My remarkable grandson asked the following, “papa, when you pee, can you stop and then start again?” Thank god he didn’t ask if worms can dream; he did cause me however to stop and marvel about what comes into the mind of a three year old.
The question also brought memories of things that little boys do that are so easily forgotten by grizzled men, like me.
There was a time you see when I kept my eyes mainly on the ground when I walked. Most every week Henry Hagarty’s lad would find loose change lying not only outside of any place of business but also most anywhere…in the grass, on the sidewalk, under a rug or on the road. At that time pennies were not derisively shunned as they are now. A mere penny could get a young hellion three fat jube jubes. Combine a lowly penny with an empty pop bottle or two, and you could get a small bag of glorious bonbons. And candy, dear friends was of utmost importance to a wee tadpole.
Spitting was also a shared pleasure of boys. Spitting the farthest was a matter of great importance to all… and hawking loogies brought many accolades from pals, if said loogie was spit far enough and bounced multiple times before it settled into a serene puddle. Colour mattered too; example…conjuring one up, after the downing of a black licorice pipe, made a darkly triumphant splash to little boy culture…as interfering and reprimanding little girls gagged with gusto.
Peeing contests gave mere boys great satisfaction, it mattered who could pee the farthest, for the greatest duration and to simply make the best noisiest backwash against any wall or tree….an impressive arc also brought kudos from friends. I swear that once my arc was so prolific that a rainbow edged its way into my stream.
Underwear rust contests also gave us great enjoyment when my pals and I were in our salad days. I can recall changing at Barbers Beach with Roy and Red and trying to determine who has the greatest brown streak on their pristine white jockeys. Note, in those times underwear was white only. Anyway, I am proud to tell the reader that the winner was the one with the nastiest brown streak. He would be jokingly derided and jeered…but with great respect and envy.
Soon, Keenan will be attempting to whistle and with much practice he’ll be able to carry a tune of a favourite song, or call a friend via a secret code with his newfound vocal toy.
Sadly, in that important art, I could never whistle in the coolest way, which was to put both of your index fingers under the tongue and rip out a fearsome trill. I still envy those males who can whistle in that illusive manner.
Boys of my generation also spent a great deal of time relaxing and looking up to the heavens. Clouds and cloud shapes were important to us at the time…and how fast they moved, peaked our curiosity.
Climbing was mandatory. It didn’t matter whether we were hefting ourselves up to sneak a cookie in a Himalayan cupboard, climbing a tree or mounting a pal’s back in order to have giant fights…climbing was of biological and sociological necessity for all young males.
Anyway, no time to talk about Keenan’s future discoveries like; looking at contrails, not stepping on cracks, torturing bugs, tormenting girls, star gazing or asking mom and dad a thousand times a day, questions that started with the inquisitive ‘why’ word.
I’ll end this now and tell the reader what I told Keenan when he asked if I could stop peeing in midstream.
My answer was ‘yes, my remarkable boy, papa can stop but chooses not to.’
I think at times that I’d like to go back for even a day as a young pollywog. Wouldn’t it be great to view the world from the eyes of a young boy?…to see the possibilities and mystery of all that surround us.