June Letters To and From the Editor
I’m becoming an old fogey. I feel my face scrunching up pretty much constantly. I’m now drinking coffee after dinner. The highlight of my day is listening to Vin Scully talk about the 1965 Dodgers. And my wife and I are starting to wonder: What the hell are we going to do when the kids move out of the house?
Financially, paying for college for our two boys may bankrupt us. Our house is falling apart. I know this from the now-regular walks we take – after dinner and the coffee. Everyone else seems to be living in small mansions in my neighborhood. They have actual garages, and the siding isn’t rotting off their houses. The lawns are beautiful. We have daily battles with ants and what appear to be water bugs underneath the dishwasher. Our back porch remains covered in a yellow film of pollen, and the nails are slowly rejecting the porch railing. The lamppost in the front yard is broken, but I haven’t mustered the energy to buy a new one.
With two teenage boys, the place now has a musty, boy-induced funk, which gets funkier when it rains. If I were a better person, I’d feel bad that I’ve submitted my wife to a life of boy-induced funk and an indoor ant farm. But then I turn on the TV and get back to my nightly brain rot. I sit there with my oldest, now 17, who’s depressingly too much like me. We watch and bond over the Dodgers, and Scully, but I find myself constantly reminding him that, eventually, they will start losing.
I need a new lawn mower, but I don’t want one of those self-propelled gizmos. It’s easier, sure, but somehow just seems wrong. A riding mower is a cop-out, or at least that’s what I’m telling my youngest, who’s now 13 and just learning to mow. It’s not so bad, I tell him: If he ever gets a chance to live in real squalor, it can make you stronger. Your life won’t be defined by the size of your mower, or bricks and mortar (in our case, pressboard and glue). I suspect I’ll be telling myself that for another five years, until he heads off to college. I’m sure we’ll miss the musty boys funk. Either that or my wife will finally realize I was the source of the stench all along. – Scott Bass