My Kids Are Proof That What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger -or- Potty In The USA
This afternoon, the teen girl, teen boy, and I were sitting in the living room, quietly. It’s not that we love each other so much that we can’t bear to be apart, but the temp outside has been near the triple digits and it’s the only room in the house that feels cool most of the time. Anyway, he held his PSP, she held her iPod, and I typed away on my laptop. iTunes radio, tuned to a pop station, streamed at a very low volume out of my computer. I got up to go to the bathroom, just as this song came on.
Now, one thing you absolutely must know about me is I love to sing. It’s the greatest joy I’ve ever found and I suck at it. Really. I can’t carry a tune. I am completely tone deaf. I tied for last place in the only karaoke contest I’ve ever entered and my fellow loser was so drunk that she couldn’t read the words and then ran off the stage to vomit. I’m not kidding. I feel like it’s the most perfect punishment ever to create someone who only feels truly alive while singing and then make them sound like a cat in heat while achieving that bliss. Fuckin’ universe.
The other thing you need to know about me is that I’m the Weird Al of Pottytown. I can’t sing a song, no matter how somber, no matter how serious, without substituting bathroom words. It just ain’t in me. Take, for instance, Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 Poo”. Or Huey Lewis’ “The Fart of Rock and Roll”. Or perhaps Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City (On a Toilet Bowl) is more your speed. Regardless, if I can slip “poop”, “pee”, “fart” (sometimes “shart”, just to mix it up), “diarrhea”, or “butt” into a song (and I usually can), then I will.
So, back to the living room, from where I have just excused myself to use the restroom, and Kris Allen is singing about making the most of every day, just in case you kick the bucket. Upper, right? I fixed that.
I finished my business, washed up, and decided to give myself a laugh. I ran down the hallway and slid back into the living room, a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business, singing at the top of my lungs “GOTTA FAAAART LIKE WE’RE POOOOPING!” and, as I was singing and sliding, caught sight of my son’s face, which was wearing an expression of pure horror. He turned his head toward me, and I saw that he had his cell phone to his ear.
“Uh-huh. Okay. I’ll be in one day this week. Thank you. Bye,” he said in his “For Grownups Only” voice.
I instantly burst out laughing. Tears came so suddenly that they sprayed the inside of my glasses.
“Oh. My. God.,” I choked, a snort escaping. “Who was that?”
“My principal, saying the honor roll awards came in and I could pick up mine any time over the summer,” he growled.
He gritted his teeth while he spoke, which only made me laugh harder. Can’t put them biscuits back in the can (a homey-sounding expression that I just made up), so you might as well laugh, right?
“I’m so sorry,” I said, now nearing hysteria. My breathing was ragged, my face was red, and I was doing a screamlaugh that caused our upstairs neighbor to stomp around, angrily.
“No you aren’t,” he said.
I wish I could have argued, but the kid knows me.