Kids are great aren’t they? All that boundless energy and unbridled enthusiasm for life, the fearlessness with which they approach everything they do, the careless joy of simple play, and their endless curiosity for everything around them always puts me in a special mood. That’s why I try never to miss an opportunity to screw with their little heads.
I was out dawdling in the yard a while ago, and several of the neighborhood kids were playing nearby. The sound of their laughter and their occasional high pitched squeals took turns making me smile and setting my teeth on edge. I suspect it has something to do with turning fifty that other people’s children aren’t quite as endearing as they once were. But, I’m quite experienced in the art of prepubescent ignoration and so I was going about my piddling without too much discomfort.
Unfortunately, in my determination to let them have their fun I didn’t notice that they had noticed me. “Hello,” I heard in a tinkling little voice. I looked up and there were three of them. They had me surrounded on one side.
“Hello,” I said, “and how are you ladies doing today?”
“Fine,” they said in chorus.
“It sounds like you’re having a lot of fun over there,” I said, and they all laughed as if I’d said the cleverest thing.
“How old are you?” asked the medium sized blond one.
“Well,” I said, “that depends on what you mean by old.” This gained me a quizzical stare but no further discussion of my age.
“We like your house.” said the taller dark haired one.
“Thank you very much,” I said. “We like it too.”
“Where did you get the money to buy such a big house?” asked the little one, her blond curls framing an angelic face.
“Well,” I drawled as I squatted down to their level. I looked around suspiciously and then whispered, “We used to have a little girl about your age, and we sold her. I sure hope your Mom and Dad don’t want a bigger house.”
They were still screaming when I stepped inside for a glass of iced tea. See, you’re never too old to play with the kids.