January 31, 2015 Leave a comment
About half-way through the collection of stories, readers will get to the inevitable sweet story about puppy love. I’m pretty sure every writer who has children has written one of these stories at some point and “Girls are Nothing But Trouble” is mine.
Like many of you, we loved telling stories to our boys. We read to them before naps, every night, and my wife, bless her heart, read to them during our long car drives to see family and on vacations. I’m pretty sure she read the entire Laura Ingalls Wilder catalogue out loud before the oldest boy hit high school.
Books and stories, in other words, were key parts of our house and their childhood.
Many of my favorite stories, though, weren’t books. I’m not sure where we got the idea, but at some point I started telling “choose a word” or “choose a food” story. The boys would each choose 1 word or 1 type of food, and we would make up the story from there. We might, for instance, have a story about the lettuce going bad (smoking cigarettes and cussing out the tomatoes) while the pickles had to save the rest of the fridge from that bad influence. I didn’t say the stories were always high quality.
“Girls are Nothing But Trouble” is a story I started when my older son was in middle school and my wife and I started watching his friends fall in “love.” Like “Love is Not a Dirty Word,” this story moved along pretty quickly, mostly because it’s relatively simple. There’s a school dance coming up, a P.E. coach whose a tough old bird, and a middle school boy who all of sudden realizes his best friend (a girl who is a really good athlete) is not only faster than him, but she has beautiful eyes and pretty hair.
“Girls are Nothing But Trouble” is the longest story in the collection, and without a doubt the cleanest story. It’s also one I hope that someday my sons can read to their children before bed. Wouldn’t that be cool.
Girls are Nothing But Trouble
I didn’t want to kiss Maria Williamson, and I sure as heck didn’t want to dance with her. Maria’s this girl I’ve known for a long time but she changed over the summer. I mean, not in a bad way or anything, but she started brushing her hair more often and sometimes I can’t remember what I wanted to tell her. We used to sit around and talk about sports and teachers and stuff, but when I see her now, I get three times stupid and stuck on dumb. That’s what my dad says when I get tongue tied around him so I guess it makes sense with Maria, too.
The truth is that life was a whole lot simpler before the sixth grade and school dances. Some days I wish I was still a first grader like my brother Robbie. He’s kind of a baby and all, but what does he have to worry about? I mean, sure, my mom bugs him about brushing his teeth and she still helps him in the bathtub, but he never gets in trouble. The only thing he ever has to care about is whether he’ll have enough time at recess to hang upside down and turn his face purple. When he gets hurt, he crawls up in my mom’s lap. Last week I cut my leg and my dad told me to walk it off and act like a man. I’m not even sure what that means, but I know no one’s asked me to sit in their lap lately. My parents would never admit it, but I can tell they like him best.
(If you want to find out if girls are worth the trouble or not, click on the image above or visit Amazon to order Love is Not a Dirty Word and Other Stories.)