Life is a comedy; And your children are the comedians!
Several years ago we stood on a cold soccer field to watch our child play a team sport. The parents lined one side of the rectangular field and the coaches and children, who were not currently on the field, lined the other side of the field. There was a port-a-potty in the parking lot but the children found it easier to slip into the woods behind them when their tiny bladders needed relief. You would see a constant stream (pun intended) of traffic in and out of the woods. Now I have a child who excels at minimal effort. This child has taken, not laziness, but using the path of least resistance to an art form! So there we sit on the sidelines with the grandparents, our friends, neighbors, and strangers–perhaps 50-60 in all. My son is on the sidelines at exactly the halfway point of the field. He spins around and without taking a step whizzes into the weeds. Everyone on our side of the field is staring at him simply by nature of watching the game! They’d have to turn their chairs around to not see the golden arch emanating from my child’s crotch. Girls don’t do this! Or perhaps they do and are simply more subtle or I’m oblivious.
You would think over the years either my child or I would have learned. He continues to hone his least resistance skills constantly finding new ways to make the minimal effort. Mind you, that does not mean he does poor work.
Some people see Boy Scouts as a paramilitary, religious organization; I see Boy Scouts as a character building, skill teaching, adventure seeking organization. During our open and closings of our meetings, the adults line one wall and the scouts line another wall. That puts roughly 17-24 boys ranging from 11 to 18 years old facing 6-15 adults. We had good numbers at this last meeting and there is my son, on the fifty.
I’ll let you in on a male secret. Things shift. They shrink. They grow. They move around. They get pinched in the folds of underwear or find themselves in other uncomfortable places. Re-adjustment becomes necessary! And if pain is involved, sometimes, hastily. Just because "he" dresses right doesn’t mean he’s always dressed. Guys have developed techniques for dealing with these situations. Some blatantly grab the outside of their pants and adjust but try to cover by making a mafiosi, Eddie Murphy, or Michael Jackson reference. Most guys start of by trying some hands off, Elvis style hip shaking to see if things will naturally fall back into place. If both of these fail, we resort to using the pockets. The one pocket approach is typically fine but to be certain that the issue is resolved and resolved quickly, the two pocket approach is preferred. Both hands are shoved deeply into the pants pockets. This looks like we are simply cold and trying to warm our hands, and perhaps our elbows. Search and rescue teams are sent out and our friend in need is located. The hand who finds our friend quickly sets to work repositioning using a backboard if necessary. Typically we shoot for a centering then let gravity find the perfect resting place. The other hand lay in wait in case we overshoot or gravity finds us in another pinch. The whole process is about as subtle as Mark Roberts at Wembley. However, when done correctly, to an observer it should look like we’ve simply lost our keys.
During our Boy Scout meeting closing, solemn things are being said and I see my son do the double dive. Both hands in pockets. Bulging knuckles clearly removed from anywhere keys would fall. Oh no! He’s picked up the bat and is playing pocket ball with all adult eyes in his direction! Puberty has turned off his brain! Get the crash cart! I am fairly certain that when the Scout Master said to stand at attention that is not what he meant! What to do? Talk to all the Scouts about the 12 laws and how grabbing yourself in public probably breaks all of them? No. Must be more subtle. Telepathy! I give him a quick stare down and remarkably his eyes meet mine. It worked! My lecture about "happy time" being private silently permeated the air and he got the message. He removes his hands from his pockets and Dad pockets a story to pull out at dinner time which is guaranteed to have milk squirting from noses. Now how’s that lesson go? Oh yes, "if you shake it more than twice, you’re playing with it."