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Wednesday, March 15, 2017



I think everyone has experienced meeting an older relative or neighbor who you haven’t seen since you were about ten-years old. 

“Oh my, you’re so big, I remember when you were only so high.”

Every time that happened I always thought, “No shit Sherlock, what did you think, I wasn’t going to grow?”  One time My Great Aunt who was about 5’ nothing said this to me.  “I remember when you were only this tall” (holding her hand to her waist).

I quickly responded, “Well I remember you when you were this tall” (holding my hand above my head).”

As an old codger, I find myself either saying the same stupid thing or at least thinking it whenever I see one of my son’s old friends on Facebook.

A few years ago, I ran into an old childhood friend of my sons at my bowling league.  I recognized the name on the scoreboard, but would never have recognized the person.  This once kid, now full-grown man, was about 6’2”, his large muscular body was covered with tattoos, he had a shaved head and in general was someone you would not want to insult after dark on a deserted sidewalk.

The name was the same as a friend of my sons who we used to call Licky-Lips (not to his face, what kind of monster do you think I am?).  That derogatory name was due to his nervous habit of licking his lips which were forever chapped as a result.  Licky-Lips lived across the street.  I never met his parents, they were a bit strange and I don’t think Licky-Lips had an easy childhood. 

When he came to our house he snacked like he had not been fed in days.  In the middle of a heavy snowstorm we would see him playing in the garage or outside, and it seemed as if he was not there by choice.  He was, as many children with questionable upbringing usually are, a pain in the ass.  He craved attention.

One day Licky-Lips took my son’s shoe and threw it over a fence.  My son socked him in the mouth, picked up his shoe and came home without saying anything.

A few minutes later there was a knock on the door.  A very large imposing younger man was at the door with Licky-Lips wanting to talk.  It was Licky-Lips’s half-brother, who I believe was a State Trooper.

“Your son punched my brother in the mouth.” Licky-Lips’s lip was punctured by his tooth and with his mouth closed, he was blowing blood through the hole.

“Matt!” My son came to the door.  “Why did you punch Bobby in the face?”

“He threw my shoe over the fence” (and he is a pain in the ass).

“That is no excuse!  Bobby is your friend and you never hit a friend, you say you’re sorry!”

My son apologized and that was the end of that.  Bobby and his brother went home.  When they were gone, I told my son, 

“That kid is pain in the ass, I’m glad you socked him, but don’t do it again.”

Fast forward 25 years, and Licky-Lips came over to me at the bowling alley.  “Are you Matt’s dad? I think I used to live across the street from you.”

“Bobby? Yeah, how are you doing?  I remember you when you were this tall!” (there was no mention of chapped lips or the punch in the mouth.)

Licky-Lips was doing fine.  He had a son.  He was a biker who rode to the bowling alleys on a motorcycle, even in the rain.  I heard he may have had some trouble with the law, but that was in the past.  He was also a damn good bowler. 

Yes, Bobby was all grown up.  I saw him every week that bowling season and talked to him often.  He had survived his difficult childhood and I found him to be a very nice, if a bit scary, guy. 

I don’t think it would have been wise to call him Licky-Lips.


  1. Proof that all disadvantaged children do not grow up to be vile criminals. Or even regular criminals.

  2. I think it is when we see little ones all grown up we finally realize we have significantly aged. I'm constantly reminded of that when I see my great niece and great nephews. I still remember them as babies and they are nearing teenage years. It is good to see Bobby is not behind bars and is doing well with bowling!


  3. I've seen some of my son's school friends since they grew up and I am so tempted to say something, but I just say hi, instead of how mouthy, sloppy, or fat they were as a child. Guess I am not a crazy enough old lady, yet.

  4. I don't see any of my son's friends and it's probably as well since I would be guilty of treating them as youngsters. My son is mid-fifties so I guess his friends are the same, and that would make it worse if I referred back to their teenage years even if I could remember them!

  5. Everyone has scattered so, I know of my daughters' friends, but never see them.

  6. Good thinking on your part. You never want a muscular, motorcycle riding, tattooed, shaved head kind of guy mad at you. They do, however, come in handy sometimes when you need someone socked in the nose lol.

  7. It's also interesting to see how these kids turned out. This one probably better than you expected back then.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺

  8. Yeah, some nick-names are reserved for saying out-loud, only behind
    the confines of our own closed doors. LOL

  9. My kids' friends' haven't turned out at all as I expected. Especially my daughter's friends. They were such free spirits wanting to travel the world and all of them, except my daughter, married and started having children right out of h.s. I was so surprised.

  10. Yes, a good idea not to call him that. But I wonder if he even remembers his old nickname.

  11. So glad he seemed to have survived his difficult childhood. You never can tell. Just look at how sometimes the kind hearted preacher's kid turns out badly.

  12. I'm always shocked at the change of boy to man. Much more pronounced than girl to woman!

  13. It's a good thing that he turned out well, many of these cases do not.

  14. He probably knew, you know, that you used to call him Licky-Lips. It would be funny if he had a tattoo in Old English that said, "Licky-Lips."


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