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By Abe Villarreal

Whenever I eat one of those popsicles with the corny jokes printed on the stick, I feel like a kid again. Just the other day I had one that asked why the elephant couldn’t use the computer. The answer: he was afraid of the mouse.

The jokes are silly, but they always make me smile. Funny how the simple things in life take us to more innocent times. Like the times that we were kids and we could walk around the neighborhood, wasting endless hours by picking up sticks and kicking rocks. Whatever we could see was our playground.

The world seems so big when we are small. Everything feels interesting. We don’t care where our kid friends came from or how much money they have. We were happy to make new friends is all.

It reminds me of Scout and Jem, the childhood siblings in To Kill A Mockingbird. Before their father Atticus created a firestorm for defending a black man accused of rape in a racially divided Southern town, Jem and Scout were just kids.

When do we start being adults? It happens at different points to all of us. Some are not fully there yet, and others are pushed to growing up before they have a chance to decide on their own. Teens are taking care of parents. Neighbors are busy getting along with their self-interests so they don’t have time to get along with others.

Laffy Taffy candy is another reminder of why small moments can take us back to our childhood days. Banana was my favorite flavor. Each candy had one of those corny jokes that always made us upset for not being able to figure it out on our own. Why can’t your nose be twelve inches long? Because then it would be a foot!

They still make me roll my eyes and smile at the same time. But it all seems in the past now. We are too sophisticated to care and pay attention to silly jokes. We are so worried about our health; we avoid the bag of candy on the way to the checkout counter.

We are too busy to be kids again, and it’s a shame. In many ways, we need to be kids.
We need to laugh more. We need to wonder why things happen the way they happen. We need to say thank you, yes sir and yes ma'm just because it’s the right thing to do. We need to talk to people and get along with them, not caring what they look like or what church they attend.

In many ways, we are better humans as children. We give others the benefit of the doubt. We quickly forgive and forget. We show affection in more ways, physically and emotionally. We smile, hug, and hold hands just because it shows that we care.

When our friends try really hard at accomplishing something, we cheer them on rather than try to show that we can do better. When we are kids, we are happy because being happy makes us feel good.

I want to go back to those times, even if it’s just for one day. So next time I go to the store, I’m going to throw my diet and adult mentality out the window. I’m grabbing the popsicles, Laffy Taffy, and Cracker Jack box. The cornier the joke the better.

I’m looking forward to being a kid again, and I hope you take the time to grab some sweets and chuckle at the silly questions.

Why don’t lobsters share? Because they are shellfish.

Abe Villarreal writes about life and culture in southern New Mexico. He can be reached at abevillarreal@hotmail.com.

Live from Silver City

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