Back on Labor Day weekend, Robert and I were playing baseball in my sister's expansive back yard with a Whiffle bat and a red, rubber ball. Robert likes this combo because the red ball is really easy to see on its way to the plate, and if you make good contact it goes for about a mile and a half. And nothing is more fun than trotting confidently around the bases while Daddy chases el pelota into the next-door sorgum field.
At one point, Robert threw the ball to me and said, "Daddy? You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna shoot for the stars and stay drug free."
Um, what? I thought to myself. The kid hasn't even started kindergarten and he's already aware of drug use? What kind of father am I to 1) expose him to this sort of thing, and 2) not know that he'd been exposed to this sort of thing? I'm a product of a suburban upbringing! What business do I have sending my child to a public school in the city? The city! Where public schools are hives of scum and villainy! I could have sheltered him from all this in the suburbs, but instead, by the time he's six, he'll be hanging out on the playground comparing escort agencies and huffing Elmer's!
Then, as I readied my next pitch, I happened to look at the ball: