What Boys Think About
They stared at him like, "Well, duh. Seeings how you're four years older than us."
Then he clarified. "I meant I could beat all of you at the same time. My team won the city championships."
The first graders started saying, "No. We'd beat you up. We'd punch you."
I guess they'd be playing Moms & Pops rules. Moms & Pops is a tournament in which mainly the dads play each other according to what class their oldest kid is in. My brother says it gives dads the opportunity the moms have through the PTA to form lifetime enemies. It rarely comes to blows. But there are some friendly headlocks and elbows to the eyeballs. It's Justin's favorite weekend of the year.
The basketball statement got me thinking about the things that occupy young boys' minds. The things that, 20 years from now, won't even be a blip on their radar.
Things like the logistics of opposite.
"There is no such thing as opposite day," I heard Johnny argue with his friend the other day. "Because if you say it's opposite day, it is not opposite day."
Twenty years from now, Wednesday will roll around and their boss will say, "There's a meeting today at 4:30."
And it won't even cross their minds to say, "Too bad it's opposite day!"
Also in 20 years, they'll no longer know, within half an inch, how tall their friends' dads are. In the car today, we drove by a parking lot with six foot three clearance. Johnny's friend said, "My dad could make that by one inch. Your dad's head would be touching the ceiling."
Remember when you used to know exactly how tall your friends' dads were? Kids wore it like a badge of honor.
"My dad is five foot eleven."
"My dad is five foot eleven and a half."
"My dad is five foot seven but he once lifted a car." (Short but strong was just as good as tall.)
You might still know, off the top of your head, how tall your oldest friends' dads are. But I bet you don't know--or have even thought to ask--how tall your colleagues' dads are. Or your neighbors' dads. Maybe it's because, as a kid, you knew your friends' height might mirror their parents' height. Now, not only are your friends finished growing, but you also don't give a hollering hoot how tall they are. It's something that only concerns kids.
Here's the thing with the basketball comment, though. I've never seen Justin announce to a room of people, "I could beat all of you in basketball. Not one at a time. But all at once. I'm the champion of the city. Beyond that, have a great weekend and enjoy your cocktails."
But sometimes, maybe he's thinking it.