On Saturday, I watched a couple groups of kids playing baseball at a mini-Fenway Park in Oakland.

For two hours they battled, swatting so many hits and racking up so many runs no existing form of mathematics could possibly calculate the score. You’d need to employ tenth powers, degrees of polynomials and possibly gerunds to get anywhere close.

No problem. The score didn’t really matter. When the game was done, neither team acted as though they had won. They all just went screaming off into the outfield, tossing their gloves in the air, turning somersaults and hollering things no adult ear could comprehend.

Once that ritual was finished, most of them went down the dusty dirt road to swim in the lake. And when they got their fill of THAT action, some of them went off to ride four-wheelers, a few went camping, and others retired for pizza and ice cream.

Similar activities were planned for Sunday. And for Monday, as well, and on and on for the remainder of the glorious summer.

I’ll be honest with you. Observing the Pigpen-style dust storms that marked their youthful rampage through summer, I hated those kids a little bit. I hated them because they are living like tiny princes in a golden age and they don’t even know it. People like you and I could explain it to them until we pass out from the exertion and the little weasels wouldn’t absorb a single word of it. Biology has programmed them to utterly dismiss commentary that includes phrases like “… don’t know how lucky you are” or ” … the best years of your life.”

To these wee golden people, windy advice and babbling observation sound like meaningless, Peanuts-style noise if it’s uttered by someone over the age of, say, 17. It’s all “mwah mwah, mwah mwaaaahow.” The little boogers will nod at you as if they understand every word, but silently, they’re wondering if you’re so old that you have to wear a diaper. And then they’ll go sprinting off to play levitating laser tag or full-contact cyber Frisbee, completely oblivious to the fact that it won’t always be this easy or this blissful.

I know all these things because I swear that just 10 years ago, I was the kid jumping around like a lunatic monkey on the Little League field. I was the oblivious prince doing cannonballs at Camp Yoot in the middle of a summer that seemed light-years long.

I distinctly remember creaky, droning grown-ups dispensing their weird advice about the unparalleled joys of youth. “Youth is wasted on the young,” they’d babble, “You’re only young once” and “mwah, mwah, mwaaaah.”

And I’d think, “I’ll bet this ancient fellow has a diaper AND wooden teeth.” I never once gave a moment’s thought to this strange talk of fleeting time and of adulthood crouching like some fairy tale monster in the near distance. I just went on chasing balls and Frisbees and girls and assumed that the concept of adulthood was so far off that it wasn’t worth worrying about.

Next thing you know, you’re standing next to mini-Fenway instead of in the middle of it, grinding your wooden teeth and musing bitterly on the long-gone dreamscape of youth. If only there was a way to get one more crack at it, right? Surely you’d appreciate every blissful moment if you got to do it over again.

Ah, you fool kids don’t know nothing. Mwah, mwah, mwah. And this is why we’ll yell at you to get the hell off our lawns every chance we get.

Mark LaFlamme is a Sun Journal staff writer. Droning duffers can email him at [email protected]


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