I am in my 20s. Many people seem to think I'm 16. This causes problems, say, if I want to get a date.

It also causes people not to take me seriously sometimes.
People who don't take me seriously tend to suck.

But there is one talent that I do have. It never fails. No matter how tricky they try to make it, I _always_ win at guess-your-age contests. So what if the two dollar junky stuffed animal wasn't even worth walking up to the booth at all and its eyes pop off as soon as you grab it. It feels _good_ to be good for something. Guess-your-age is all I'm good for.

Once, when I was 19 I walked up to a booth which had the unprecedented and utterly built-to-lose stipulation that if they came within four years of your age, they had guessed correctly. ha!

Nervously, I walked up to the booth, clutching the crisp bills in my hand, covetting the badly sewn blob of stuffed...I don't even know what that thing was, only that I wanted it. I pulled my jacket closed and hid my breasts. I put on my timid face. I played with my hair.

The guy at the booth thought he had me pegged. His logic was that he would bet on the low side of young, and then even if I was 17 or something, he'd still come out a winner. With odds like this, how could he lose?

He looked at me, nay, studied me for 10 unbearable seconds and reached for the mic. "I'd say you are....14!"

I didn't know whether to be highly offended or highly pleased, but nevertheless I pulled out my college ID. "19!!"

Embarassed, he handed over the junky stuffed whatsit to my eager fingers. I walked away triumphant from the inquest with my prize....well with my pride anyway. Eh, screw that, 14 hurt really bad!

But despite the insulting nature of this hobby of mine, I return again and again to these booths of shame and delight for a piece of the stuffed quasimodo pie.

The best thing I've gotten so far is a Clydesdale horse keychain. It was at Busch Gardens at a lame guess-your-age booth where they had to guess it right on the money. It was a way to get you to buy their stuffed animals and feel like you were winning, I guess. My friends chipped in on the $2 so I made out on top. And I got to show off my one talent.


Would you like to feel special too?

Here are some tips to winning at guess-your-age:

1) Take care of your skin.

This makes you look a lot younger than you really are. Use sunscreen (like that god-awful song says).

I was thinking that maybe having really awful leathery skin might work too, although it's a crapshoot because they never guess older if you look old. They always guess younger, especially on women, because they don't want to insult anyone. You might find them guessing younger to land on your exact age.

So, take care of your skin. You don't want to be a loser.

2) Hide your breasts/package.

Make your primary and secondary sex characteristics as invisible or ambiguous as possible. You should do that anyhow. It is great for your health.

3) Be timid.

Try not to look the guesser in the eye. Oftentimes people have been able to tell that I am older than 18 just by the adult nature of the eye contact I make with them. Timidity is especially important in contests with large ranges designed to make you lose your hard earned cash.

4) Display nervous kiddie habits.

Play with your hair. Pick at your face. Cover your mouth in a shy manner. Rub your eyes. Anything to make you look awkward and un-adult. This works like a charm and adds the finishing touches on to your disguise.

5) Be realistic.

If you are a fat, balding, gray bearded, forty-something man don't expect any of the above techniques to work.

Well, I've given you the secret of my talent. I guess that makes me worthless. Still, I challenge you to beat the four age range contest. I haven't met anyone else who could!

Wishing you stuffed animal goodness,


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