March 30, 2009

Potty-Mouth Crustaceans

Prefacing disclaimer: The following is a DIRECT warning for those rebels who refuse to heed the implied warning in the title, placed here lest they rush on headlong forward, all pell mell and willy to the nilly, and bang their heads hard into an unexpected profanity:

This blog entry contains A Very Bad Word Indeed.

My office is a square room, painted a pale and lovely green called Crocodile Tears. Against the back wall is my pretty cherry desk, which I got on DISCONTINUED SALE FOR ALMOST NOTHING at Pier One. The desk’s placement puts my back SQUARELY to the windows, facing me away from the light, almost as if I were a pallid, mushroom-colored, blinky-eyed novelist instead of a wildly sexy international assassin, as you have always supposed.

And indeed, that desk IS where I used to write novels. Now I use it to answer emails and noodle around Facebook complaining about the STUPID new interface which is STUPID and play Pathwords and World of Warcraft.

I write novels on this laptop (and in spite of my WHINING over at Sothern Writers blog, I AM actually writing one. YAY! Well, not today. But over the weekend I OFFICIALLY began.) The laptop is much better for novel-writing because it will not RUN Pathwords. And I can take it to remote locations, like this Starbucks, where I am currently ensconced NOT writing a novel even though there I left my key logger at home and can’t get INTO World of Warcraft from here. *sigh*

Anyway, Thursday night, I was sitting at my desk, facing the wall. Catty corner to me, facing his own wall, sat Scott, also playing World of Warcraft. In the empty corner between our two desks, our 12 year old son sat in an old comfy office chair watching us murder orcs with our monster plus plus swords of double dorkitude in Loerderon. FOR THE HORDE!

Sam would have dearly loved to join us and make it Dork-Trifecta, but alas, it was Thursday and he is not allowed to play videogames during the week. He likes to watch US do it after Maisy goes to bed, living virtually vicariously, until such time as weekday play does not cause him to plummet off the honor roll at the speed of sound. (I think that will be about the same day that Flappy the Pig straps on skates and flies down to hell to do a couples only whirl around the ice pond with a foxy demon.)

At any rate, Scott's little animated fella attacked JUST about as many fel orcs as he could chew. Sam was watching intently, very very involved in the fight, and all at once a whole ANOTHER squad of fel orcs spawned right on top of Scott, putting him instantly into Deep. Hot. Cheese. When Scott’s toon bit the dirt, my son’s mouth opened, and two words popped out into the air, whole and completely distinct. The first word was a perfectly innocuous “Oh.” The second word, oh my best beloveds, the SECOND word, I shudder to tell you, was, “Shit.”

Immediately, my hands and my husband’s hands dropped from our keyboards. Our office chairs swiveled in tandem, so meticulously choreographed that if there was Olympic Synchronized Office Chair Spinning, we would have instantly qualified for the American team. We turned toward Sam with all four of our eyebrows lowering, and both mouths opening up to blast him with a barrage of NON-PROFANE WORDS asking what the HECK was he GOSH DERN FREAKING THINKING unleashing the S word into the air between the two people who best remember the long past day when his mouth was pink and perfectly round like Cupid’s Sunday best bow and all it could say was “Kitty.”

Sam’s eyes were practically bugging out of his head in horror. His shoulders came up, turtling around his ears and his neck retracted – it looked like he was trying to pull his whole head down safely into his chest cavity. Before Scott or I could even begin, Sam hollered out, with the desperation of the drowning, what has to be the WORST and STUPIDEST lie ever perpetrated by an adolescent.

“SHRIMP!” He yelled. “I meant to say, OH SHRIMP!”

There was a pregnant pause, and then Scott and I EPIC FAILED parenting and just LOST IT. I laughed until TEARS came down my cheeks. Because COME ON???? It was just so DESPERATE and SILLY. Who on earyh says OH SHRIMP! All opportunities to make it a teaching moment were utterly destroyed, but good LORD, OH SHRIMP? I died. I am STILL unable to stop chuckling every time I think about it.

