stream of self-consciousness

I was in fifth grade on a disaster of a vacation in the Dominican Republic.   My mother accidentally booked the four of us in one small room, inside a suite that we shared with strangers.  “What,” she said, “I thought a bungalow was a nice touch.”  To which my father responded, “Yolanda, I’m not sharing a bathroom with strangers.  You know how I have to do my business first thing.”  I still hate when people call making “doing their business.”  Calling it “making” is fine, but doing business involves minutes, bottled water, and magic-erase pens.  And who came up with the number system?  Seriously, I genuinely want to know where “don’t worry, I’ll be quick, I’ve just got to make a number one” came from. 

I will always remember that vacation and be unable to keep a straight face in the recounting of it with my father.  I used to watch him while my mother just stood there rolling her eyes with that, “oh stop, it’s not that bad” face.  My father’s entire head turned red.  I loved it.   “This is just ridiculous, Yolanda.” 

We all fell asleep that night in our one room of two full-sized beds.  It was dark enough that we couldn’t make out one another’s faces.  The room was small enough that we could hear if someone was still awake, in a turn or exhale.  After about a half hour in the dark and quiet my mother said, “It’s kind of bad, isn’t it?”  And then for no reason at all, Lea and I began to sing.  Overtired, they call it now. 

“Tits and Ass” she blurted out.  She was not sleeping.  She doesn’t have a syndrome.  She somehow just needed to shout it. 
I responded with, “make the medicine go down, the medicine go down, in the most delightful waaaaay!!!  Booby.  Booby.” 
The tits and ass bit was from A Chorus Line, and we were allowed to say those words only when singing the song, because “Mom, we’re not saying anything bad.  It’s a song!”  And the “booby, booby” bit was from an adolescent handshake I learned. 

This is a handshake  (shake hands with person) 
This is a friend shake (shake hands with person in claspy, cool way)
And this is a milkshake (sneak attack grab of their boob)

I did this with friends, and to my younger sister to shock her and make her laugh.  To teach her something new.  In fact, her kindergarten teacher once came up to me in a hallway when I was older, visiting the school and my former teachers on a half-day of middle school.  He said, “so you’re Lea’s older sister.  You know I had a lot of explaining to do because of you.”  What?  “You taught your sister quite colorful things.”  Apparently I taught Lea to say, “butt-fucking penis wrinkle.”  She said it to her class.  I’d like to imagine she said it during Show & Tell.  Instead, she probably just said it when one of the Fillion brothers pulled her pigtail.



  1. I love how your parents only allowed those words in songs.

    I liked singing clapping or jumprope rhymes that bordered on risque as a kid, as my parents were very big on "no cussing." (Ra Ra Ree, Kick 'Em in the Knee, Ra Ra Rass, Kick 'Em in the…other knee.)

    I felt so cursing repressed that I ended up writing my high school term paper on the origin of every expletive I could think of, just so I could put all those forbidden words on a clean white page.

    I loved going up to my mom and saying, "Oh, that was a BIT-CHAllenging." She would always be shocked, then sort of mad I had fooled her for a moment, but ultimately was caught. It wasn't MY fault she heard a bad word in my sentence. :)

  2. this was hilarious. probably because i can completely identify with not being able to keep a straight face when retelling some embarrassing family story.

  3. Your post reminded me of that song I love by Simple Plan. "I'm a dick…I'm addicted to you…" Good play on words. And my kids can sing it and get away with it!

  4. I remember teaching my cousin Kelci "Shit" in an "Oops" manner. She is the only girl amongst all of us boys, and we were playing. Well, she heard it, and later that night, her mom was cooking and dropped a spoon LOADED with red sauce on her stove. Kelci looked at the situation, and just said, "Ah Shit Mom!". Yeah, I can remember that little talking to as if it was yesterday.

    Great post!

  5. When I was in 1st grade, my older sister was in the 3rd grade. Our Mom worked hard taking care of 6 kids on her own and would often come home from work saying how she'd worked her arse off again, not thinking we knew what "arse" meant. My sister's class had to write a sentence on the blackboard about someone in their family and she wrote "MY MOM WORKS HER ASS OFF". Her teacher could barely keep from laughing out loud and actually went and got a couple other teachers to read it. It was even hard for Mom not to crack up when they called her to come to the principle's office.

  6. I remember with fondness my first swear word, of being perhaps four and out with my nanny, and when we came home she could not find her key. "Scheisse!" I said, mimicking what I had heard her say in the next room. She boxed my ears.

    Good times.

  7. Oh, that's funny! My mother also allowed us say bad words if they were in the context of a a song. My favorite was from Grease. "You know it ain't no shit when we're getting lots of tit." Thanks for making me laugh.

  8. I scream those words out when my girlfriend won't give me sex. But that's a whole other issue! *sigh*

    Isn't fun when you can just be silly sometimes? My whole life is silly… well…more like pathetic.

    Okay I just depressed myself. Great post Steph!

  9. Never heard of the milkshake handshake. Wonder if it's still funny for adults. Maybe I'll try it out on someone tomorrow.

  10. That story reminds me of the time my family was on a road trip from Chicago to Washington D.C. and us kids were playing a name game. I called my brother "BASTARD" and my father practically got into a car accident. I was barely a third grader! I had no clue…
    Booby Booby…I can't stop laughing!

  11. when i was a kid i used to make up these songs – long chains of words that rhymed. i never did understand why my mom would occasionally get quite upset at something i blurted out. i was simply going through the alphabet trying to rhyme more words with my original one… "bit" "dit" "hit" "pit" etc… you never know where you'll end up. i guess she should be thankful that at the age of three i knew what rhyming was!

    funny post. – natalie

  12. I just gave my sleepy girlfriend the milkshake handshake. She laughed and then gave me a play knee to the balls. Unfortunately for me, she connected better than she intended. The moral–Got to be careful giving milkshake handshakes. Ouch!

  13. Sheesh I never knew it was called the milkshake handshake. I thought I invented it too. WRONG!! My husband says he is going "over water" when he needs to take a dump. My son has told people, "No my dad can't come to the phone, he's over water." I, on the other hand, say that I'm "dropping the kids off at the pool."

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