My old school has Giant Relay Day at the end of every year. Classes are over the day before, so it's sort of an optional day with activities and a picnic and a band, and at the end of it all you have the Giant Relay race. Each grade races alone, starting with sixth and moving up through faculty and alumni. Instead of just running and passing a baton (really, how tedious!), for the first leg of the relay the person walks on stilts (almost everybody blew it); then he slaps the hands of the next people, who do a wheelbarrow, then the next people do a three-legged hobble, then the next person has to run ten yards while blowing up a balloon and then pop it before he can slap the hand of the next racer. About ten more ridiculous things happen, then the last six people have to form a human pyramid and hold it. Needless to say, much hoo-ha ensues. I sat in the bleachers above the field with the Nut and a bunch of parents and students realizing that I was actually watching the Giant Relay for the first time. When I was a student I always just skipped the whole day, school was over so I just fucked off. And Lance, the alumni organizer, had asked me not ten minutes earlier if I'd race on the alumni team and I said NO because I thought I'd just have to run, I didn't know I'd get to do something anxiety-inducing like fill a bucket by carrying water in a spoon.
Anyway, some kids were sitting in front of me signing each others' yearbooks, and I noticed that one girl was drawing an intricate Boris Vallejo-type dragon for one of her friends. When she finished, another kid came by and she started on another dragon for her. She was drawing quite well and she was totally into it, with her little flourishes and such, but I couldn't help thinking, Aren't dragons kind of passe? Like, aren't they so seventies? But then I realized that dragons are just part of growing up, like reading science fiction, smoking Shermans, throwing toast at Rocky Horror, and writing essays for English with references to Harold and Maude. Or whatever it is you did that made you feel smart and cool.