Ten fags

April 6, 2011

I am convinced that the best comedy in the universe comes from the daily lives of small children. Its value cannot be estimated, for how could one place a value on something that innocently brings inappropriate giggling to funerals and smiles to the faces of people in intense pain? What is the value of an evening spent with family, telling stories from a shared past almost always beginning with, “Remember when…”

One of the funniest conversations I have ever had was with you, when you were about 2 1/2 years old. You were a very serious child and it would have been awful for you if someone laughed at you while you were trying to talk about your world. You would have been crushed. And believe me, laughing at you was the last thing I would ever have done—on purpose.

You were telling me about your friends at daycare and around your neighborhood. Full of stories about your daily activities, you were talking about big butt and little butt and how much fun you had. I asked over and over about big butt and little butt, trying to gently move the conversation to an explanation of the butts and what they were. Every time you said big butt and little butt again, I would get a little tickle at the back of my throat. The longer the conversation went on with your earnest little face telling me all about games, coloring, singing, and big butt and little butt, the more danger there was that the little tickle was going to turn into a great guffaw. Noticing my struggle to understand (which was really my herculean effort to control that tickle), your lower lip began to quiver.

I said, “Help me to understand the butts. Is it a game?”
“Is it a picture?”
“Is it something to eat?”
“NO! It’s a GULL! Two GULLS!”

The two gulls helped me to guess that you were talking about two girls you knew, and I then recalled that Brooke was a name your mom had mentioned in the past. You knew two of them. There was a Big Brooke, and a Little Brooke. You liked both of them very much. You were very relieved that I understood about the Brookes, and I was happy to have made it through the minefield of the butts. Our conversation moved on to your plans for the weekend.

“What are you going to do with Mommy this weekend?”
“Ten fags,” you said.

The guffaw won and I am so sorry, I lost. Ten fags won out over Six Flags. You forgave my laughter, later. Thank you.


  1. lol* oh goodness kids are the cutest, and I love this post. so inspiring, i can’t wait to read what your grand daughter posts tee-hee

  2. ahahah. perfect. interpretations are so fun. with my daughter naomi we call it ‘speaking nome’
    love that you take the time to listen and understand. (and laugh. a lot.)

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