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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Maybe One of Them Had a Cold


I thought it was just a rumor, but it’s true.

The rich are different than you and I.

Some of the differences are obvious. The shoes, for example, seem to be of a better quality. The haircuts, too, have a casually coifed, perfectly tousled aspect.

Devil-may-care hair, if you will.

And the food. The food’s definitely better.

It's my experience that the bulk of the wealthy, like us, the working class, walk upright, sometimes two-fist their drinks, and allow their children to play games after dark.

It is Friday night. I am helping the chef clean up/tear down following a graduation party. We tke apart the large portable gas grill, take turns walking the chafing dishes, hot box, tables and other cater-ly accoutrement up the hill.

My love of the heaving, hauling, and hoisting aspect of my job is well-documented.

And all of this gives me time to observe a gaggle of children.

Ten o’clock at night, the adults drunk and frenetically “networking”, this particular pack of children ranges in age from, say, six to eleven.

“I’m gonna karate kick Mark in the chest,” says the biggest one.

Ahh. The karate kick. My brother, King of the Nunchuks, was good at this.

Our favorite childhood after-dark game was Ghosts at Midnight, comprised primarily of us running between the trailers making appropriately ghostly noises and trying to scare each other until an adult threatened to put us in the house.

I wonder if kids still play “Ghosts at Midnight”.

In the failing light, just beyond the lighted tents of laughing, shouting adults, a child shoots by, narrowly missing the cooler-shaped pile of melting ice cubes I have just dumped into the grass.

“Hobos! Hobos!”

Hobos? Is that kid yelling “hobos”? Visions of men in baggy pants, their belongings tied up in a bandanna on the end of a stick balanced on a shoulder, possibly in need of a shave, springs before my eyes.

Hmm. Well that’s certainly different, shouting about hobos. Why, in my day we didn’t concern ourselves with –

“Aaaaaaaaaaah!” screams another kid, shooting off into the bushes and out the other side, scaring up flocks of still smaller children. “Homos! Look out! Homos!”

They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

That might be true, but still…

I don’t recall playing “Homos at Midnight”.ionki

20 comments:

Sioux said...

In my day, "Homos at Midnight" would mean a game about pasteurized milk.

That doesn't sound like a fun game, but hey, I obviously don't know what kids today consider fun.

Kathleen McCoy said...

Hmmm. Makes one wonder what they're hearing at home from the older folk. On the other hand, a lot of kids use the word "gay" when talking about something lame. So maybe at a time when they are growing toward or in puberty with some anxieties about sexuality in general, the play featuring scary homes is not so strange. That's my psychotherapist view. Personally, I think the game sucks!

Birdie said...

What a bizarre and terrible little game. Whatever happened to jump rope, clapping games and hop scotch? I have to admit I was at least 18 before I even knew what a "homo" even was. Like the N word and the R word, it makes me cringe.

Eva Gallant said...

We played "Kick the Can" after dark.

vanilla said...

Too funny.

Jackie said...

Perfect title for this post!

joeh said...

Sounds vaguely like "Flashlight Tag"

We used to call kids, usually our friends who did or said something "lame" Faggots! I like Birdy never knew or heard of a homosexual until I was 18 or 20. This kid game was probably much more innocent than it sounded...One can hope!

terlee said...

Ah, how nice. Another perect example of intolerance and bad behavior passed to the next generation.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

The good thing is they are out running but the way thy use language just reflects on us. We have let things evolve but we forget to take the time to educate with care those wee ones who are all ears.

jenny_o said...

Entitled children scare me more than ghosts do. Except when I feel sorry for them for not being taught better. There's more than one way to grow up disadvantaged.

Geo. said...

Fear of ghosts, Spectrophobia, to Homophobia in one generation. I don't think children's games signify any social progress, especially when they're up too late. But if people conquer all their fears, what will they run at each other and yell?

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Well, as you know, I have a special little "Hobo" of my own. ;)

We played "Ghosts in the Graveyard." I don't remember how to play, just that we waited till dark, and it scared me witless.

Roshni AaMom said...

ugh! Both terms sound equally terrible!

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

Ok I have a headache which is why I cannot think of a single funny thing to write about this in fact I can't come up with anyting in way of a good comment so I am just saying I was here and I read it and I have nothing else to say on the matter

jeanie said...

Our version was "Spotto" and involved a spotlight and catching those trying to gain "home" or "bar".

In my day, in such a game, the yelling of "homo" would have been a victory trill over the luckless spotto failing to score!!

Daisy said...

My brother was great at the karate kick too--or he thought he was anyway. We played Ghosts in the Graveyard after dark which, for us, was basically the same as hide and seek except it was played after dark. I don't really understand what those kids were playing that you saw, but I think it makes me feel sad for them.

River said...

We played hide and seek in the dark, but one day when no one was in the mood for hide and seek we just sat around for a while and then someone turned the hose on someone else and the great water fight was on. The resulting mud puddles had to be seen to be believed. They took days to dry out and the family pig and the ducks had a great time in them. This was long before water restrictions.

Rose L said...

Hmmm,...neither game is familiar to me! We used to play HIDE AND CRAWL IN. One person would hide and all other players counted to 100 and then would seek the hider. When found, they crawl in to the hiding spot and the last one to find them and crawl in is the hider for the next round.

Jocelyn said...

I'm in constant eavesdrop mode with kids and their gang games, and this one is very specific to the pack you observed. I don't mind being different from the rich in more than quality of haircut, it would seem.

the walking man said...

So did you make a decent tip on the gig. The rest about the kids just seems to me to be little thugs in the making no matter what social strata.