Boys are disgusting.
I was one of them. I can attest.
1) A Masochistic Preoccupation with Bad Smells
My best friend Hunter broke his hand playing basketball in the gym at Brentwood Hills Church of Christ. He was always pulling back the edge of his cast trying to get me to smell it. He would smell it and wrinkle up his nose, “Whew, that reeks. Smell it.” When I declined, he would use the smell he’d offered me to take another whiff.
After Hunter’s parakeet Ricky Bob died, his dad picked a spot in their backyard overlooking the Little Harpeth River and buried him in a shoebox. Hunter and I dug up the shoebox at regular intervals to get grossed out by Ricky Bob’s progressive decay. A couple of weeks passed, and he looked like a dog had used him for chewing gum. A month after the fateful day, his brittle white ribs were showing through his feather jacket.
3) Bodily Functions
This one goes without saying. A juicy fart is the apex of humor for boys, ages eighteen and under. On our eighth grade trip to Washington, D.C., we succeeded in lighting a fart. Aside from the smell of burning hair, it was adolescent hand-eye coordination at its best. The flame was electric blue.
A righteous belch—IBC Root Beer out of the bottle is particularly helpful—comes a close second. If you’ve ever watched The Simpsons, you know Barney, Homer’s alcoholic friend. You also know that belches can provide pivotal plot transitions and are punctuation unto themselves. I’ve heard belches that ripped the fabric of space-time in undiscovered universes. All that you can do is say, “Amen,” as you bow your head.
We would climb out onto Jonathan’s roof from his bedroom window for the sole purpose of peeing from two stories up. Now, repeat this exercise in the most unusual places you can find. Compile a mental list to share with friends.
I never ate my boogers, but I always imagined that they tasted like seawater. As far as I know, Hunter never tasted his boogers either. He kept them. He had reserved a tin candy container for that purpose. Our name for it? The Booger Box.
It disappeared for several months, and momentous was the day it reappeared while we were rummaging through the closet up in Hunter’s rec room. Hunter opened up the Booger Box, and what we saw was confusing at first. All the boogers had grown fur. Yep, each one of the now indistinct boogers was now wearing a fleece jacket.
All this seemed normal to us at the time, but I’m happy to announce that ours was the only Booger Box ever known to man. We were making history, first-man-on-the-moon caliber stuff, and we never even stopped to savor the moment.