The good, the bad, and the ugly?
“Ouch!That hurts,” cried a tiny, mysterious voice from the piece of bellybutton lint Steve held between his fingers.“You want a piece of me?
I ’m not afraid of you!”
Steve hurried to his desk and picked up the magnifying glass he used to examine bugs. He looked carefully at the talking piece of lint that was now yelling like a squashed cat. Steve released his pinching grip and the piece of lint brushed himself off,fixed his hair, and fluffed out the finger squeeze marks from his stomach.
“Who are you?” asked Steve..
“I’m Lintball Leo,at your service,” Leo answered taking a bow.
“Wow,a talking piece of lint. I must be dreaming,” said Steve.
“This is no dream.Here.I ’ll pinch you.” Leo tried to pinch Steve's hand, but his fingers were so small that Steve didn’t feel a thing.
“Did you feel that?” asked Leo.
Not wanting to be impolite, Steve said,“That was some pinch. I guess I’m not dreaming after all.”
Leo flexed his muscles.“I work out and eat only good, nutritious stuff. Gotta stay strong, you know.”
“How long have you been living in my belly button?” Steve asked.
“Oh, I’ve been around for a few years now. Sometimes when you tried to clean your bellybutton,you knocked me down to other parts of your body,” Leo told Steve..“I visited your feet once,and while it was nice to see my relatives who live down between your toes, I think I’d rather live in your bellybutton.”
“Uh ...I have things living between my toes?” asked Steve, looking a little nervous.
“Relax, Steve. It’s no big deal. All guys have a little extra dirt here and there. Hey! I’ve been most everywhere on your body, and I’m becoming an expert in boy-body anatomy. I’ll be hanging around until you reach puberty. Then you won’t need me anymore and I’ll find another boy’s bellybutton to call home.”
“Puberty,” said Steve.“I’ve heard that word before. Can you tell me what it means?"
“No problem.” Leo drew himself up to his full fluffy height. “Puberty sounds like a strange word, but it’s something that happens to all people. Puberty happens when young bodies start to change and mature —from boys into men, from girls into women.
Steve had a look of horror on his face.
“What’s with the face? Don’t panic! Puberty doesn’t mean you’re going to start shaving next week. It just means that most people begin to change into adults somewhere between the ages of nine and fifteen. And it doesn’t happen all at once. Puberty can last anywhere from two to four years.”
"That long?" asked Steve.
"Ah, it goes fast. Especially when you start thinking about girls."
Steve blushed bright red.
"Puberty can be a pretty confusing time," Leo said. "But it helps if you remember it's all part of growing up. God made your body and this is the way he wants it to work--so don't sweat it."
"What if I don't want to go through puberty?" asks Steve.
"Unfortunately, that's not an option," Leo sighed.
"When the time is right for you, it will just happen. Then you'll become a man. That's the good news."
"How old are you?" Steve tried to get a better look at Leo. "Are you older than dirt?"
"Very funny, Steve. Let me give you some advice. I've been here and there over the years, and I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly."
"Now you're talking about girls," Steve joked.
"Hey, another funny one. No, I'm not talking about girls. I'm talking about boys and how puberty affects them."
Steve looked worried. "Will this puberty thing hurt? I mean should I wear a helmet?"
With that Lintball Leo rolled up into a ball and began laughing hysterically. "A helmet? That's very funny! Ha ha ha..."
"Uh, Mr. Leo, when you get through laughing, do you think I could ask you some questions about my body?" Steve asked. "I've been too embarrassed to ask my parents or teachers. What do you say? Could you help me out?"
"Why certainly," said Lintball Leo. "But you'll have to promise that you'll stop calling me Mr. Leo. (Whispering.) That makes me sound so old. Please, just call me Lintball."
"OK, Lintball, I'll do that," Steve said with a smile.
"So shoot, Steve? You can ask me anything."