My favorite neighborhood urchin is now old enough that a day’s hard playing leaves him as fragrant as used gerbil bedding. It’s really quite amazing how far the scent carries.

Feet. Yards. Blocks, even.

I wondered whether subtly suggesting a little soap, water and deodorant would crucify his fragile preteen psyche. As I gather courage and search desperately for a delicate way to put this, his best friend screeches up beside us.

“Geeeezo,” she shrieks, pinching her nostrils shut, “You stink like old ZOMBIE puke.”

The boy raises an arm, sniffs his armpit, then bows his head. I anxiously search my limited store of child psychology for something to restore his shattered self-esteem.

“PIT WARS!!!!!” he roars, whipping off his t-shirt and raising his arms high. The girl shrieks and dodges, he pounds down the street after her. Fifteen minutes later they return with the neighborhood gang, shirts off and arms raised. Clearly, the pit wars are escalating.

I can see it’s going to be a fragrant summer.