s basically tastes like a cross between Tang & orange-flavor Kool-Aide. It’s not nearly as exciting as it looks!

Age 7 – Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine. I think every kid who ever had one had the same experience. It’s loads of work to crank on it for ages to shave down a thimble-full of ice which you then “flavor” with foul-tasting weak Kool-Aide simulacrum. It’s messy, it takes ages, and the end result is not worth all of that effort.

Ages 13 — 18 – Being A Teenager. Man, when I was a little kid, I thought that being a teenager was going to be hella cool! You could have a perm, go on dates, wear nail polish, even DRIVE! Little did I know that adolescence is characterized by crushing social awkwardness, unpredictable mood swings, lots of acne, and a constant struggle to become more independent within the framework of familial expectations. Also, perms suck, highschool boyfriends were more trouble than they were worth, and I turned out to be a kind of lousy driver. Nail polish is okay, though.

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