In another seemingly endless car ride from the house to the pool, one of the boys begins to tell me about this “kid” he knows.
“He has three tarantulas and four snakes.”
“Oh, and he’s allowed to blow up whatever he wants, whenever he wants. His dad lets him.”
“He has his own room, it’s huge. There’s a huge TV and two computers inside.”
“Really,” I say. This “kid,” I wanted to tell him, probably has a solitary hamster, has to be in bed at seven thirty and most likely shares a room with three sisters, all of whom have severe Hello Kitty fetishes. This kid, I wanted to tell him, is probably like the friend who tells you about all the sex she and her husband have, but who secretly sleeps downstairs on a sofa, spooning a gallon of ice cream. The same friend who insists on regaling you with sordid details of weekends away when instead, she most likely found her husband wearing her underwear.
But I say none of this.
I am about to say something, probably something very wise, when Bennett reaches over and changes the radio station.
“This is it!” they both scream! “This is the song we want!”
I don’t know what the song was called, or who sang it. All I heard were lyrics that sounded something like: I just came for the ladies and the drinks.
How the hell did these kids hear this song, and what on earth do they know about ladies or drinks? And who told them they were allowed to turn off NPR forty days before the election?
It’s becoming apparent to me that my influence here is waning, and that while today I am competing with other “kids”, I may soon be competing with ladies and drinks. Perhaps I ought to relax and let it all happen, but I won’t. I turn NPR back on, crank it up and tell them that it’s either this or thirty minutes of Streisand, complete with my own running commentary.
Clearly, I am not going down without a fight.