Ask a boy to do a backwards one-and-a-half somersault full twist reverse pike dive off the screen porch roof, onto the trampoline, catapult to the top of the slide on the bounce and zip headfirst right into the pool without losing momentum, and he’ll figure out a way to get it done.
Ask a boy to walk in a straight line in a crowded hallway…impossible. I have tried every method imaginable to instill this virtue upon boys, with zero positive results. We’re like a moving health hazard in public areas. Airports, malls, churches, you name it. My boys are determined to take somebody out.
“Can we all just walk in a straight line like normal human people?” I plead.
Instead I get twirling, hopping, bounding, rolling, lunging. Pretending the blue stripes on the carpet are “dragon rivers” which require humongous two-footed leaps to safety with giant thud landings that every brother is required to immediately replicate.
Tonight at church Nicholas was swinging his canvas bag in wild circles around and around himself until he created an orbit which continually spun off crayons, random snack crackers, and half-colored pages of Daniel in the lion’s den.
While walking backwards.
Keep in mind there are like 3 thousand people at our church. I think at least 2,400 of them were forced to dodge sideways at some point to avoid one of my boys.
Why is this so difficult? You know, just walking normally, remaining calmly aware of other pedestrians in your vicinity and avoiding inflicting major physical trauma upon them? I suppose it’s all just too mundane for boys. Lord knows I’ve tried every method to convince them that skipping backwards poses a significant menace to innocent civilians…
Not interested. Proceed to careen sideways into the path of someone collecting social security.
I warn them in my somewhat alarming tone of voice about that one kid who flew around a corner when I was in third grade and broke somebody’s grandma’s hip…
Unfazed. Attempt sliding down stairway handrails.
Really the only thing I’ve found that creates slow-walking boys that stay pleasantly close to my side and do not threaten others is to restrain them by their ear. This produces excellent results.
If this works so well then, why do I still have problems, you ask?
Well because I have three boys. And only two hands.
But I’m working on solutions, believe me. We will learn to walk. We may be 24 years old, but we will master it.