Friday, November 7, 2008

Back To School

I spent the morning at a local elementary school observing young people. I could say "interacting" with young people, but that would be a wild stretch. It was terrific fun--if not a completely natural situation for yours truly. I'm embarrassed to say that at one point I found myself informing a pair of energetic boys to cease their "horseplay". Ouch. I cringe to think I've become one of those adults. One of those non-fun adults. One of those responsible worry-worry adults. But at some point that simply becomes our job, doesn't it? To worry so kids don't have to. What a rip-off! Those lucky ducks! It was all for a good cause, though --namely to prevent the inexperienced youth from "interacting" intimately with the unforgiving pavement. Head vs. Concrete is a battle we all fight and lose sooner or later, but later is always better.
So this morning I found myself acting as a monitor at the "poofy" slide exit of one of those giant, inflatable, rumpus-room-type thingamabobs. My job was to make serious demands in a serious voice; things like: "Don't bounce!", "Slide on your butt!", "Feet first! Feet first!"
It was actually kind of hard for me.
Sure--I write books for kids, but not because I have a knack for communicating with kids; I write kid's books 'cause I'm sort of a kid myself (don't let the gut and the gray hair fool you). I can certainly empathize with a youngster's strong desire to launch himself mid-air off the parapet of an inflatable castle, especially if he's dressed up like Superman, which more than a few of them were.
Believe me, if I had basic health insurance, who knows what I might do! I might even think about jumping off something myself.

I'd probably think about it a long time, though.

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