I found myself in an unfamiliar place the other night – the laundry room. I try to visit it as seldom as I can, which is only hen I run out of clean underwear. (And what I’ve come to realize is that wearing underwear once – and yes, sometimes even twice, doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re dirty . . . )
But on this particular evening I was folding clothes when I was witness of and, at times, even a party to, a rather interesting conversation between my 10-year-old son and my 21-year-old daughter.
My son, who is in fifth grade, was enlightening my daughter on ALL of the “BAD WORDS.”
Now keep in mind, this is a kid who up until last year thought “dang” was a curse word. Of course, the way I use it at times, it might be, but that’s another story . . .
On this evening, my son boasted that he now knew ALL of the bad words.
So, like any intrigued person would, my daughter asked him what some of them were.
“I don’t want to say them,” my son replied with angelic modesty.
“Just tell me one,” she pleaded.
But after he turned down a no-parent-in-sight cussing opportunity for a second time, she developed a new strategy. “What does one of them start with?”
“Well, there’s the J Word,” my son offered.
“The J Word?” she asked puzzled.
I was kinda scratching my head, too. And all I could think was, uh oh, those young scalawags have developed some NEW bad words since I was in middle school. Apparently, I wasn’t alone.
“The J Word? . . . I really don’t know what that is.” And then, “Dad! What’s a bad word that starts with the letter J?!”
Uh-oh. I was like a kid stuck with his hand writing bad words in the cookie jar.
“What?” I answered. I feigned not paying attention to one of the most interesting conversations of the first half of the 21st century.
After asking again, I told her I didn’t know ANY bad words that started with ANY letters.
She said I shouldn’t lie, and asked me again.
I don’t know, I answered. How about “juxtaposition?”
“I don’t think so,” she said.
“Jumping Jahosafat?” I suggested.
She wasn’t impressed.
Then I heard some conspiratorial whispering. This couldn’t be good.
“Jupiter!” I was hoping to derail the thing that was happening that I didn’t want to happen.
I heard a confused “What?” coming from my daughter. Then more whispering. Followed by an exasperated “That’s not even a bad word!”
And with that, their conversation was over.
And I was left with yet another J Word – just-as-well-that-I-don’t-know.