So, Joey, 9 years old, 5’5″ wants to “workout” after school. He wants to “learn to be a man.” I take this to mean he wants to toughen up. He’s tired of bein’ a kid and he hates how he gets upset when “other kids make fun of” his size, his “loud mouth,” and his goofin’ off in class.
“Of course,” he says, “I never make fun of them.” Then adds, “Just kidding. I’m 9 years old. Yeah, I make fun of others kids. It’s what boys do.”
Girls, too. Erica’s mom works at McDonald’s. Joey and I stop there before I drop him off at school. Joey has been eatin’ side salad, ranch dressin’ and water for breakfast. He wants to lose weight. He also wants 2 chocolate chip cookies as a reward for what he calls his “smart choice.”
This mornin’, Erica’s mom buys his cookies and delivers them to our table. She tells Joey, “These are on me provided you promise to be good in school today. All day today.”
Joey accepts the cookies and says, “Yes ma’am. I promise.”
She laughs and says, “Erica says you’re doin’ better. Keep it up.”
After she leaves, Joey sighs, rolls his eyes and asks, “Can I draw a picture of Erica and tape it to the heavy bag then punch it to shreds?”
I tell Joey, “A real man is flattered when a young lady takes the time to tell her mama all about him. A real man would say, ‘Thank you for the compliment.'”
Joey rolls his eyes again, says, “Oh, brother.” And begins drawing his portrait of Erica on the back of a paper McDonald’s place mat.