by David Lohrey
I remember nine. Nine is key.
At nine one is too young to masturbate.
At nine there are no girls.
Nine is great because at nine
one has very little to think about.
I had no ambitions. At most, I regretted
missing an episode of Batman.
At most, I was sorry for not having been
picked for the kickball team. At most,
I didn’t like one of my Christmas presents.
Nine was a time of mutual admiration. My parents
thought the world of me, and I thought the world of them.
In fact, I thought dad was great. Mom, too, up to a point.
Soon she would lose my respect, but at 9 she was still A-OK by me.
One’s parents can do little wrong in the eyes of a boy
before he’s ten. We openly praised our parents. I can
remember lying, bragging about their achievements. Father, I said,
could fly. He could eat kryptonite. He could turn clay to gold.
He was a god. My friend Nathan’s father was pretty great, too.
We were proud.
We kept things to ourselves when I was young.
We whispered about sex. No one distributed
condoms. They confiscated them and whipped our asses.
At nine, all was well. It was assumed we were innocent
and we were. Most of us wanted to marry our moms.
Daddy stood in the way but we didn’t know why.
At nine the highpoint of the day was an after-school popsicle
(I preferred cherry.) We caught guppies at the edge of the city
pond. We shoplifted at Woolworth’s. We pushed too many
elevator buttons. We ran like hell.
There is no going back. Who would want to?
Back to nine is back too far. But it does seem sad that kids
today skip it. They’re on the phone to the police when they
get yelled at. They’re sent to sex reassignment counselors in third
grade. Boys are busy picking out dresses. Teachers distribute
condoms at lunch time. The sexual revolution is at its most violent
in elementary school where kids are robbed of their innocence.
What dreadful indoctrination. What utter dreck. We’re
headed in the wrong direction. For this alone, I’m glad I’m 62.
I wouldn’t want to be nine.