Salad days

(Photo provided)

I was recently at a shop when I referred to my salad days. A young person behind me commented that she thought the salad came on Tuesdays. Because I have zero poker face, I just turned and stared. I didn’t mean to be rude. I was trying to correlate my comment to her response. I reacted slowly, but I eventually thanked her for the advice. I was puzzled over whether or not to bring up the misunderstanding. It just didn’t seem necessary to possibly embarrass a total stranger. I also like thinking about a day for salads.

I had been referring to the Shakespearean quote, not seeking leafy greens. The term “salad days” refers to our innocence and carefree youth. Ah, youth is wasted on the young. Also, I liked the irony of a possibly misunderstood salad statement.

The term originated in the 1600s in Act I of Shakespeare’s play Antony and Cleopatra. “My salad days, when I was green in judgment: cold in blood, to say as said then!” There have been more modern references, like a 1954 musical and a Monty Python skit. Queen Elizabeth even used the phrase during her 2013 Christmas Message.

We all remember our worry-free times fondly. It doesn’t matter our age. Each age comes with more responsibility. The salad days are akin to “the good ol’ days.” Children, transitioning from one grade to the next, gain skills. My children remember the freedom of school recess while my mother looks back to when she was mobile. College students may wonder why they stressed about high school while those of us employed look back to the times when we didn’t have bills to pay. Remembering a carefree past also doesn’t mean anyone is currently unhappy. We are just looking at life from a different point of view.

I don’t remember why I was standing in a line bemoaning when I was young and naive, but I like how it turned into a moment where someone felt the need to be helpful. My kids think the girl was messing with my head and completely understood the reference. I like both ideas. I would have done the same thing in my salad days.


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