Monday, December 04, 2006
Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up by Christopher Noxon
Lather was thirty years old today,
They took away all of his toys.
His mother sent newspaper clippings to him,
About his old friends who'd stopped being boys.
(Grace Slick, 1968)
According to Christopher Noxon, author of Rejuvenile, many adults are more playful than they were twenty years ago, as it is more socially acceptable to collect toys, frequent theme parks, and play games. Playful adults are not ridiculed like Lather in the Jefferson Airplane song. In fact, corporations with eyes toward profit and psychologists who measure mental health support the transformation. A new form of adult has evolved, which may be called a rejuvenile, a kidalt, an adultescent, or a twixter.
Noxon claims to be a rejuvenile. He enjoys going to kids movies and playing with his children. He might even play with the Legos and toy cars when the children nap. As a parent he is easily granted this license. Adults without children are also enjoying freedom to play. In his book, he profiles several, including Tobias who plays dodgeball, Kate who organizes games of tag, Kim who skips instead of walking, and Barb who is called the Skateboard Mom. Noxon shows these people to be well-adjusted, productive adults who like to play, and he poses that an adult playing tag is having more fun than an adult golfing.
The author goes on to explain the difference between childlike and childish, admitting their are some adults who are trying to escape reality through regressive behaviors, but he believes these individuals are a minority of rejuveniles.
In Rejuvenile Noxon writes about Walt Disney and his legacy, about adult children who live with their parents, and parents of young children learning when to let them play undirected.
Librarians will recognize some rejuveniles among their clients and among themselves. Every public and college library should have a copy of this book.
Noxon, Christopher. Rejuvenile: Kickball, Cartoons, Cupcakes, and the Reinvention of the American Grown-up. New York: Crown Publishers, 2006 ISBN 1400080886