“It’s too bad I wasn’t born ten years younger.”

This was pretty early in my teaching career, and students were reflecting on the so-called ‘Sixties, specifically the anti-war protests, sit-ins, love-ins, and flower children. Already all of those had become conflated, much the way Renaissance Faires feature knights jousting for King Arthur and Shakespeare applauded by Queen Elizabeth both at the same time. The picture of the Days of Yore, whether “Renaissance” or “Hippies,” can be very attractive….

I knew what he meant, but what made him substitute the concept of age for the concept of time? If he had been born ten years earlier, that would make him ten years older, not younger. When the world was ten years younger?

Still, this remains one of my favorite student lapses. It may be irrational, but that doesn’t take away from its poignancy.

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About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

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