Thursday, March 8, 2012

Say What??

The other night as we were watching Parks and Recreation for the 10th time, Leslie's reference to Tom (who hails from Bennettville, South Carolina) as being from Libya, some vivid memories of my childhood came to my mind.  That's right, the Libyan reference brought me back to my much younger years and reminded me of 3 times when I picked something up from a movie and caused some trouble.

A little backstory:  My family is pretty conservative.  My dad is a Lutheran minister and his dad was a Lutheran minister before him.  The only time we really heard cursing was the very rare occasion when my grandpa on my mom's side of the family would get angry (typically at a card game) and mutter "shit" under his breath - just loud enough for us to get a laugh out of it when we were kids.  Other parents didn't curse around us, partially as a result of my dad's position and partially out of respect for me being an impressionable youth.  I can count on one hand the number of times I have heard either of my parents say anything worse than "crap".

This is literally a postcard of the pool in Herington.
Weird to see it here exactly how it looked when I grew up.  
Both sets of grandparents lived between 10 and 13 hours (by car) away from us, so we would typically take a trip to see each set for a week each year and they'd come visit us for a week or two at some point.  For a large portion of my younger years, my dad's parents lived in Herington, Kansas - haven't heard of it?  It's okay, no one has.  My grandparents weren't the most active people, so Herington fit them well.  The only thing in town to do was visit the city pool - unfortunately that doesn't do much good in the middle of winter.  So then we were down to renting movies and playing cards.

Seriously, whose idea was it to make this a kids movie?
And how did it pull off a PG rating??  And parents today
think that stuff our kids watch is "too adult."

Somehow on one of these trips when I was maybe 6 or 7 we made it back to the house with Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  And for some reason we were able to make it considerably far in to the movie without one of my parents or grandparents realizing that either 1) I would be scarred for life or 2) I would have nightmares or 3) both.  If we had had the IMDB Parents Guide this movie never would have made it across the threshold.  I'm fairly certain that no one had any inkling what was coming, but as soon as I heard Eddie refer to someone as a "son of a bitch" I thought it was perfectly reasonable to use this new term of endearment in speaking with my older brother.

I never saw my grandma move faster.  She was out of the kitchen and in to the living room had snatched me up and dragged me to the kitchen before I could even plead ignorance.  I turned on the waterworks quickly enough that I don't think this one resulted in any major punishment, but I didn't call anybody in my family a "son of a bitch" again.

The next instance occurred at our house - once again with grandparents involved, but this time it was my mom's parents.  Unfortunately I can't remember the movie this time - something tells me it was Big Business or Turner & Hooch or maybe even Dick Tracy but IMDB isn't helping me jog my memory this time.

This time we were engaged in our other fun activity with our grandparents - playing cards.  For those of you that haven't played games with my family, we might be conservative, but that doesn't mean we aren't competitive.  Just ask my wife or brother-in-law who we have tried to bring in to the fold - they just don't understand the mean streaks that come out during gameplay.

Anyway, we were waiting for someone - I don't know if it was my sister or my grandma - and I was getting tired of waiting.  In my 9 year old brain, I was trying to come up with a word I knew I had heard someone say - something that would sarcastically tell whoever was wasting time to get out of their deep thoughts and get back to the game.  What came out was along the lines of "you only get 5 minutes of masturbation time."  That's right.  I can only imagine the horror my parents must have been experiencing at this point.  Clearly I had no idea what it was meant and clearly I wasn't trying to be disgusting.

Instead of being quickly removed from the table, my parents waited until bed time when my dad came to my bedside with the dictionary.  Dear God, that was an awkward "conversation".  Thankfully I had yet to discover the joys of the semi-scrambled Spice channel, so I didn't fully appreciate just how awkward it was.  Again, I learned my lesson.

Okay, Nathan, but what does all this have to do with Tom in Parks & Rec being from Libya?  Well for that one, we're going to have to get to Back to the Future.  I saw this one when I was pretty young as well thanks to my older brother and dad who got in to these movies.  As the youngest, I was blessed by the fact that by the time my parents got to me they had gotten tired of some of the rules and just sort of let things go.  And Back to the Future was the least of their worries.

For those of you that haven't seen the movies, Dr. Brown was supposed to build the Libyans a bomb with some plutonium they gave him, but he used the plutonium to make his time travel device and gave them a bomb casing filled with pinball machine parts.  They came back pissed.

At whatever age I was, somehow I already knew that the word for a gay woman was lesbian.  So, not having seen the word "Libyan" in writing and not having taken a World Geography course yet, I naturally assumed that "libian" was the masculine form of "lesbian" so the libians must be gay men.  Why Dr. Brown would need to build a bomb for a couple gay men who drove a big van, spoke gibberish and carried some heavy duty weapons never occurred to me.  Since it wasn't a topic of conversation that came up around the dinner table too often, I just went on thinking that Dr. Brown was attacked by angry gay men who didn't get their plutonium.  I'm not exactly certain when I realized how wrong I was about the Libyans.  I apologize for my ignorance.

I hope my wife enjoys this one since she gets mad at me when I give her a hard time about words that she learned by reading books, but didn't ever learn to pronounce correctly.  Not sure I have shared any of these experiences with her or anyone outside the family.  So, the question is, what kind of things did you say when you were a kid, or what has your kid said that just makes you go - "huh?"