On your list of Things To Do Before You Die should be this one: Drive a car containing two nine-year-old boys through heavy Friday afternoon traffic.
It will either:
a) take years off your life -- hey, cheaper than smoking!
b) take years off your age -- hey, cheaper than sloughing off dead cells at a day spa!
As you inch toward a friend's birthday party, plotting to spill the contents of your van upon the poor, unsuspecting host mother, your passengers might:
1. Sing loud greetings of "Merry Birthday!" and "Happy Christmas!" which they will find SO UPROARIOUS.
2. Sing contorted versions of "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells ..." which they will also find SO, SO UPROARIOUS. This will occupy a good twenty minutes, as they attempt in vain to sing, in sync, the entire song without blanking on any of the words. You will be tempted to assist them at times. That's where the years-off-your-age part comes in.
3. Discuss their invisible buttons, known as "ON," "ON ON," and "ON ON ON" (representing varying levels of hyperactivity). Demonstrations of each stage will be given. Need I even tell you that there is no "OFF" button?
At some point, you might find yourself wishing it were legal to drive while plugging your iPod into one ear and enjoying a more zenlike playlist, or something more intellectually fulfilling. You might wish they would allow you to listen to NPR for a while, or even Story of the World.
But then, you may as well surrender. Surrender to the sweet, burbling, at times maniacal soundtrack of a happy childhood.
Resistance is futile.
(Oh, and might I add? Doing all this with serenity could redeem you from the hypothetical scenario in which you left the house that morning and drove three and half blocks before realizing that you'd left one of your children at home. Can I get an Amen?)