I was chatting last night with this man, and we were discussing the apparently universal childhood sandbox game.
In case it’s less universal than I think it is, I’ll explain that the game goes something like this: one kid comes up to another and says, “I won the sandbox.” Kid #2, treating the verb in that sentence as its homonym from the world of cardinal numbers, says “I two the sandbox.” Kid #1 says “I three the sandbox.” This continues until Kid #2 is forced to say “I eight the sandbox,” and Kid #1 and all the spectators laugh hysterically at Kid #2 for being stupid enough to have eaten a sandbox.
As I approach senescence (my 31st birthday is in less than a week), the question sticks in my mind: why did we stand for this?
Why, when some little prepubescent putz came up to us and said that he’d won the sandbox, did we miserably play along, knowing from the beginning that we would be, in short order, an object of mockery and derision for everybody in the playground? Why didn’t we just tell him to fuck off?
I’m beginning to think that being a grown-up means understanding that “Because you have to” isn’t sufficient justification for doing anything.