Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Push for Clarity

The Prude’s family needs her this morning, which means she can spend very little time hurrumphing and naysaying and frowning through the daily disapproval.  Instead she will tell a small tale from her childhood. It is a cautionary tale.  It is a tale that deals with euphemisms at cross-purposes.

The Prude is an advocate of the euphemism, as detailed at length somewhere in the archives of this blog. But sometimes the euphemism can come back and bite one in the pooket. What follows is a true story of a pooket-biting euphemism. The Prude sincerely hopes no one takes offense at some of the explicit language to follow.

When The Prude was quite young, she and her little sister, for some reason lost in the fogs of time, were visiting Aunt Betty for an extended stay.  It is important to know that the inner workings of The Prude Family stomachs tend to be on the shy side, especially in our formative years.  Our digestive systems were delicate flowers, easily upset by the slings and arrows of outrageous water softeners, spices other than cinnamon, and meat from any animal that didn’t moo or cluck.

This particular visit was particularly painful for The Prude’s sister, and henceforth for Aunt Betty.  Aunt Betty had fed her little niece diligently, but noticed that, while food was going into the child, nothing seemed to be coming out. The situation reached a crisis when The Prude’s little sister curled herself into a tight ball on Aunt Betty’s guest bed and howled for 2 straight days.  Aunt Betty was desperate. Although she had a pretty good idea that the Little Sister’s restroom visits had been unproductive, she needed to be sure.  She summoned The Prude, and thus began one of the worst verbal exchanges in the
Prude’s history.

(To get the full effect of the following, please picture Little Sister, her face reddish-orange and shiny, wailing and groaning while clutching her stomach; Aunt Betty sweating and wringing her hands, and The Prude perched on the edge of the bed, mumbling and wishing herself anywhere else in the universe.)

Aunt Betty: ‘Sweetheart, you little sister hasn’t-um- seemed to use the potty in the last few days.  Do you know if she has?’
Prude: ‘No’
Aunt Betty: ‘What do you call-um-the stuff in the potty? I need to ask her if she has done it’
Prude: ‘Don’t know’
Aunt Betty:  ‘Brown pieces?’
Prude (tiny voice): ‘no’
Aunt Betty: ‘Poop?’
Prude (hesitates): ‘noooo….’
Aunt Betty (inspired): BIG pieces?
Prude (in no uncertain terms): ‘No’
Aunt Betty (getting desperate): “Chunks? Stinkies? Droppings? Waste product? BOWEL MOVEMENT?’
Prude (in utter horror): ‘NO! NO! YUCK!’

The Prude ran from the room with her fingers shoved up against her eardrums to drown out any other descriptions Aunt Betty may have blurted, leaving her aunt and sister
to screech at each other on the guest bed.

Time has mercifully also fogged over how or when my sister and Aunt Betty resolved this calamity.  All The Prude knew was that she would rather have died than reveal the
term The Family Prude used to refer to the outworkings of the incomings of food:

The Prude recommendation of the day:
 Next time you leave your child for any length of time with anyone other than members of your household, make sure to leave a list of your euphemisms and their translations.
Or things could get stinky.


Robin J. Steinweg said...

Does anybody remember singer Ricky Nelson's hit song, "Be-Bop Baby?"

Well, the term Be-Bop was my family's useful euphemism concerning the subject of the Prude's post today up until we acquired an old Wurlitzer juke box. Song #22 stunned my five-year-old ears. How did Ricky dare to sing about such a thing? How dare I remember it here?

The Prude said...

Be bop! Perfect!
I can imagine your view of Ricky Nelson was always a little sullied after that.

Anonymous said...

Little brown bears - That's the answer -Joanie

The Prude said...

Little brown bears- I will never eat chocolate teddy grahams again!