“Poop.” That’s what Sally told her grandmother when I asked her to repeat, via speaker phone, what she had played with today. She did not, for the record, play with feces. This is now her standard answer when she’s, well, pooped: tired of answering questions, not in the mood to be mommy’s dress-up doll, or sick of performing like a trained seal for our entertainment.
On one hand, I’m annoyed and somewhat embarrassed that the angelic child who was telling me a hilarious story is suddenly a potty-mouthed brat. On the other hand, I don’t like repeating my stories, either. And I clearly remember as a child really not wanting to play Christmas carols on my flute for the entire family’s enjoyment—if only I’d had the presence of mind to yell out “doo-doo” maybe I would have been left alone.
Who among us hasn’t, on occasion, been fed up and wanted to revert to first-grad swear words? Most of us skip these as adults and go straight for the R-rated four-letter variety but I think the simpler ones are undervalued. Your boss wants you to give a presentation—today—hey boss, you’re a booger head. Poop on you, mortgage payment. Annoying person talking behind me during the movie, fart poop shut up pee!
It’s actually so juvenile that more people would take notice than they would if you were using harsher terminology. Plus, it makes you feel kind of good, doesn’t it? So I get it. Sally is frustrated, tired and sick of doing whatever it is I’m asking her to be cute and do. She blurts out the worst obscenity she can think of, and, indeed, it stops me in my tracks and makes me raise one eyebrow so high it’s likely to become part of my hairline. Mission accomplished, Sally style.
It’s still annoying, though. Poop.