2017-05-25 / Viewpoint

The VIEW from here

Nonsense and funny business

Alex Petrie Staff Writer Alex Petrie Staff Writer Physically, I’m 29. Almost 30, but we’ll come back to that. Emotionally, I’m somewhere between 7 and 9 years old. We’ll call it 9. And never is that disparity more pronounced than right now. This precipice, immediately before summer opens up and devours us all. I’ve been chasing it since September and now I can practically taste it.

The barefoot days. The Modelo days. The sweet, hot, syrupy months of summer. There’s something in the air this time of year that bridges that chasm between the 9-year-old and the 29-year-old within me. And, whatever it is wafting through the air, I’m drawn to it. Hard. The same way old women are, for whatever reason, drawn to the smell of bar soap and talc.

Typically, I consider myself firmly planted in the cynical realm. At some point along the road, on some level, I equated happiness with stupidity. I’d see kids (or adults) displaying the fact that they were utterly void of self-awareness, blissfully ignorant of the fact that someone may be watching and judging them, and I’d think to myself, ‘What an absolute putz,’ and promise myself to never allow that. No nonsense. No funny business. Too risky.

I vividly remember seeing one of these putzes at Torzewski Park the summer before I went into second grade. He was wearing his glasses in the pool. Underwater. Which immediately caught my eye and put me in a bad mood. He was wearing his bathing suit, consisting solely of primary colors, somewhere between his collar bone and sternum, and standing directly in front of the squirt guns that were planted in the middle of the pool. He just stood there, grinning, letting all the kids shoot him in and around the face with torrents of filthy water, teeming with urine and bacteria.

I watched this go on for what felt like an eternity, until he’d apparently had enough, literally let out a squeal, and ran away. I never saw that kid again, but I’ll never forget that image. I hated him.

“What in the world could feel good about that?” I wondered. “What would make him do that? He’s older than I am and he’s acting like a toddler.”

It wasn’t until later that I realized that he was the normal one. Yeah, he was older than I was, but he was still a kid. No older than 10. That’s what kids are supposed to do. Squeal and stuff. You know what kids aren’t supposed to do? Worry about the bacteria in public pools. Or get angry that they saw another kid wearing his glasses underwater.

This summer, I may be turning 30, but I’m going into summer with the exact same enthusiasm as that kid at Torzewski. Nothin’ but nonsense and funny business from now until September.

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