What is a Boy?

What is a Boy?

Between the innocence of babyhood and the dignity of manhood, we find a delightful creature of a boy.

Boys come in assorted sizes, weights and colors.

But all boys have the same creed: to enjoy every second of every minute of every day and to protest with noise (their only weapon) when their last minute is finished and the adult males pack them off to bed at night!

Boys are found everywhere: on top of, underneath, inside of, climbing on, swinging from, running around, or jumping to.

Mothers love them, little girls hate them, older sisters and brothers tolerate them and adults ignore them.

A boy is truth with dirt on its face, beauty with a cut on its finger, wisdom with bubble gum in its hair, and the hope of the future with a frog in its pocket.

When you are busy, a boy is an inconsiderate, bothersome, intruding jungle of noise.

When you want him to make an impression, his brain turns into jelly or else he becomes a jungle creature, bound on destroying the world, and himself with it.

A boy is a composite. He has the appetite of a horse, the digestion of a sword-swallower, the imagination of Paul Bunyan, the energy of a pocket-size atomic bomb, the curiosity of a cat, the shyness of a violet, the audacity of a steel trap, the enthusiasm of a fire cracker, and when he makes something, he has five thumbs on each hand.

He likes ice cream, movies, Christmas, comic books, the boy across the street, woods, water in its natural habitat, large animals, trains, Saturday mornings, and fire engines.

He is not much for Sunday school, composing, music lessons, neckties, barbers, girls, overcoats, adults or bedtime.

Nobody else is so early to rise or so late to supper.

Nobody else gets so much fun out of trees, dogs, and breezes.

Nobody else can cram into one pocket a rusty knife, a half-eaten apple, 3 feet of string, 2 gumdrops, a five-cent slingshot, a chunk of unknown substance, and one supersonic code ring with a secret compartment.

A boy is a magical creature – you can lock him out of your workshop, but you can’t lock him out of your heart!

You can get him out of your study, but you can’t lock him out of your mind!

Might as well give up! He is your captor, your jailer, your boss, and your master.

But when your dreams tumble down and the world is a mess, he can put together the broken pieces in just a twinkle with a few magic words…I LOVE YOU!


The Surprise?  This was published in Reader’s Digest in 1954! (some things never change!)  It was likely written by Alan Beck.

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