Away with Words

2 Feb

My son is 14 and usually pretty funny. And sometimes annoying. And in some cases (much to my chagrin) aggravatingly funny. His newest thing is to attempt to use VERY large vocabulary words (incorrectly, most of the time) to ask a question or describe a situation or to flip short and long vowels to mispronounce and draw out a word. So annoying…

Here’s one from last night:

“Madame Terrace…May I inquire into the circumference of the nationality as to conceptually what you are optioning to commence for the evening festivities?” Translation: “Mom – what’s for dinner?” After an eye roll and an answer, I get a sincere “Thank you in immense degrees for your effort and configurations.” Gee, you’re welcome, Ben.

Turns out he googled ‘Big Words’ and got a list with…big words. Too bad it didn’t come with a lesson on the appropriate use of those words.

So, it got me remembering a few word mishaps that have happened to me or people I know along the way and have usually required not laughing out loud so as not to embarrass anyone…. Difficult though it may be!

A year or so ago, I was up north getting a massage while Gary and Ben were skiing. I was having a relaxing conversation with my masseuse when she shared that she was taking a trip to the east coast. She was very excited about all the things she was going to be doing – see the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell, drive up the coast of Maine and eat all the lobsters she could. Yep, she told me she had her ‘artillery’ all planned out and was set to go! Needless to say, the luxury of a massage was shelved by the laughter I was trying to suppress.

When Ben was in kindergarten, I volunteered each week during media center time (we used to call this the Library). The Media Specialist (we used to call these people Librarians) was reading a book to the class about Martin Luther King and how he was against violence. Every single time the word violence was read, one of Ben’s classmates, we’ll call him Kevin, interrupted to ask what exactly was wrong with violence? The three of us adults were looking at one another in surprise and concern, not exactly knowing how to respond. When the book ended, their teacher asked Kevin what he understood about ‘violence’. Kevin’s reply, “Well, my big brother loves violence and plays one in the band.” Relief in our laughter!

One of my favorites was when I had my cheer camp. A fantastic male staff member was the speaker in a stunt class to about 60 teenage girls, along with his group of 4 other (female) staffers. I was walking up to their area just after they had broken into groups to try a new stunt. The male staffer ran up to me practically in tears to tell me how badly he had messed up and that I would probably be firing him and he’s so sorry and….”Stop”, I said and asked him to calmly tell me what happened? Turns out he was teaching a stunt and explaining the counts needed for each part. He (a male college kid surrounded by a few hundred high school girls for weeks at a time) inadvertently combined the words count and stunt….yep – he really did. Well, the girls held it together until, with his horrified face, he yelled ‘break’ and then the entire group busted out laughing. Which was exactly my reaction.

The whole Freudian thing is so often in play – a teacher friend of mine recounted that at the beginning of her teaching career, when she was just a few years older than the seniors in her classes, she was talking about a story where the home was a condominium and she was interchanging the words condo and condominium. And what do you think she accidently called it one of those times? Yep – she really did. The senior boys didn’t bother holding their laughter in.

And Ben’s question to me this morning: “Terrancio, can you so stunningly identify the conundrum that is the apparently absenteeism as it relates to the whereabouts of my gratuitous garmentos?” Translation: “Mom – did you wash my khaki’s?”

So annoying…

But here’s the positive takeaway from Ben’s exasperating new way to speak to me…. One, in a time when so many of our teens can barely grunt a reply to our questions, at least he’s talking, albeit incorrectly. Next, for a kid who took 13 years to try any new foods, at least he’s not afraid to try new words!

Lastly and maybe most importantly, it gives him an outlet for his witty sense of self and silly sense of humor – which happily translates our house into a contented sense of fun.

And thus, my supremely attained and cherishably illusional friends and readables, I must make my emmensable prescence of uno made in my presumably emptiable kitchen and commence the processional of creating the eventual meal. Translation: Gotta go make dinner – how’d I do?!?!

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