Today Twelve was giving me a scary manicure. You know, the kind that involves A LOT of giggling, haphazardly deployed emery boards, and an inexplicable variety of pointy tools that I absolutely refused to allow anywhere near me.
Suddenly - and by this I mean completely and totally without warning or precedent - she said, "Phalanges is a funny word. [chortle] It sounds like it should mean testicles or something." And then [chortle, chortle] she added something else funny, maybe regarding dangling phalanges; I tried really hard to remember it, but she has definitely started to notice when I take notes.
Clearly our time in the safe haven of fart-joke territory is limited.
I couldn't resist mentioning this on Facebook - come on, phalanges and testicles? No way I'm passing this up - and I forgot to block my mom from seeing the post. This is going to be an issue.
Blah, blah, blah, inappropriate, blah, blah, unseemly, blah, blah, blah, unladylike ... bllleeechhhhhh. I just don't care. You see, I was the twelve-year-old paralyzed by not knowing what the heck was going on. In seventh grade science class, I had no idea what the word "renob" meant, or why the guy at my table was so incredulous about my ignorance. Ignorance which continued even when he explained to me that it was "boner" spelled backwards. Boner? What's that? Thankfully, I was too shy to request more information.
(Is my fondness for the phrase "That's what SHE said" starting to make more sense yet?)
Perhaps I am overcompensating by daring to accompany Twelve on her forays into the realm of adolescent humor. However, I enjoy a balls joke as much as the next person, and I want her to be able to practice in the safe company of adult friends. Maybe I'm just projecting my own memories of failure onto her; almost certainly her peers aren't making any better jokes, but at any rate, with us her real clunkers incur no social penalty.
If some football jock (of course he was a football player, that guy at my seventh grade science table) manages to produce some new slang term that Twelve doesn't know, you know what she'll do? She'll bluff her way through. She'll figure out what it means and use it even more cleverly. She'll retort that it's not a real word. She'll turn the joke around on him. She'll change the subject. She'll get bored and walk away.
I dunno what the hell Twelve will do, but she damn well won't sit there silently, uncomfortable, not knowing what to do.
And twenty years later? She won't remember the interaction.