June 30, 2010
So far this summer, my offspring has spent an unacceptable amount of time complaining, and let me tell you something…that little dude is livin’ the high life. Wake up. Lay around and watch cartoons. Mommy makes pancakes or something equally as delicious. Go swimming. Go someplace fun or go out to lunch. Play with friends. Repeat. What the hell is he complaining about? It boggles my mind. For a little perspective, here’s how summers went down when I was a kid…
Sometime between 7:00 and 8:00 am: The woman we called “Mom,” but seemed more like a prison warden or internment camp officer entered out bedroom, pulled our covers back, told us to get up, make the bed, and do a few chores that none of our friends had to do. None. Not one.
After bed-making and totally unfair chore doing were completed: Eat breakfast. Usually it was something totally disgusting like poached eggs, which the warden knew we hated but loved to make us eat anyway, just like she did liver and onions, which I betcha anything the prisoners at Guantanamo would not even be forced to eat. Breakfast took a little longer than one would expect, due to the fact that we had to wait for the warden to leave the room so that we could stuff those nasty, runny, eggs in the way bottom of the trashcan, using our super ninja-like, egg-hiding, moves. Stealthiness was key, because if caught, we would be forced to eat another egg.
After pretending to eat breakfast: Go outside. “Oh,” you might be thinking, “You were an outdoorsy child and couldn’t wait to frolick in the morning dew, listen to the delightful sounds of happily singing birds, and generally commune with Mother Nature.” Well, if that’s what you’re thinking you’re a delusional d-bag. I was a kid. All I cared about was watching cartoons, eating junk food, and basically just hanging in there with my current family until I was either adopted by Daddy Warbucks or Edward Stratton III from “Silver Spoons.” If it were the latter, then the adoption would be informal, wherein I would live with the Stratton’s and get all of their money, my own room, my own cotton candy machine, and get to ride around our house on that awesome train, yet could still marry Ricky when I turned 18 (and carry on my illicit affair with Ricky’s best friend and token bad boy, Derek Taylor). Anyway, going outside was not something that we volunteered to do, but much like prison yard time, it was required. Although unlike prison yard time, which I have learned from the movie’s is usually a short period of time, our yard time lasted until dark. We would normally be outside for at least 2 hours before other kids, from more laid-back households, would finally appear. They had spent the morning lounging around in their PJ’s, eating some Boo Berry cereal, and drinking some store-bought chocolate milk And there we were, the sunburned losers who’d been sitting on the curb staring at ants for 2 hours, and seriously contemplating eating them because our bellies were empty from avoiding the wet eggs.
Lunchtime: Thank God! Sooooo freaking hungry! Soooooo freaking hot out here! Can’t wait to go inside and watch some TV and adjust the tuner about a quarter inch to the right so we could get MTV and try to figure out WTF was up with Boy George. Well, dream on kiddos. Once we were thrown out of the house in the morning, we were not welcome to come back in until dark unless we had to use the bathroom, and in that case we were expected to go in the basement door and use the scary one down there which had walls that the previous owner’s son had painted with devil’s. Probably with blood. There’s nothing like trying to release your bladder while staying alert for a satanic attack. At least for lunch we had decent food like regular kids, and usually some Kool-Aid or a Pepsi. I’m pretty sure the reason our lunch was so good was because we had to eat it outside where the neighbors could see. Otherwise, I’m fairly sure that the warden woulda dug the poached eggs outta the trash, squished them between a couple slices of bread, stuck them on a paper plate, and sent them our way.
After Lunch: This was usually about the time that we were exhausted and near heat stroke, and in desperate need of some time in the shade to cool down. At least that’s what I told the neighbor boy when I draped a blanket over the picnic table and insisted he play house with me. House was the role-playing game where I would make the neighbor boy say things to me like “I love you,” “You’re the prettiest girl in the world,” and “You smell like cotton candy.” Then I would make him do some light dusting, sweep the floor, and kiss me on the lips. For 5 straight seconds. Because everyone knows that a kiss that lasts under 5 seconds is not a real love kiss, and is more of a hooker type kiss. Eventually he would get tired of our pretend marriage and try to leave, at which point I would threaten to tell his parents that he sometimes peed in the neighbor’s yard, and he would decide to stay.
Pre-Dinner: Having exhausted ourselves on our bikes, swingset, climbing trees, etc… we would often go door to door with a wagon full of rocks, flowers, and whatever miscellaneous junk we could find and try to sell it, or at least trade it, for candy. This usually went quite well, and we got a big enough sugar high to keep us going until dinner. Once we grew bored of being traveling salesmen, we would ride our bikes back and forth in front of the mean old lady’s house. If we were feeling extra bored, we would ride in and out of her driveway and really pissed her off. We would do this until she came outside yelling terrible things at us and threatening to call the cops, then we would move on to something else.
Dinner: All I can say about this is that we got to eat it in the house. Hallelujah.
Post-Dinner: This was the time of day when we would put up lawn chairs and force everyone in the neighborhood to watch us perform some sort of show. Maybe a play. Maybe some stand up comedy. Perhaps a gymnastics routine. Then we would either play some kiss tag, ghost in the graveyard, or swinging statue, or maybe catch some lightning bugs, rip their butts off, and make them into jewelry.
Bath Time: Dear Mom, I hardly ever took a bath. I just stuck my feet in the water then made wet foot prints on the rug. I was a filthy, disgusting child who never even washed the lightning bug butts off of my ear lobes and neck. xoxoxo, Patti
Bed Time: I had to share a room with my sister who snored like a fat old man, and my closet door often popped open for no reason and scared the crap out of me because I convinced myself there was either a psycho murderer or a ghost in there. And my mom would hardly ever turn on the air conditioner and it was hot and sticky and snorey and ghosty and annoying. Not at all like my room at the Stratton’s or Daddy Warbucks’, where it was quiet and fluffy and smelled like flowers and candy and I got to sleep late and have the maid make my bed and I had a movie theater to watch my cartoons in and if I wanted to see Adam Ant or Boy George, my rich “dad” would just pay him to come over, and the cook would make me whatever I wanted to eat and we had air conditioning and a swimming pool and probably some kind of machine like a car wash -but for people- that I could just ride through and come out clean and all dressed up like the Jetson’s or something, and I’d sing and dance with a magic dude named Punjab and maybe make Ricky kiss me on the lips.
The Boy has his own bedroom. His own TV. A swimming pool. He can go outside if he wants too, and back inside if he wants to. I will happily sing and dance with him 24/7, and I wouldn’t dream of making him eat liver or runny eggs. That kid has it made. In the air conditioned shade.
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