There are two adults making use of the the twisty slide at the local YMCA. A sweet simple man of about 26 years. And me.
"HEY!" says the sweet simple man.
"Hey," I smile.
"HEY! HOW FAST CAN I GO HOW FAST CAN I GO HOW FAST CAN I GO?"
"How fast can you go?"
"YEAH. DO YOU WANT ME TO GO FAST AND FURIOUS? LIKE A RACE CAR?"
"Yes!" I say. "That is VERY fast!"
"OK. I'M GONNA GO 29. 29. 29. I'M GONNA GO 29. OK? YOU WATCH ME GO 29, OK?"
"Alright. I'll be up here watching. You cut in front of me and my kids so we can watch how fast you go."
His eyes light up. Can't believe his luck.
"YOU CAN CLAP."
My Serena joins our convo.
"I'll be sure to clap really really loud. But you have to go super fast. OK?"
We clap and holler just as he begins to lower himself onto the slide.
"NOT YET!" he shouts. Slightly frustrated.
"Oh! Sorry, buddy," says Serena. "You let us know when you're ready."
He lowers himself onto the slide and looks up at us. The innocence and humility in his eyes shatters my heart and I smile.
"OK! CLAP NOW!" he yells as he slides away. Flailing limbs. Flat on his back. Feet in the air.
We did. All of us. Even the sullen teenage lifeguard couldn't help himself.
My new friend and I, along with my four children and two of their pals, go down that slide 20 times.
Later I see our friend (because he's your friend now too, isn't he?). I see our friend in the shallow pool with a couple of 12 year old boys.
I feel happy. Our Simple Man Friend has a couple pals.
The pals begin splashing Man in the eyes. He roars.
"ROAR! I'M A MONSTER! ROAR!"
His roar is loud. He's a Terrifying Monster. He doesn't splash back.
The two boys splash him harder. Every time he wipes his eyes and roars his terrible roar they blind him. Laughing.
Man doubles over. Rubs his eyes and roars.
I feel the heat of mean they exude. These boys. The mean is a blow torch on my chest. Cruel heat. Unjust pain.
They begin at new tactic. One jumps on his back, while the other splashes his eyes.
"ROAR!" Roars our gentle giant. "ROAR! I HAVE A CHANGE OF HEART. DON'T YOU KNOW I HAVE A CHANGE IN MY HEART?!'
They push him hard. He stumbles in the shallow waters.
Before I can intervene,
A life guard blows his whistle. "KNOCK IT OFF. NO PUSHING!"
The kids laugh. And begin again. Blinding the eyes of Man with water and cruelty.
I can bear it no longer.
I walk over to to Monster Man and his tormentors.
"Are you OK, buddy?" I ask Man. I glare at the demon boys. They shrink back a bit. "You don't have play with these mean boys. OK?"
Man removes himself from the kiddie pool. Rubs his eyes as he walks and mutters.
Using my superhuman powers, I dive into the water, grab the unkind boys by the rear elastic of their swim trucks and deliver the most severe wedgie known to man or boy. I fly around the pool. I carry them by the wedgie pants for all to see.
"APOLOGIZE!" I demand.
They weep and beg Man for forgiveness. But Man is busy on the slide. Going 29.
I continue the punishment due them.
"How about a swirly, guys?" I say. I know how much they enjoy the idea of rapid water splashes to the retinas.
And that's what happened. I know they learned their lesson.
I wish I'd brought my camera. I had a really cute Betsie Johnson suit on.
I hate when kids are mean like that. Makes me wonder if their parent's are abusive or neglectful or it they just came with a mean streak. What do you think? Nature or Nurture? I feel badly for mean kids. Mean kids are sad kids.