Monday, December 31, 2007


Watching a two-year old and a three-year old jump on a bed, into the pillows, bouncing back up again, then repeating the action ad infinitum, is a cautionary lesson in age and innocence. Who doesn't like to jump on a mattress and crash into the soft comfort of a couple of giant cushions? Who hasn't done that at least five, ten times in a lifetime?

Problem is, most of us haven't done that in about twenty, twenty-five years.

It's lost its thrill, most likely.

But to a two-year old and a three-year old, it's all thrill. (Or tragedy.) They haven't done this kind of thing repeated times. They aren't jaded. It's a fun and strange and novel enterprise, this jumping-on-a-bed-thing. The looks on their faces cannot be faked, or manipulated; the great thing about kids in general at that age is that they can rarely fake anything, despite their parents' often desperate prompting for decorum's sake -- if they don't want to say hi, they don't. If they don't like you, they don't pretend that they do. And when they want to jump on the bed, well, they will, goddamnit, and they will enjoy it.

As the New Year dawns, watching those particular kids do that particular action (repeatedly) seemed like a lesson to me, or for me, or for all of us. If getting older means accumulating experiences so that we can better prepare ourselves for all that life has to offer, good and bad, then it can also mean, or should also mean, that a necessary regression is sometimes in order, so that we don't forget that which we once embraced. (Kind of like how Robin Williams' alien character on Mork and Mindy was actually aging backwards. No wonder he was such a goofball...)

I'm not saying that we should all jump on our beds in our underwear. (Though please, feel free, if the mood strikes.) But the simple things are sometimes the best things, and the best things are sometimes those that hit us in our oldest, child-like parts.

So, for the coming year, I wish you one, two, possibly even three jumping-on-a-bed feelings, if only to remember the thrill of a distant, simpler past. (And some pillow-fight sensations thrown in for good measure, because those are even cooler, though slightly adolescent in their ferocity.) Acknowledge them when they arise. Savor them. Go back to being an adult for a few more weeks. And then repeat.

Happy 2008!