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.'
'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.