Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Other S-Word


It's hard to get things out of Small Fry sometimes; he tends to clam up when he's upset about something. I only deduced that he had had some kind of tiff with his neighbourhood pals when he stopped going out to play with them every day after school. I figured it would eventually blow over, but after about a week and a half of him moping around indoors I finally had to ask what happened.

He wouldn't say. And not just like he didn't particularly care to discuss the incident in detail; more like he completely refused to say a single word and I had to ask ten thousand yes/no questions and interpret his barely perceptible nods/head shakes to figure it out.

Eventually - like, eight thousand questions in - I was able to extract the following: he had been mean to someone, he felt really bad about it, and as a result, he fully intended to never play outside again with his friends for the rest of his natural life. Like, oh my gawd, what did he even do that was that bad, right?! After a few hundred more questions, we came to this:

'Did you call someone a bad word?' *tiny nod* (Aha!)

'Like, a swear word?' *nod* (Uh-oh.)

'Did it start with an F?' *shake* (Whewf!)

'Did it start with an S?' *nod* (Uh-oh.)

'Can you tell me what you said?' *shake*

'If I guess the word will you let me know?' *nod*

'Did you call him a... shithead?' *shake*

'Full of shit?' *shake*

 'A dipshit?' *shake*

'A little shit?' *shake*

'A shit-for-brains?' *shake* 

'A shitstain?' *shake*  

'A shitbird?' *shake*

... And so on and so forth, in ever more creative and obscure (sh)iterations. Eventually, even I - of the famously sailor-y mouth - plum ran out of S-word-based insults. I was stumped.

'Well, jeez louise honey, I am out of ideas. Could you please tell me what you said so we can figure out how to deal with this problem?'

*After a very long pause, and in a very small voice...* 'I told him to shut up.' 

(Oh... shit.) 

'Well, that's not so bad. We can deal with that! But, um, let's just be sure to never use any of those other S-words that Mommy just taught you, okay?' 

* * *

An apology was issued to the little friend Small Fry felt he had been irredeemably cruel to, and as far as I can tell everything is back to normal with him and his gang of pals. Unfortunately, any positive life lessons he might have learned from this were probably outweighed by the exotic vocabulary lesson he received concurrently. It's really a shame someone doesn't tell me to shut up on occasion.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Buyer's Remorse

Small Fry has been derailed slightly from his savings goals lately: the ice cream truck has returned to its evening rounds of our neighbourhood. In addition to its siren song - and I mean literal siren, that thing is crazy loud - I have witnessed the driver stopping directly in front of our house and peering out his window at our front door, waiting for a certain little towheaded someone to launch gleefully down the driveway waving a fistful of cash.

Small Fry is down to his last twenty-dollar bill, and is really struggling with the fact that he spent all the rest of his money on ice cream. Now when the ice cream truck drives by our house, Small Fry holds the twenty in his lap and gazes mournfully at it. There is something about that final, large (to him) denomination bill that is really giving him pause. He knows he can spend his money however he sees fit, but we also had a talk (which will go down in family lore as "the buyer's remorse talk of '17") about losing out on bigger savings goals if you blow all your money on ice cream.

"Can I use your money instead, Mom?"

"Absolutely not, dear. But nice try."

Gotta say, I'm pretty proud of him. Ice cream being a particular weakness of mine, I can totally relate to how he's feeling. It's surely for the best that I don't keep cash on hand. (Just imagine a certain largeish redheaded someone launching down the drive with a fistful of cash.)

Speaking of family lore, it's a Dickie Dee ice cream truck (or at least "Dickie Dee" is still partially legible in faded letters on the side), which reminds me of "the buyer's remorse incident of approximately '04" when some poor fool thought it was a good idea to give my little brother a job driving an ice cream bicycle.

It is surely telling that even my kids, on hearing of the buyer's remorse incident of approximately '04, said, "That seems like a bad idea."

Indeed it was: Uncle Matt ate some of his wages. Then he ate all of his wages. Then he ate some of the stock. Then, he presumably said "Screw it," and ate all of the stock. Then the owner called up our mother to inform her of this, and she said, "Well, I could have told you that was gonna happen." I think the entire incident took about 48 hours to unfold.

I can only assume that a marshmallow test wasn't part of this fellow's hiring process. And unfortunately for him, he didn't ask a responsible adult who could have told him Uncle Matt was (obviously) going to eat all of the ice cream, for permission to give the kid an entire three-wheeled chest freezer hella jackpot full of ice cream. Then the guy had the gall to ask her to pay for it!

This is the point in the family lore when I pause to laugh until I can't breathe: this dude clearly had no idea what kind of family he was dealing with.

"So?" the kids asked me, "What did Grandma say then?"

"Well, kids, she told him to fuck off."

(It is surely telling that they didn't even bat an eye over this.)

"And what happened to Uncle Matt?"

"Nothing, really. I mean, he lost his Dickie Dee bicycle job for sure. Maybe he had a stomachache for a little bit? Actually, you've seen him eat ice cream - probably not even that."   

In retrospect, that story probably doesn't have much of a moral to it, at least pertaining to Small Fry and his current monetary woes. Family lore is like families themselves in that way: sometimes the messages are mixed. I can only hope that the Fries are a little better at dealing with ice cream than their uncle (... and mother) are.