1. As a teenager, every once in a blue moon your parents asked you what time you would be coming home that night just as you were walking out the front door to hang out with friends. This wasn’t because you had a curfew. It was because they were planning to have loud sex while you were away.
2. You were always the last kid to get picked up after sports practices in middle school. Your coach would wait with you for about forty-five minutes after practice had ended to make sure you didn’t get kidnapped before your parent finally came to get you.
3. At a premature age, you stopped getting rides home from school and instead took two public buses and walked two miles carrying up to forty pounds of textbooks while your stay-at-home mom did just that (so she could watch her favorite daytime TV shows).
4. When invited to sleep over at a friend’s house, you called your parents, not to ask for permission, but merely to inform them of your plans, as a courtesy. And also because you didn’t want to seem like some weird nomadic orphan in front of your friend’s family.
5. During the summer, you might have spent three or four consecutive nights sleeping over at your friend’s house without your parents calling even once to check up on you. Ultimately, the only reason you returned home was because you had run out of clean clothes to wear.
6. As a youngster, you were extremely attached to your friends’ parents and certain schoolteachers, which manifested in embarrassing Freudian slips where you would accidentally call them “Mom” or “Dad.”
7. If you ever got separated from your parents at a professional sports stadium, amusement park, or large shopping mall, it typically took them at least thirty minutes to realize you were missing before they picked you up at security.
8. Your parents often dressed you in short skirts, baggy jeans, or oversized sweatshirts vibrantly dyed in what were commonly known to be local gang affiliation colors. The money they were saving by dressing you head to toe in whatever hand-me-downs were available outweighed the potential inconvenience of you getting catcalled or mugged.
9. You were never taught proper table manners. Instead, you learned them by observing your friends who had normal families while they ate dinner.
10. When your friends wanted you to do something that sounded really lame, you had to be really creative with your excuse to get out of it, because they would never believe a standard “my parents won’t let me go out tonight” or “I have a family obligation.”
11. In high school, the burden of buying alcohol with a fake ID (or any risky and/or illegal activity) automatically fell onto your shoulders, because your friends knew that if you got in trouble, the punishment from your parents would more or less be a slap on the wrist.
12. After you got your driver’s license, you were able to hit up more parties on the weekends. But your parents forbade you from driving to parties in certain rough neighborhoods of town. But not because they were afraid for your safety. Rather, they were worried because in order to drive there, you would have had to have borrowed one of their cars, which were their prized possessions and essentially higher up the family totem pole than you. There was no way they would let you drive one of their precious vehicles to such a dangerous place, so they told you to take the bus instead.
13. While living under your parents’ roof, you were never assigned any chores. So before doing your first load of laundry during your freshman year of college, you had to look up a step-by-step tutorial on YouTube.
14. Even as a young child, no TV shows were off-limits in your household. Thus, to this day you still feel pangs of guilt when you recall the time your friend’s mom intervened while shrieking in horror as you introduced her previously innocent, unadulterated child to the national treasure that is The Jerry Springer Show.
15. Since your parents obviously didn’t hold enough authority to justify their executive decisions with “because I said so,” telling white lies was basically their native tongue. If you wanted wanted a puppy, the answer wasn’t “no” it was “we would get you one, honey, if only your dad wasn’t fatally allergic to them.”
16. When you proposed to your parents that instead of coming home from college for the holidays, they send you the money that they would have spent for your airfare so you could buy a new iPhone instead, they were totally cool with it.
17. When other kids’ parents from your high school alma mater asked your parents what you were up after graduation, they would tell them you were studying philosophy at Dartmouth University. A) It’s Dartmouth College; and B) You declared a major in psychology two semesters prior and have never taken a college philosophy course ever.