56. What Is A Boy?

You can absolutely rely on a boy if you know what to expect.

A boy is Nature's answer to false belief that there is no such thing as perpetual motion. A boy can run like a deer, swim like a fish, climb like a squirrel, balk like a mule, bellow like a bull, eat like a pig, or act like a jackass, according to climatic conditions.

The world is so full of boys that it's impossible to touch off a firecracker, strike up a band, or pitch a ball without collecting a thousand of them. Boys are not ornamental; they’re useful. If it were not for boys, the newspapers would go undelivered and unread and a hundred thousand picture shows would go bankrupt.

The boy is a natural spectator; he watches parades, fires, fights, football games, automobiles and planes with equal fervor. However, he will not watch a clock.

A boy is a piece of skin stretched over an appetite. However, he eats only when he's awake. Boys imitate their Dads in spite of all efforts to teach them good manners. Boys are very durable. A boy if not washed too often and if kept in a cool quiet place after each accident, will survive broken bones, hornets' nests, swimming holes and five helpings of pie.

Boys love to trade things. They'll trade fish hooks, marbles, broken knives and snakes for anything that is priceless or worthless.

When he grows up he'll trade puppy love, energy, warts, bashfulness and a cast-iron stomach for a bay window, pride, ambition, pretense and a bald head and will immediately begin to say that "boys aren't what they used to be in the good old days."

– Herbert Hoover