Monday, October 08, 2012

Peter Pan and the Nutty Boy

October 12 is Children's Day in Brazil. Just another excuse for candies and toys ... until Mom and Dad decide you're too old to be a child. Then October 12 is just like any other day.

I think most of us who grew up in the twentieth century know the story of Peter Pan, the boy who did not grow up. He lived in a place called Neverland. He could fly between our world and his. He could fight against the evil Captain Hook. The only thing he could not do was grow up.

When I was six years old I discovered poem of the ultra-romantic author Casimiro de Abreu "My Eight Years Old." "Oh how I miss the dawn of my life, my sweet childhood, that years bring back no more" ... Casimiro died at age 21, he had barely begun adulthood, and already he was missing his childhood ....

What was it that Casimiro knew? That Peter Pan knew? And I? What was it that I knew? I was only six years old and already knew that would be forever my favorite poem. ... I never wanted to grow up. Oh, yes I knew that I had a very special thing, and that it would not last forever. It did not last. Time came and took it away from me.

The first time I realized this was happening was on that day at the amusement park, when they barred me from entering the jumping house. Too big, they said. Too big? But last year I went in! How am I too big? It was the time playing its tricks on me. Years later, senior in high school, the teacher gave us all, pre-college students, lollipops on Children's Day ... And we mentioned to each other that in college no one would give us lollipops on children's day. Next year nobody would look at us and see a child ... It was time doing it to us again. The merciless time that not even Ziraldo's Nutty Boy could handle. Time came and made us all grow up.

So many kids out there wanting to grow up fast, wanting to be grownups. Ah, I never understood why. Why would you want to leave the simpler part of your life? The more careless part? That part where everything is possible, and where dreams and reality are almost one and the same? So many kids out there having to grow up too soon - for lack of choice that life gives them. Having to be grownups, to take care of themselves and take care of others sometimes. So many kids around having to bear responsibilities that life has brought upon them too soon. And you want to let go of your sweet childhood out of your own free will? Why?

Growing is fun sometimes, it's true. To grow is to live. Life is full of experiences. One after another. And with every new experience, a little bit of the child goes away. A little more of the adult arrives.

Growing up takes away so much ... so many things that we can never get back. The naivety of childhood will never return. The lack of care ... well, we can even have that back, but ... it will give you so much trouble ... better not. Growing up is learning to be responsible for ourselves and for others. It is learning that the only sensible choice is to be responsible.

Growing up, said one of  Marco Nanini's character, is slowly moving away from your feet. Actually, after that belly decides to sit there in the middle, those feet that once came all the way to your mouth, will never get as close and as easily. So it's true. Growing up is inevitable. How sad this fate of ours - Those of us who are classified as living beings in science class, in third grade - they are born, grow up, reproduce, grow old and die. Yeah there you have it - it is written in our homework, in our exam, in our textbook. Just as growing old and dying, growing up  is inevitable. ...

Stop! Stop everything! Says who? Growing up in the outside, yes. Stop being a child inside? Ah, that is optional, brother. Being a child is knowing to dream, to play, to run and to jump, to marvel at the little things of life like they were big things. You sing aloud, dance and act goofy and are oblivious to who's looking or who quit looking.

One day, said Ziraldo, the Nutty Boy grew up. He grew into a nice guy. But a real nice guy. He turned into the nicest guy in the world. And it was then, that everyone found out he had not been a Nutty Boy. He had been a happy boy.

I think the Nutty Boy never stopped being a child inside

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