I woke up last Friday with a familiar thought: I don’t want to adult today! Have you heard of adulting? It is a word millennials use to describe annoying grown-up tasks like putting on pants and holding a steady job. It’s a hassle, but adulting is something I do pretty much every day—that means feeding myself, making sure my pets don’t die, and washing my hands after touching raw chicken. But just last week, adulting took on a whole new meaning: I had to identify a corpse. Ugh!
My phone rang and there was an unfamiliar number on the screen. Usually this means my gyno is calling to remind me I haven’t had a pap in three-and-a-half years, but my gut told me to answer it. It was the coroner’s office, and they called to tell me that my old, lonely, next-door neighbor died while on his morning walk, and they wanted ME to identify the body. I was tempted to give them some excuse like, “I have a hair appointment” and just crawl back into bed, but my therapist keeps telling me that sometimes you have to “do the hard thing” and I knew I should probably try to do the adulting thing here.
I know; in my parent’s generation people probably identified three or four corpses by my age (more if they went to war or whatever). But I went to a six-year college and majored in Floral Management. My longest job was as an assistant to a woman who poured soy candles out of her home. My parents still subsidize my rent. I’ve just rarely been given the opportunity to adult, especially when it comes to identifying corpses.
So as soon as I got off the phone I started adulting really hard—I even remembered to write down the morgue address in a legible hand. I didn’t just put on pants, but I put on non-jeans pants, #adulting! I put on red lipstick that screamed #girlboss (#adulting!!!!), and even remembered to throw a Luna Bar in my tote before heading out the door (#adultingsohard). On the way to the morgue, I decided not to listen to Taylor Swift’s “1989”, but put on Miles Davis. #Adulting. When I finally arrived, I had a Starbucks venti Flat White in one hand and my cell in the other. I practically stomped through those double doors and said into my phone “hold on, Ma. There is a corpse I need to identify” (except that I technically still need to remember to call my mom and thank her for the care package). So I adulted on down to the morgue, looked at a picture of my dead neighbor Robert’s face and said, “Ugh I hate this!!! Yes that is def him. Hashtag #adulting.”
So it turns out the process of identifying a corpse is pretty mundane. They don’t even show you the actual body, which is pretty boring, but that’s adulting for you, right? Still, the entire experience totally motivated me. I went home that day, scheduled that pap, used my stove for the first time ever, and finally Googled, “How to make a resume.” #adulting #corpsing!!