Well that was rude wasn't it. Actually, it is not an offensive question but a scary one because the answer, once revealed, almost always leads to some false conclusion by the person who asked it. I am in the last gasping breaths of my 40's. I hope that won't make my readers in their 30's, 20's and under run screaming. Believe me I'm still the same inside - it's the outside wrapping that's gotten a little beat up. This leads me to one of my most cherished S.B. theories:
My theory comes from reading The Velveteen Rabbit (a book by Margery Williams) to my first born several years back.
It's a great tale of a new and perfect stuffed bunny that learns a most valuable lesson from an old, threadbare toy horse.
Ms. Williams tells it so much better than I do:
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."Now, go read The Velveteen Rabbit and if you are under 30 and still have all your fur it will give you wisdom beyond your years;
If you are significantly over 30 and your stuffing is starting to fall out, you'll know just what I mean;
And if you happen to just be turning 30, congratulations on becoming real.
*Illustration bu William Nicholson