We had the SPRING CHICKEN RUN this weekend, a 5K which raises money for a local shelter and food bank, and when we saw it was POURING out, Scott turned to me and said, “Oh, Shrimp.” When I dropped a FULL cup of milk, wrecking my freshly mopped floor and putting the dog into a state of lapping ecstasy, what did I say? “Oh, SHRIMP.”

It is my new Most Favorite cuss. And Sam has been allowed to live. At least until I catch him dropping the F Bomb.

Posted by joshilyn at March 30, 2009 8:48 AM

That is priceless! Thank you for starting my week off right.
Alas, I fear, any cuss words coming out of my children's mouths could arguably have been heard here at home. More likely at junior high. But they've been known to slip out of my own mouth as well as my husband's.
I'm hoping my kids turn out to have more social graces than I do. :)

Posted by: JulieB at March 30, 2009 9:18 AM

Thanks for the giggle! Glad Sam survived.

Posted by: Jody at March 30, 2009 10:25 AM

Bwah! That's awesome. I'm going to start using that.

And the F word is what... Frog?

Posted by: Aimee at March 30, 2009 10:35 AM

He is REALLY GOOD at thinking on his feet. Perhaps he will grow up to be a lawyer.

An' there's shrimp SCAMPI, and BROILED shrimp; BARBECUED shrimp... (<--shameless reference to Forrest Gump...)

Posted by: Jennifer at March 30, 2009 10:52 AM

I heart Sam.

Posted by: Mir at March 30, 2009 11:07 AM

If you had been able to hold it together and not laugh at that, I would've been really worried about you. Oh shrimp, that was hee-larious. ;)

Posted by: Amy-Go at March 30, 2009 11:11 AM

I have one that just may top "OH, SHRIMP!". My grandson was fighting with my grandaughters (10, 8 and 6 respectively) when my grandson in his naive frustration called them a name. They, seeing their chance to have him get the punishment they knew he so richly deserved ran to tell their favorite grandma, ME, that he had just called them *Whores*. Since I was in a meeting of quite sophisticated women planning a local event for other women like themselves, I took the young boy outside and asked if he had indeed slung the dreaded "W" insult. He said, in all the seriousness of a 10-year-old boy in deep doodoo. "Well, I was trying to call them a "HORSE" but they wouldn't let me finish?"


How do they think of these things!

Posted by: Shirley Westenskow at March 30, 2009 11:14 AM

Necessity ain't the Mother of Invention -- Desperation is!

I pink fluffy heart you and Scott -- if you had been able to keep straight faces at that, I would have despaired for our species :-)

Posted by: Beth R at March 30, 2009 11:25 AM

I call a much non-liked executive the "Seafood Salesman" ... because he is tiny (shrimp) and most of what he says stinks (rotting-fish smell).

I shall now delight in going around the office saying "Oh Shrimp!" and no one but I shall know the link and true meaning!

Tra-la! Give Sam a kiss for me.

Posted by: Mit at March 30, 2009 11:28 AM

As a fully mature parent -- both boys have officially flown the nest -- I would like to say that occasionally (OCCASIONALLY!), deep belly laughs are a far more appropriate response to a childly misdeed. It gives the kid hope, for gosh sakes.

Posted by: kmkat at March 30, 2009 11:36 AM

If you're just itching to say an "F" word, a friend of mine substitutes "foop!" in front of her kids. It's at least mildly satisfying; I've taught myself to say it at work. I love "oh shrimp". :o)

Posted by: saltedwithshadows at March 30, 2009 11:46 AM

We had a phase where our favourite cuss was the word cuss.... such as

Cuss you mother cusser, cuss you hard.

It never failed to make everyone in the room giggle like a schoolgirl and instantly take it as their own.

Posted by: tina at March 30, 2009 2:19 PM

This brings to mind some of the cuss-substitutes I've heard on network TV-censored movies.

