sport big white shoes made of plastic and foam. They wear
trousers without belts and you can see their pants. They cultivate
swagger and baseball caps and they go in the huff so often
you’d swear it was a hobby. You hear them in the distance
shouting words we only vaguely understand, like “Yalday!”
and “Yaass!” They are fifteen, going on twelve.
They don’t read much and they don’t write well,
though this latter could be fixed if spray-paint came with
They skoosh each other with water and they throw snowballs
and eat things from Greggs. But, they are not all armed with
knives and they are not all evil and most of them would be
quick to help an old lady who fell in the street. (Quicker
than an old man, certainly). Like insects or rugby players,
daft boys are mostly only a danger to each other.
Alright: they can’t hold their drink - but few can apart
from me and Jack McLean.
They repeat things they have heard on television sets and
they have a right good laugh about it. Sometimes they throw
their mate into a hedge. Or a river. Again, for a laugh. When
girls are around, the daft boys can be seen doing a mad wee
walk or eating sand. So that the girls will like them. My
own daft boy flirts with that culture: he eats Cheerios and
steak-bakes and his shoes are the size of luggage. His room
looks like the site of an epileptic horse seizure. He is gauche,
infuriating and often wonderful.
Credit where it is due – daft boys enhance the landscape.
Just don’t let them know we are suppressing our laughter:
they may become angry or - even worse - dull, like us.