Until recently, I worked closely with a nice young woman named Megan, who just transferred to another department in another building. On one of her last days in this building, she decided to sit down in my cubicle and chat.
She's a serious, professional, fairly straight-laced person, not someone given to much humor or sarcasm or anything remotely unholy or impure. She comes across as an earnest, humble, Christlike, ultra-Mormon type of person who wouldn't ever want to offend anyone or show the slightest inclination to do anything other than her duty. In short, she is without guile, as they say.
So anyway, she was sitting there in my chair for visitors, and she was politely eyeballing the photos I have hanging around my cubicle. Then the fated moment arrived: Turning to me with a kind, gentle, perhaps even generous expression on her face, she said, "These kids look too old to be your grandkids."
Now, I understand that she was trying to be nice. She was, in effect, saying, "Judging by your appearance and demeanor, there's no point in trying to pretend that you haven't already crossed the line into grandparenthood by this point in your life. However, I am charitable enough in my heart to acknowledge that your grandkids must still be quite young."
Unlike Megan, I'm full to the brim with sarcasm, irreverence, and disrespect, and I can usually dish it right back. However, this completely earnest expression of hers took me so much by surprise that it was all I could do to stay upright in my chair and choke out something like, "Oh, no, those are my kids, not my grandkids."
Seriously, it felt like I'd been punched in the stomach. I know she didn't do it on purpose—and that's what made it much worse. So I have now crossed a certain line in my life: being considered old enough to be a grandpa by an adult in the younger generation. And it doesn't help that she was probably born after I graduated from high school in 1984.
Of course, I could be a grandparent by now, if I'd had a child at age 21 and that child had a child at age 21....