Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Man Child turns 17

It is my son Jared's 17th birthday.

When he was little (like really little, maybe 2-3 years old), I used to refer to him only as "Boy." I rarely used his given name. Instead I would just say, "Boy, come here." And he would come.

Jared was the only boy child we had at the time, falling as he did after the births of Elissa and Chloe. So I could call out for The Boy at any time without the possibility of confusing someone in the way I would if I just randomly yelled "Girl, come here!"

One day I was with a friend of mine, and Jared was sitting on the other side of the room playing with toys. He was, again, really little at the time. My friend heard me call him "Boy" and said, "You had better start calling him Jared. Otherwise he's not going to know his name."

To which I replied, "Oh, come on. He knows his name."

"OK," said my friend, "call him."

Which I did. "Jared! Hey Jared! Jared, look over here!"

Jared did not react. Didn't even look up from whatever toy he was playing with.

Then I said, "Boy!" And his head immediately snapped up as he turned in my direction.

After which I switched to calling him "Jared" permanently.

Another time, not long after he had finally and successfully completed potty training, I was getting Jared dressed. I was helping him pull on a pair of tighty-whitey briefs and my hand slipped, allowing the elastic band to smack him right in the Man Region.

Without thinking I said to (4-year-old) Jared, "Oh, did I snap you in the nuts, buddy?" And Jared, who had no idea at the time what "nuts" were, just said (in a slightly teary voice), "Yeah."

I have a number of great stories about Jared because he is among the funniest people I know. Many friends and family members are shocked to hear this, because to them he's just a quiet kid who doesn't talk all that much. But I'm telling you, he's hilarious.

And now he's 17 years old and about to start his junior year in high school.

He was (and is) my first boy, and he is my fellow sufferer in Cleveland sports fandom. Together we have visited the Hockey Hall of Fame and attended countless sporting events. We do not talk about our feelings unless they have something to do with a blown coverage by the Browns or a missed shot at the buzzer by the Cavaliers.

The only three things we really talk about are cats, food and sports. Or topics that combine more than one of those elements (i.e., if there was ever a place where we could watch cats eating while simultaneously playing sports, that would be paradise).

Happy birthday, then, to my slightly-over-six-feet Man Child Whose Name Is Jared And Not Boy. As my gift to you, I promise not to snap you in the nuts today.


  1. As close as you're going to get with cats and sports....

  2. Outstanding. If this doesn't end up being the greatest thing in the history of television, I'll be shocked.