Daryl Goes to High School

Daryl knew exactly what he wanted to wear his first day of high school. He was animated telling me about it, dropping into his faux hip-hop mannerisms he uses when he’s talking about how cool he is. He tends to lean to one side, drop his shoulder, and put his hands in front of him, gesturing like a rapper, one side of his mouth turned up in a knowing smirk, his eyes barely open, head nodding, and an occasional smack of the lips.

“I got it all planned out,” he said. “Imma gonna wear my…{smack} Adidas sweatpants and my… {smack} Adidas shoes and then my Adidas sweatshirt… yeahhhhh…” Slow, ‘cool’ nods of the head as he tilts back and slightly to one side.

“You are going to wear a sweatshirt. On August 20th. In Texas,” I replied.

“Yeahhh….it’s gonna be gucci maaaann…”

“You are going to look stupid. The upperclassmen are going to look at you and think, ‘look at that idiot wearing a sweatshirt when it’s a hundred degrees outside.”

“Nah, man. I’m gonna be killing it. See, Imma gonna be all Adidas. Imma even gonna wear my Adidas underwear.”

“How is anyone going to know you are wearing Adidas underwear if you are wearing a sweatshirt?”

“Easy… see… ya just pull your pants down a little like this…” He pulled one side of his pants down a few inches past his hips to reveal the waistband of his underwear. “Yeahhhh…” More head nods and arm gestures as he strutted across the room in front of me.

“Still, no one is going to see your underwear if you are wearing a sweatshirt, even if you pull your pants down a little,” I said.

“No, mama, you see, it’s like this. See, ya juss… ya juss… lift your shirt up like this see? You walk around, you just kinda lift it and go, ‘what’s up bruh? Yeah… iss aright man…’.” He kind of flopped his arms up under the bottom of his shirt and held his arms like he was greating his buddies from the hood or something, nodding and walking like he had a limp.

I shook my head.

“You are going to look like an idiot if you walk around like that.”

“Nah, man, I coo bro…” he said, pulling the other side of his pants down so he had that awful street look where his pants are barely hanging on and his underwear is almost fully revealed. I knew he was tweaking me then.

“You gonna wear Adidas socks to complete the look?” I asked.

“Oh, hecks no. I’m a Nike man! I be wearing my Nike socks! What you talkin’ about?”

Yes, he really said that. Yes he did. After describing his four piece Adidas outfit he was proud to wear on the first day, he declared himself a Nike man and thought I was crazy to suggest he wear anything other than Nike socks.

Kids are crazy, but I think teenage boys may take the cake.

And guess what? First day of school? He wore a T-shirt that he has had for at least two years. Not Adidas, not Nike.

“What about the Adidas sweatshirt?” I asked.

“Ahh… it’s in the hamper.”

“You gonna wear it anyway?”

“Nah. It’s dirty.”

He had a day and a half to wash that sweatshirt after announcing his perfect first day of school attire. I guess the desire to look his imagined best doesn’t go deep enough to override general teenage laziness, forgetfulness, and that overwhelming need to get as much Fortnite in as possible before summer ends.

Fine by me. Saved me all the “Sweatshirt? Really? Is that boy crazy?” questions I would have gotten when I shared the first-day-of-school pictures on Facebook.

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Making Sacrifices

Jane asked me to try on her jeans this evening. When I asked why, she began to beg. It was an odd request, but I told her to set them on my bed and I’d try them on in a few minutes.

Being of an older generation than her, I have a different preference on how my jeans are cut. To be perfectly blunt, I like to know I’m not showing everyone my butt crack when I bend over. The jeans fit but felt dangerously low to me. They were also uncomfortably snug on my thighs. This isn’t because mine are bigger than hers – guys at school have told her she has “man thighs” (which she considers a compliment). I just prefer relaxed fit.

Nevertheless, I walked into her room wearing the jeans. She looked at me and wordlessly motioned for me to spin around. I lifted my shirt slightly and complied. “Well?” I asked.

“They look good on you. I just wanted to see how they looked. I like them.”

“Mmm,” I said, reaching into the front pocket and pulling out the fun pack of peanut M&M’s I had noticed inside them. “Thanks for the M&M’s!”

“Wait! Give those back to me!” She tried to wrestle me down as I waved the candy just out of her reach. Since she’s an inch and a half taller than me, I knew I couldn’t hold out for long. So I feinted one direction and then darted my hand to my mouth. I shoved one end of the package into my mouth – enough to trap a single M&M behind my teeth.

She carefully grabbed my hand, which was still holding the bag.

“Mommy…” she said in her best threatening tone. “Open your mouth.”

I shook my head and grunted an “Uh-uh!” all while laughing and struggling. I contemplated pulling on the package with my teeth to tear it apart and eat the one I had trapped behind my teeth. She continued her calm yet menacing insistence that I release the treasure.

Before I could decide to act on my impulse, she began to pull on the bag. I clenched my teeth and kept the single M&M trapped. Eventually the paper tore and I triumphantly showed the M&M between my teeth before crunching on it.

She shrugged as she tucked the remainder away. “Sometimes you’ve got to make sacrifices.”