I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s and if that doesn’t give you an ancient enough perspective, born during the Korean war. Things were indeed simpler then, but only by comparison. Yeah sure enough, kids played outside and for the most part were healthier. Playin’ tag, hide & seek and makin’ shit up, were the only games in town so to speak. People paint a romantic picture of mom, dad and kids crowded around the family radio listening to a baseball game. Where the hell else were you going to hear it? Didn’t come home til the street lights came on and why would you? Talk to your parents? It’d certainly be a thrill to talk to their old asses, they were pushin’ thirty if they were a day. Those later to be named “baby boomers” found trouble with their idle time on occasion, some enjoyed it so much they went on to spend their idle time in Reform school and Prison. But for those of us that wrongdoing was only a distraction,it was a good one. My neighbors, a brother and sister team, joined me in becoming a three man gang, sworn to secrecy with a blood oath to take our private matters to the electric chair and beyond. We had honed our skills to the point that after climbing on building roofs, where we had no business, we retreated to the street to mingle with pedestrians. Not so crafty eh? Well, perhaps I should mention we switched jackets with each other to avoid detection. We didn’t split up because, that’s what they’d expect us to do.
Entering the sixth grade, the danger only multiplied. Romance? Well apparently there was more to it than simply “show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” Under normal circumstances, we would be left to fend for ourselves, live and learn if you will but good fortune gave us, Lumpy Larry Lebowski who was doing his second or third tour in the sixth grade. Larry was a big shot and we all looked up to him. Afterall, Larry always had cigarettes and could swear like nobody’s business. He got the name ‘Lumpy’ after the gym teacher, Mr. Hall knocked the hell out of ‘em and put lumps on his head. Larry’s ol’ man came to the school to give Mr. Hall ‘what for’ and Mr. Hall whipped his ass as well. Outta nowhere a lot of the girls were hot to trot, at least that’s what Larry said. And if you think about it, why would he lie? He had hair on his nuts and everything. It didn’t take me long to figure out gettin’ older. All I had to do was act like Larry and that was a piece a’ cake. If anyone asked you anything, you just nodded your head and said, “Fuckin’ A”. Outside of school, protocol included a deep drag on your cigarette preceding your statement. I was havin’ the time of my life and not learnin’ shit. That is until Mr. Hall called me into his office one day, “if you don’t wanna be wearin’ your balls for earrings, you’ll quit acting like an asshole.” I would later occasionally utter, “Fuckin’ A” but never with same authority and confidence, never, not even to this day