As I was getting out of the pool today, a little boy sitting on the top step looked me up and down and said matter-of-factly:
“Squishy?” I repeated.
“Yes, squishy,” he said.
Now I may no longer have my 20-something body but I would hardly consider myself squishy. So I plunked myself smack down next to him and said:
“Exactly how am I squishy?”
He looked me up and down again, then changed his mind:
“No,” he said, “you’re not squishy. Actually, your crumbly.”
“Crumbly? Do you mean I’m crumbling?”
“Oh, no,” he said thoughtfully. “Just crumbly.”
“Where am I crumbly?” I asked him.
“Hmm…your face and on your hands.”
I opened up my hands.
“No, he said, on the back of your hands.”
I turned my hands over and saw all the freckles and age spots.
“Oh!” I said delightedly, “You mean I’m wrinkled and getting old?”
“Yes!” he squealed, as if I finally understood him.
“Well, guess what?” I said.
“What?” he said excitedly.
“I’m going to get even older and older and older and. . .”
“Then you’re gonna die!!” he yelled out with great enthusiasm as if he’d just completed the punch line to a joke.
“Yes, I will,” I replied a bit taken aback. “Does that bother you?”
“Oh no,” he said, “That just means that your human life will be over and then it will be time for your spiritual life to begin.”
“I see, and how do you know so many wise things?”
“Well, I am four and a half,” he said solemnly, “Life goes on and on and is always changing. Old things go out and new things come in.”
“Yes, I suppose you’re right. But will you do me a big favor?”
“Sure,” he said.
“Next time you see me, will you call me ‘speckled’ instead of ‘crumbly’?”
“Speckled?” he asked incredulously.
“Yes,” I said, “Speckled. Just think of me as a speckled egg.”
“A speckled egg?” he laughed. “That’s so funny. Okay. You’re a speckled egg!”
Well, I figure that’s better than being squishy and crumbly.