Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When I Grew Up

We had some sort of after school activity that sunny afternoon, so my mom had to get in the Plymouth and drive to Towsontown Junior High School to pick up her 8th-grader.  I clearly remember that the Beach Boys song "When I Grow Up To Be A Man" was playing on WCAO on the way home.  

It was the fall of 1964, and in the spring of that year, I was supposed to die.  Not at the hands of an irate teacher or some greasers on Ameche's parking lot, you understand, but from some mystery virus that had me sicker than Peter Graves in "Airplane," minus the flatulence.  No one knew why I got sick, but a priest was kind enough to come in and give me the Last Rites.  "Father, I'm not Catholic," I pointed out.

"My son, it can't hurt," he countered.  And then he sat with me and talked about how I might be going to another place, another experience, and asked if I were ready for that.

I was 13! So there were lots of things I hadn't done yet that I have often enjoyed doing since, since I'm on borrowed time.  A week after my conversation with the priest, I was back in school.  Two months later, I was ill again, but this time, no priests came to see me.  I did crush on a nurse named Miss Payne (for real) but I guess she married Dr Kildare or someone because I never heard from her again.

And then whatever virus or -osis I had never came back, but again, that fall, the Beach Boys were singing about how it would be, when I grew up to be a man.  And so far, so good.

"When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)"  By Brian Wilson and Mike Love

When I grow up to be a man
Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?
Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn't done what I did?
Will I joke around and still dig those sounds
When I grow up to be a man?
Will I look for the same things in a woman that I dig in a girl?
(fourteen fifteen)
Will I settle down fast or will I first wanna travel the world?
(sixteen seventeen)
Now I'm young and free, but how will it be
When I grow up to be a man?
Oooooo Ooooooo Oooooooo
Will my kids be proud or think their old man is really a square?
(eighteen nineteen)
When they're out having fun yeah, will I still wanna have my share?
(twenty twenty-one)
Will I love my wife for the rest of my life
When I grow up to be a man?
What will I be when I grow up to be a man?
(twenty-two twenty-three)
Won't last forever
(twenty-four twenty-five)
It's kind of sad
(twenty-six twenty-seven)
Won't last forever
(twenty-eight twenty-nine)
It's kind of sad
(thirty thirty-one)
Won't last forever
(thirty-two . . .)
Checking the scorecard, yes, I still do dig the same things that turned me on as a kid.  All men still laugh at what they laughed at in 5th grade!  I can say that for the most part I don't wish I hadn't done what I did.  I mean, sure, egrets, I've had a few, but then again...always with hot sauce.
Snowy egret

As you can see, I still joke around and I still dig the same
sounds - including this very record!  And I stopped looking for things in a woman less than a decade after this song came along, having found the girl of my dreams in 1973.  I settled down fast, having no inclination to travel the world.  We never were to be blessed with kids, but for the kids and kin I know and love, I hope they don't think I'm a square.  I'm not Justin Timberlake or anything, but then again, I'm not Dick Cheney, for crying out loud.

And finally, yes, I still have my share of fun, although cherry bombs and hitchhiking have very little role in it anymore.  And of course I love my wife, for the rest of my life.

That's why I have all this fun!

So I figure I did all right.  In a few short months, that song will be fifty years old.  I guess it's time to sing it again!

No comments: