Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Story 93: Confessions of a Once and Future Child

            You know how you look at somebody and think: “He is such a man child,” or “Why doesn’t she just grow up?” or “He’s so immature,” or even “What a big baby.”
            They wish.
            People of Earth, I am here to tell you that I have discovered the Fountain of Youth, the answer to never growing up and never growing old (mentally, that is – this isn’t a miracle).  Here is the solution for your nostalgia, your melancholy, and your animosity towards your current life:
            Don’t allow yourself to become bored with what makes you happy.
            That’s it.  I’m not even charging a fee for it.
            You liked playing with dolls when you were 5-, 6-, 7-years-old?  Why’d you stop, then?  Because you got bored with them, that’s why.  Well, guess what?  The living versions of those are called babies, and they require a lot more maintenance.  Plus they grow up to break your heart, but that’s off-topic.
            I loved playing with my little wooden soldiers, so you know what?  I never stopped!  Why should I?  They’re so cool!  Yes, I am a 52-year-old man who plays with toys because they make me happy.
            And what law is there that requires that I must work a minimum of 40 hours a week until I collapse into my grave?  Sure, things like “salary” and “benefits” may appeal to some (most) people, but it’s not as if I’ll be thrown in jail if I’m technically unemployed, right?  Mom and Dad didn’t kick me out, and they left me a nice annuity to ensure my survival, so why should I join the ranks of the miserable, over-worked, struggling adults just so I can have an in-ground pool and a jet ski that I don’t need?  Why, when I can relax around the house and volunteer at the rec center as I’ve done every year since I was in high school?
            Speaking of school, that is a key element of childhood, so I have faithfully continued my education in… everything.  Nothing defines “child” more than complaining about homework and looking forward to summer vacation!
            Ah, summer – the time to run around the yard in your bathing suit, or ride your bike to the woods to look for treasure, or play ball in the park (the street’s gotten way too crowded).  Why does everyone stop doing all that?  We all had a great time.  Are you too cool now, is that it?  Or did life just wear you down and make you old?
            Same goes for winter: sledding in the snow, ice skating in circles for hours on the local rink, and presents!  Why is all that stuff fun and appropriate now only if you’re really doing it for some chronological child?  I can’t wait to see the lights on the trees and on the menorahs, and hear the annual repetitive music, and cozy up in my bed with the blankets while it’s snowing outside (hot cocoa must be an accompaniment).
            So I’ll keep playing with my toys, and building sand castles on the beach, and exploring my backyard in the company of my imaginary friend.
            The rest of you are welcome to join me whenever you wish.

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