As You Grow

I don’t care how technologically advanced society gets, growing up is plumb hard. If you’re a kid, I hope you realize what you’re in for. In case you’re not, here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect.

I’ll begin at age five — when your mama still calls you, “pumpkin-poo-bear.” You’d better enjoy this while you can, because this is as good as life gets.

Age ten: you’re an expert tree-climber. To prove it, kids in your class will sign your arm cast. Around this age, you’ll notice some children aren’t like you. Maybe they have big ears, or a nose that looks like a duck in heat. Take me, for example, I look like a duck in heat.

Thirteen: ducks in heat notice girls.

Seventeen: there’s a certain female who makes your kidneys feel squishy inside. Call her, pumpkin-poo-bear. Kiss. Keep it all above the neck. By nineteen, you’ll be glad you did. Because broken hearts feel like someone sucked the color out of your hair.

Twenty-one: everyone’s talking about beer. Which is good stuff, but not the way they use it. A smart man can love beer without giving his life to it. Two beers and a laugh is better than waking up in the middle of an Andalusia cow pasture — or so I’ve heard.

Twenty-four: some folks tell you to begin worrying about your career. Don’t. For crying out loud, you just learned your Social Security number last week.

Twenty-nine: by now, you have someone who calls you, pumpkin-poo-bear, who isn’t Mama. This is still as good life gets.

Thirty-four: those same folks keep telling you to get your career figured out. Ignore them.

Thirty-eight: welcome to Arthritisville.

Forty: it’s okay to admit you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. None of us do.

Fifty: I hope you’ve spent plenty of time having fun, because now your body’s falling apart.

Sixty: see above statement.

Seventy, eighty, ninety: you’re wondering when you got so old and liver-spotty. And those same folks who talk about careers are still at it. Some of them have a lot of money now. Others: that’s all they have.

Be that as it may, I pray you still have someone who calls you, pumpkin-poo-bear. Because it doesn’t matter how old you become.

That’s still as good as life gets.

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