Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Almost hit the fan

I had one of those days last Thursday. I'm sure you're no stranger to the type. It was the kind of day that felt like machine-gun fire of mishaps. It wasn't horrible luck, such as experiencing a carjacking or Hanna Montana marathon, but just bad luck, a series of minor annoyances that had me thinking that someone, somewhere, was getting a good laugh at my expense.

The first event, the "Kick-off" as I call it (since I am the creative type), was only minor in that nobody was hurt. As I was putting Kyle into my car after getting its oil changed, the vehicle started rolling! I immediately pulled Kyle out of the car and saw that the mechanic who had driven it out to the parking lot didn't put the gear in "park" when he left it; he just turned off the engine. Other things followed, from discovering a broken car part, to having a horrid time finding a parking spot, to having to feed Kyle in the car because of NYC's alternate-side parking rules, to nearly killing a worker at Subway who almost put something on my sandwich I didn't want (she had insisted that she was doing the right thing because another employee told her to do it... an excuse that, I believe, would have made my homicide justifiable). By early afternoon, I was happy to be back home, though Kyle made sure the "fun" didn't end there. As I fumbled for the keys to my apartment, while holding onto an oddball assortment of bags, mail, and unnaturally large mechanic receipts, the little guy decided it was a good time to dig his teeth into my shoulder. You could tell he liked it, because he dug deep for a big, mouth-filling bite. Apparently I taste like doughnuts.

Then came the grand finale, and the main reason for writing this post. After I dropped everything I had in my arms, including Kyle, I pulled from my pocket the broken car part I discovered shortly after discovered that the car was moving on its own. The part wasn't anything essential: just a piece of the hubcap that I figured could be fixed or replaced. Well, as I pulled the part out, fixing it became less of an option as a chunk of it snapped off and skidded across the kitchen floor. I had had it with this day. I was weary. I was frustrated. I stopped thinking long ago. So, out of my mouth came a four-letter word. Since I hear this is a family website, I won't spell it out, but I'll just say it's perhaps the weakest of four-letter words, though the one that stinks the most.

Now, in many cases, saying a word like that is really no big deal. Swear words do have health benefits, as they did help me get through my last job without throwing a computer at someone. Plus, we're also in New York City, where it's so much a part of the vernacular that even the names of some popular breakfast cereals contain four-letter words. I'm not exactly one to rattle them off like the Vice President does, but there are moments when they just happen. The problem was, at this particular moment, Kyle was listening. And immediately afterwards, he tried repeating it. "Shhhhhhh..."

"Shhhhhh..."

"Shhhhhhii..."

My eyes shot wide open. Oh, what did I do? Our son, like most two-year-olds, has developed a knack for repeating words he hears. And repeat them. And repeat them. I did not want this word to be one of them. Plus, I did not want to be blamed for teaching him that. So far, I've taught him numbers and colors, but if he learned this, nobody would remember that. "You know what his dad taught him? S**t! We'll have to buy him something wholesome for Christmas, like that Hanna Montana movie."

I hear, though, this kind of thing does run in the family. Jennifer says she had quite the vocabulary when she was a child. Beneath that bright blond hair and beautiful, innocent brown eyes, was a mouth that spewed a torrent of obscenities, which got her into trouble at the schoolyard and race tracks. It bothered her parents tremendously, so much so that her mother created a song for the two of them to sing together on the way to daycare, in hopes of getting it out of her system. This is true. Each day, all along the way to daycare, they sang aloud a song that went a little like this: "When we are in daycare, we don't say words like s***, d***, f***, a****** or m*****-*******-*****-********. Laaa-deee-dum-dum." I keep telling Jennifer, with the right music, this could become the next big children's song, right up there with "Wheels on the Bus."

For years, Jennifer's parents never knew who corrupted their little girl. But, at some point, the truth finally spilled out: the culprit was Jennifer's older sister, who was a teenager at the time. Kyle does not have an older sibling to teach him these words, but he does have an entire city to help him... and I'd rather let the city do that job. I did not want to fill that role myself. So, on Thursday, in my wearied state, I somehow, someway, had the presence of mind to change course just as things were about to get ugly.

"SHOOT!" I said, in a way that sounded like I was repeating myself.

"Shoot!" Kyle said back at me, with a big smile. "Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!"

And once again I am spared from embarrassing myself. Damn, that was close.

2 comments:

craig said...

I'm ashamed to admit that Liam dropped the f-bomb the other day while having a tantrum. At least he knew the context in which to use it.... right?

ESW said...

S&*t was actually my third word according to my parents...used in exactly the same tone that my mother used it approximately 20 times per day...she stopped after that, as you can imagine...