Or you can spend three days skiiing in Mammoth with four sixteen and seventeen year-old-boys.
Wednesday, April 8th was Cameron’s birthday so I took him and three of his long-time friends to Mammoth. I tried to convince Margie to go, but she has always had more sense than I do. She got us a great condo near the Canyon Lodge and said that she would pray for me.What is the greatest challenge of traveling with four man-boys? Is it rickets or skurvy from poor diet? Collision on the mountain? Collateral damage from a wrestling match on the couch? No, it is the risk of madness. Can a man on the doorstep of his 50th birthday endure three days of rap music, sexual innuendo, and Insult Love?
It was amazing to see how consistently the boys expressed their affection by hurling epithets at each other. No flaw, real or imagined, was neglected. Insult Love is a hard concept to explain to a woman. A young man expresses love by saying “You are an idiot”. A young woman will say “You hair looks nice” while a young man will say “That hat looks gay.”Gay is the most common insult for a seventeen year-old. It is the age where homophobia peaks. At my age, with a wife and three children, I can watch Pride and Prejudice seven times and attend book club for the last three Super Bowl Sundays and not be concerned or care that my sexuality might be questioned, but a young man is obsessed with establishing his heterosexuality.
By seventeen, boys are beginning to get more sophisticated about how they dish out and receive the gay insults. At thirteen Cameron would say “Your shirt is gay” and Kyle would reply “No it’s not. You are.” At seventeen, Eric would say “Kyle and Andy were spooning on the couch last night” and Andy would reply “You are just jealous.” Young men learn that insults are best reflected by embracing them. It is a skill that continues into manhood.I set a PR on the drive back, getting from Mammoth to Fullerton 4.5 hours without a stop. I only broke 80MPH once and that was going downhill. I told the boys (my homies) that their conversation and the music was my motivation so it was a shared victory.
I’ve known these boys for many years and I’d travel with them again. It was a great trip (and just the right length).