One of them (I think the movie was 'Desperado' by Robert Rodriguez) was 'What the frijoles is going on here?'

Seriously. Almost died laughing at the time, and we've said it ever since.

Posted by: firefly at March 30, 2009 3:42 PM

My husband and I regularly burst into uncontrollable laughter when we should be the "adults" in the room. It seems to happen more with the boy than with the girl. He is forever saying something that lets us know he is TOTALLY unaware of his immenent demise.

Posted by: Roxanne at March 30, 2009 3:55 PM

Of all the wonderful reasons to have a child, moments like that are one of them.

Oh, shrimp. Love that!

Posted by: Keetha at March 30, 2009 3:58 PM

You just made me snort out loud at work. For shame! And it reminds me of my favorite tongue-twister, which I encourage aunts and uncles to teach to their nieces and nephews (and NOT for moms and dads to teach to their daughters and sons). Ahem: I am a pheasant plucker. I pluck mother pheasants. I am a pleasant mother pheasant plucker. I am the most pleasant mother pheasant plucker that ever plucked a mother pheasant.

Give that one a go five times fast...

Posted by: Jen A at March 30, 2009 5:27 PM

Man.... I cannot believe sweet little Sam is FREAKING TWELVE!!!!

Posted by: Jill at March 30, 2009 5:39 PM

In Sam's defense, that was a "shrimp" worthy event! A horde of orcs spawning on an exhausted character has made me say stronger things than that, I must say.

I'm going to try to remember to use that in tandem with "oh piffle" at work. I love it!

Posted by: Fran at March 30, 2009 6:08 PM

Images of Ralphie helping his father change the tire dancing in my head!

"Only I didn't say 'fudge'."

Posted by: CityGirl at March 30, 2009 9:06 PM

warning he will still say Shrimp, now that it is prolific, well into the long years of his life. As a 'tween I learned to cuss in several languages... all of which my mother was very fluent...ergo I lost a lot of quarters to her cuss jar. So I started saying, "Son of a bun hugger." I still say it and all of the quarter words too. Oh that Sam is precious.

Posted by: Cele at March 30, 2009 10:49 PM

A friend of mine took her 4 year-old son to get a lemonade only to discover that the restuarant was out of this beverage. Upon learning this news, her son said: "You know what I say when they are out of lemonade? F##k, that's what I say. F##k." After giving her son a stern lecture, my friend returned home and gave her husband an even sterner one.

Posted by: laird at March 30, 2009 10:50 PM

Oh, the build-up to the grand finale moment - it was too much! THIS is why you are a novelist.
And maybe also because of special terms like "Dork-Trifecta" ;-)

I've also been unable to keep a straight face at some of the stuff my kid does, what kind of monster am I creating?

Posted by: Brigitte at March 31, 2009 5:33 AM

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall.

I can't imagine anyone managing a straight face with that one...

Posted by: erinanne at March 31, 2009 9:09 AM

A five-orc instant respawn seems like a good time to say a Bad Word, if you're going to.

Posted by: Jill James at March 31, 2009 5:36 PM

That's so perfect! Now I have to substitute shrimp for sugar. Which doesn't really work in a cake batter. But in this instance, it just might work in conversation.

Posted by: Flea at March 31, 2009 9:55 PM

In our house instead of using words on the naughty list we use:

It took some explaining why that is sort of a bad word.

Posted by: Audi at April 1, 2009 1:59 AM




Oh, SHRIMP! my sides ache!

Priceless. Just priceless. Thanks for the much-needed laughter. (And my darling husband is out of town, so I was able to bray helplessly while rolling around on the bed with the laptop and I never ONCE endangered my life or my health! Woot!)

*still giggling*

Posted by: Kim at April 1, 2009 4:22 AM

Aye! (Strong Irish accent) That was quite the good save by the young lad Sam. Oh and aye!
He gets extra wee points for his creativity.
***** 5 Stars!

Posted by: Trace at April 1, 2009 9:21 AM