16 Candles - or Babies - or Something
Today, my best friend's daughter turned 16. That event made me recall my own year of being 16. I then came to this conclusion: For humans, 16 is a difficult age. Most other animals are old by then. They are babies for a few months or a year, then they're grown-up and on their own, having babies of their own every few months or years and definitely making their own decisions and taking full responsibility for their lives. By the time they're 16, they've had 8 or many more batches of kids, who've gone on to have kids and grandkids of their own. A mouse, if it lived to age 16, would probably have about a million descendents. An ape might have 40.
But a human is still considered a child, at least by his or her parents, has been coddled and protected and is certainly not ready to reproduce (at least in her parents' opinion). The 16 year-old herself thinks that she is quite grown-up and capable of taking care of herself and making her own decisions. What do parents know, anyway? Those stodgy old farts were never young! With such divergent attitudes, there are bound to be problems.-
If a 16 year old girl (ahem) becomes enamored of her 32 year old history teacher, and the teacher senses her receptive nature, the stage is set for early reproduction. By the time the girl is 48, she could have at least 48 descendents. And while the mouse has far exceeded her reproductive capacity, fewer of the human's descendents would be eaten by cats.
If there is a moral to this story, I don't know what it is, but I am glad I'm not 16 anymore. I'm also glad I'm not a mouse.