The Adolescents

Illustration by Bob AulThis week's featured NFL game: Indianapolis Colts (0-0) vs. New York Jets (0-0)

New York update: The local press reacted to news that Danny Almonte, star pitcher of the "Baby Bronx Bombers" Little League team, had lied about his age—14 instead of 12—by giving the story the same weight and column inches usually reserved for wars and whatever Donald Trump is currently boning. Once the truth came out, New Yorkers did what they do best—besides believing they do everything best: they turned on Almonte in a fury. Asked if he had suspected Almonte of being older, an opposing Little League coach responded, "Not until he bought me that beer." New Yorkers can turn faster than a mobster offered immunity or Linda Tripp a pork roast. That same week, pop star and Brooklyn native Aaliyah died in a plane crash. Her death was reported as grand tragedy. Then a grand funeral planned for the singer was announced—one that would tie up traffic—and put an end to the grieving process: the New York Post ran the headline "Sure, Her Death's Tragic—But This Is Too Much." Ah, New York. If you can make it there, you must have very low self-esteem.

Indianapolis update: The KKK's still around, as are rabid bats—they recently found a ninth one out in Madison County. Armed robbery is up, and SAT scores are down; Indiana school kids scored 20 points lower than the national average—a national average that includes Mississippi, Alabama and every other state where "Next of kin?" is viewed as a trick question.

Beyond the numbers: Most of the anger in the Almonte affair was aimed at adults who had "used" the youngster because apparently no one believes the boy would knowingly do this. It's incredible that a nation eager to suspend, jail and/or fry kids Almonte's age for just about everything else is willing to believe a 14-year-old boy incapable of lying about his age. Look, I have nothing against the kid, but I was a 14-year-old boy. I hung around 14-year-old boys. And 14-year-old boys are the most vile people ever about whose mothers I have said disgusting things. Oh, the things we said. The things we did to cats. The things we did to ourselves with . . . well . . . When I was 14, on a dare, I played Frisbee toss with another guy with a dead, flattened, rigor mortised cat for five minutes. Then we got chili fries. And never washed our hands. Knowingly lie about his age? I think a 14-year-old boy can handle that.

Consensus: New York is self-important, but Indiana is where ignorance goes when it doesn't want to work too hard. Go Jets!


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