All wet

Water balloons and water pistols. Cheap fun, Dollar-Store treasure. The half-dozen Dollar Stores, Dollar Trees and variation stores we visited as a means of surprising our teen campers this week turned up a surprise. Water pistols haven’t been available this year.

Like tickling, taunts and most humor, getting others wet is one thing if you’re the balloon tosser, the shooter, and something else altogether if you’re the recipient of a sudden dousing. And, like most these days, you carry a smartphone at all times.

I know. I’m playing out my role as an angry adult just now, albeit an understanding one who’s used the surprise attack to make a strategic retreat.that allows me to get my daily writing done.

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Play was play, and work a distant goal. College had changed that for me for good, allowing for play to include thought and discussion of the things on which we were supposed to be working. Eventually, as adults we teach ourselves to incorporate play into our work.

Nice theory, I think as I dry. But I can hear the camper teens philosophizing in the lake they’ve all jumped into, wet already.

Everyone’s talking at once. Biden versus Trump. Whether Kanye’s crazy or just promoting something. Dragonflies and flies and mosquitoes and ticks, and whether we’re more a threat to them than they to us. Whether the soul-quieting sounds of the natural world by this mountaintop lake evens out the noise of stoop partying and fireworks. Whether life choices and preferences define anything other than the ways that one’s been nurtured.

I’d love to join in, but those years have passed. I have my own inner discussions now. I still need to make my point, drying off all alone.


Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.