So a few days ago, it was St. Patrick’s day. This gave me thoughts. The thoughts led to feelings, and thence to musings. So I wrote about the musings and then planned to post that writing up here. Because that’s what I do…
But then, in the time between writing it up and finding a picture, I discovered I’d had similar thoughts before, a year ago, and I’d already written about them.
I considered not posting this newer blog because of that. But now I think I will. For one, I’m guessing many of you weren’t reading here a year ago. And for another, the blogs are remarkably different, despite the fact that they share the same seed.
There’s something to be learned about stories here, but I don’t know if I can articulate it.
Either way, here it is, if you care to read it.
When I was a kid going to school, you were allowed to bring in a treat to share with the rest of the class on your birthday.
I don’t know if kids can still do this these days. Homeland Security probably has some sort of homebaked cookie alert system that never falls below orange. Maybe schools are only allowed to distribute snacks that are OSHA approved.
But when I was a kid, going to school in a place called, I kid you not, Pumpkin Hollow, you could bring treats.
This was a pretty big deal. Because if you brought treats for the rest of the class, you were cool, at least for the day.
But my birthday falls in the summer, outside the school year. That means I couldn’t bring in treats on my birthday, and was in real danger of being denied the one day of being cool every kid was entitled to.
This might not have been a big deal for other kids who got to be cool all the time. But I wasn’t cool, and it was a big deal for me.
Now I can hear some of you already beginning to think/type/say comforting things like, “Oh Pat, I’m sure you were plenty cool back then. You just didn’t know it…” Etc. etc.
(Click to embiggen. But beware, lest my young geekery blind you.)
So here is exhibit A. I was just looking for a picture of me as a kid, I didn’t expect to find one that so perfectly shouted my not-cool from the rooftops.
Okay, fine. The bullwhip was pretty cool. But other than that, you can tell this guy isn’t going to know the loving touch of a woman until… well… maybe ever.
What as I talking about again?
Oh yeah. The importance of treat-bringing in kid society.
When you’re a kid, these little things loom so large in our minds. After we grow up, we look and wonder how we could have ever gotten so worked up about being a leaf in the school play instead of a chicken. Missing a field trip was the end of the world.
And not being able to have a day when you brought in a treat in for the other kids to share… it was huge.
It’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean we were dumb back then and we’re clever now. That’s dangerous thinking, and it’s wrong, wrong, wrong. What it means is that when we were young, we knew the truth of things. And now that we’re older, we know different true things. We were right when we were kids and thought it was really important, and we are right now that we’re adults and realize it’s a little silly.
As with so many of my childhood problems, my mom stepped in to save me. She pointed out that my name was Patrick, and so I could bring in cookies on St. Patrick’s day.
Problem solved. So we made shamrock-shaped sugar cookies, and frosted them green, and I took them to school. And, for a day, I was cool. Well… cooler. Cool-ish.
I always think of that this time of year. Yesterday I realized everyone was wearing green and thought to myself, “Is it St. Patrick’s day?” I was amazed it had snuck up on me. It used to be such an important day for me. I always felt like it was my day, really. My mom gave that to me.
I never celebrate it now, though I always feel like I should. But I’m not Irish, and I don’t drink. So my options are rather limited. Still, I like the thought that on my surrogate birthday, everyone is out whooping it up.
To all of you out there who are the summer children. The kids that weren’t cool, or who weren’t cool very often. Know that I am one of you, and that you are my favorite sort of people.