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Can’t Live With Them...

Tio came to me yesterday with a problem. “Grampy?” he said with worry in his voice, “I don’t know what to do.” We sat down and I asked what the trouble was. He was serious, perplexed, and at odds. “There are two girls at school who want to go out with me. What should I do? Which one should I pick?”

Tio’s been a ladies man since he was in first grade. He always had a ‘girlfriend’ in his mind or on the line. Every year there was a string of female classmates that he fancied and every year he got them to “go out” with him or shoot him down, which he always took graciously enough. The first day of school when he moved back into our town last midyear he came home and told me he had one picked out. She shot him down three days later.

I was just like him from first grade on, too. I was always in love with one girl or another in my class. Except for me my relationship with the girl in question was entirely imaginary. I daydreamed all sorts of fantastic adventures I’d have with a pigtailed blonde or brunette in tights and bangs on my are while we rescued the school from fires, intruders, or traveled the world after diamond smugglers. I never dared to actually talk with them. That would be suicide. Nuh Uhn.

Not our Tio. He never had a problem telling a girl he likes her and now that he’s reached the age of 12 and adolescence is just over the crest, things may start to get more serious. Right away I thought of a great William Steig cartoon from the 1930's where a 12 year old boy has a girl his age backed against the malt shop window, he with a mischievous glint in his eye and her in doubtful anticipation. The boy says, “I don’t buy dames chocolate malteds for nuttin’, y’know.” I suddenly saw Tio in that picture and it made me smile. He’s going to be a heartbreaker. Ladies beware.

I looked him in the eye and gave him my sage advice for the day. “If only I had been so lucky to have your problem.”