Toenails and all, boys will be boys

I have never questioned whether or not my sons, Shamus and Sean, are true to the Boyhood Club. Time and again they prove themselves. Much to the chagrin to the women in their lives (mother, grandmas, aunts and some cousins) the boys are members of this secret society of fledgling Neanderthals.
Of course, the Neanderthals of my age are less caveman-like than the Neanderthals of my father’s age; he less than his father and so on. Each successful member of the Boyhood Club who graduates and gets his Neanderthal badge of honor is more refined than his predecessor.
And while yes, it is true the age of knuckle draggin? has gone the way of the dodo, it is the sincere hope of all Neanderthal members that some vestige of manhood remain through the future. It is our stated mission to ensure men do not evolve into something akin to house-pets. We aim to make sure the male of the species always has at least one special purpose.
Females can tell if the males in their clan are members of the Boyhood Club or Neanderthal by observing any number of traits — the most common, having and insisting on wearing a favorite baseball cap, T-shirt or pair of underwear.
I’ve smiled privately and proudly knowing Shamus, 11 and Sean, 9, want to be Neanderthal when they grow up (even if they don’t really know it yet — that usually happens when the mancub turns 15, 16 at the latest). First, they do have and like to wear a favorite, ratty, article of clothing, but there is more. Oh, so much more.
They like to burp.
They like to read and watch cheesy pulp fiction and films.
They appreciate a good jackknife and the awesomeness that is the ‘Mystery Spot.?
They stink when they sweat.
They prefer living in the moment, and at the moment hopefully they are sweaty, dirty and doing something that is a little bit dangerous . . .
. . . like climbing trees . . . riding their bikes without wearing a helmet . . . walking barefoot in the backyard . . . or doing cannonballs in a pool.
The boys have always had a tendency toward Neanderthalism . . . they’ve both exercised their imaginations, playing ‘Star Wars? or ‘Stargate SG-1.? To those not in the know, those are science fiction action films, the first in movie form, the second a television series. Both have lots of hi-tech weapons, perfect for Boyhood Club members to pretend they own.
When Sean was six or seven, I found him sharpening his wee-little toenails before clipping. This bit of personal hygiene was one of those ‘proud papa? moments we dads get. Here was my youngest taking care of himself — he didn’t need his mom or his dad to clip his nails anymore, and he was exercising boy-thought, too.
‘I’m making them sharp,? he said, then he whispered, lest folks not in the club hear, ‘I’m saving them, then I am gonna? make a sword out of them and then . . .? he went into a roundhouse-like karate kick and landed like something out of a Bruce Lee movie ? crouching, arms ready to chop, legs ready to pounce, ? . . . I can fight bad guys.?
He announced his superhero name: ‘I am Kid Toenail. Hi-ya!?
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Most recently, older brother Shamus announced one of his many plans for fame and fortune. This one, ironically involves not only toenails, but also fingernails.
‘Dad,? says Number One Son, ‘Sean and I want to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the biggest collection of fingernails and toenails. Don’t tell Mom, it’ll be a surprise.?
Never one to indulge my sons, I promptly found a relatively fancy box, put two clippers in (the smaller kind for fingers and the larger, toenail kind), made them sign their name and date the inside of said box and started them on their way to having the biggest such collection by donating my own nail clippings.
The box discretely sits in the living room, on the coffee table between the TV and couch. I am sure for a small fee and/or donation, the boys would let anybody come and see their collection. They have also given me permission to accept collection donations from the world at-large. (You can send them to the newspaper office with a note stating who you are and where you live. One of the rights of passage from Boyhood Club member to Neanderthal is thanking folks who help you achieve your goals — they will need to send thank you notes.)
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Sean has another ‘get rich quick? plan. He wants me to place a classified stating, ‘for only a dollar? he will teach folks a string trick. I am still mulling over whether or not to place that ad.
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