November 24, 2006


The other day I was reminded of a childish game I used to play with two other children on my block.

When I was six years old (and for some time thereafter) Alan from next door was my friend. The third person in our group was a six-year-old from the down the block named Jimmy. We were a happy trio until we started fooling around with the notion of contracts. I'm not sure who thought of it first but at any given time, two of us would be engaged in a "contract" that excluded the third of us. The contracts were always finite and when one ran out another one would be devised.

One Saturday morning, while Jimmy and I were carrying out a contract against Alan, I remember being in Jimmy's kitchen. His father was sitting in a robe at the table drinking coffee but I couldn't see his pajamas. My dad always had his legs covered under his bathrobe so this was complete mystery to me. My curiosity got the better of me and pulled his robe so I could see what happened to his bathrobe. He wasn't wearing anything underneath his bathrobe or he may have only been wearing boxers. It's not the clearest memory in the world. What I remember clearly however, is not going to Jimmy's house much after that. I got into trouble.

But, I ask you. Was that fair? Why didn't Jimmy's father get into trouble for being half naked under his bathrobe in close proximity to a little girl? I don't know.

Having nothing to do with my inappropriate curiosity, Jimmy's family moved shortly after that incident. But Alan and I continued our friendship well into 4th grade. It was then that we started to drift apart. Very sad. We never were friends beyond that. But I do have fond memories of trading and flipping baseball cards with him and playing kickball in the street with Alan and other children from the block.

After nine, my friendships took a cruel turn. As we slowly approached our teen years, the other children started to notice that I was different and took great pleasure in embarrassing me, humiliating me and terrorizing me. I'm sure my childhood isn't that different from anybody else's. So, I won't leave you with an awful story. Not after telling an almost amusing anecdote like the one above.

I'll save the darker stories of my childhood for another post.

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