Thing 2 gave us the dinnertime rundown on his day at the local nature center's day camp. The usual -- washed a sheep, played running bases, got kicked in the 'nads.
"We were walking and one of the older boys turned around and hit me with his knee." A spasm of giggles shook his oversized, 6-year-old body. "Right in the peanuts."
This news sends a hollowness into any man's gut. It's a sympathy pain like the one you should have felt when your wife was pushing the kid out, but you were too busy gawking and thinking, "Huey Lewis! Look at that! How is THAT frickin' possible?!"
"Are you all right?"
"Yeah. I fell to the ground. It reeeeeally hurt," he said, snorting and covering his face with his grubby little man hands.
"Buddy, why are you laughing? Dad's been hit there before and it is usually NOT a laughing matter. Unless it happens to someone else, of course."
"I don't know. Heeee-heeee-heeeee."
"What happened to the boy who did it? Why did he do it?"
"I don't know. They made him take a time out."
Needless to say, the next day's pick up at camp required a more thorough debriefing before we arrived home. So when Thing 2 scampered up into the minivan, I Mike Wallaced him.
"How'd it go today, buddy? Any one pop you in the sack?"
"Nope. We picked corn from the garden. And I got to use a rake and a garbage bag to pick up horse poop. Country makes big poop. Missy's are small. She's a pony."
"You," I gasped. "You picked up horse poop?"
"Yep. I picked up sheep poop yesterday."
Hamster starts running on the wheel. Light bulb flickers on. "So, now that you are so experienced, I can have you pick up the dog's poop around the yard for me, right?"
"Daaaaaad! No! This is CAAAAAMP."
Worth a shot.
"And what has been your favorite part of camp, buddy?"
"Hmmm … Cleaning the pig's house."
Geez, I'm shelling out $325 a week ($340 if you include the camp T-shirt) so Thing 2 can to do the counselors' chores?! What the frick?! I can't get him to brush his teeth most mornings, but he's picking up sheep squirts like it was piñata candy.
"So," I said in disbelief, "you REALLY like this camp, huh?"
"Yep. And best of all, there are no brown people."
Ow ow ow ow! My socially liberal, agnostic-fearin' heart! Someone at the hospital accidentially gave me David Duke's son!
"Uh, come again."
"Brown people smell funny."
I'm hoping he means campers like himself who come home every day covered in mud -- and now, I'm guessing, various barnyard excrements -- but I have my doubts.
"Buddy, have you gotten a whiff of yourself lately? You're not a batch of sugar cookies fresh from the oven."
"Brown people aren't very nice to me, either."
"What are you talking about? What about Quinten and Tarantino in your kindergarten class? You seemed to get along fine with them. Tarantino even came to your birthday party. He gave you the Spiderman glove thingy that shoots Silly String. You loved that."
"Well, I guess some brown people are OK. We do have one brown kid in camp."
"Does he smell?"
"Daaaaaad, it's a g-IR-LLLL."
"I sit corrected. Does she smell funny?"
His eyes roll upward in deep thought. "No. I can't smell her at all."
"Is she mean to you? Does she knee you in the peanuts? Does she?"
"No. She doesn't talk to me."
"Soooo … you admit that not all brown people …"
"And not all brown people are …"
"Mean to me?"
"Boy, that is so right. People come in all different colors, sizes and, uh, smells. Doesn't make them bad, just different. You don’t have like everyone, just be nice and try to get along. Capesh?"
Eh, close enough. Besides, I think the minivan just took out someone's mailbox.
Yeah. It's a brown one.
My Uncool Past
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