Sunday, August 1, 2010

Clean Underwear

Topic of the day is accidents. Everybody has accidents; we fall, we wreck cars, break bones, trip over shit on the sidewalk. Favorite accidents are those that aren't very funny at the time, but we all laugh about later.

I had a pony as a kid. All girls want ponies. I got one. He was mean, and not properly saddle broken. His name was Cocoa. My mom got him from a woman who purchased a broken-down Thoroughbred mare from the racetrack. The pony was the thoroughbred's companion. Once upon a time, according to the story that came with Cocoa, he was a cart  pony. A cart pony. No idea of what do do with a rider, except his own ideas of what to do with a rider. If I was a spoiled little companion to a large Thoroughbred race horse, and being a pal to a larger, nervous animal was my sole purpose - would I want an eight year old pushing me around? Hmmmm.

I fell off a lot. The saddle would slide under the pony. The pony would be galloping and stop and drop his nose, causing me to lose balance and get thrown over his head. He bucked, he bit, he ran away from me. I can't believe I didn't break anything. The whole time I owned him I had accidents, bruises and a sore ass.

It was a pony. Little girls dream of having a pony.

But, we were talking about accidents. I can relate to an ill mannered pony, falling into a lake, not getting home in time and peeing my pants, scraping my knees - childhood stuff.

The Sanitation crew had other tales of other accidents.

So, you're six or eight. It's summertime. You are one of ten kids, so it's easy for Mom to overlook the fact that you've been stubbornly wearing the same underwear for weeks. Everybody knows you smell, but the truth is that no matter how hard you scrub a six-year-old boy, he's gonna reek again by the next day. Nobody thinks to ask why this boy smells. He smells like a boy.

This boy is climbing trees, playing in the sand, chasing frogs, running in puddles, riding his bike and building forts. His underwear is paper thin and it smells. He might get chased away from the dinner table or front room sofa - get outta here, boy. Go wash that nasty smell offa you. Oh, something smells like it died - son, when's the last time you washed up? The boy gets indignant - I washed this morning, dad! I'm clean! Yes, he might be clean, but that underwear is rank. He puts another pair on over the dirty ones. They are clean, he figures, so it's all good.

He and his friends are riding bikes. The older boys make ramps, pretending to jump the Grand Canyon. Everybody is Evel Kenievel. They dare one another to see who's got guts. Who gets the most air? Who falls, and isn't a sissy about it?

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