So then…I clarify that this post is not intended to make fun of the people mentioned in the post.
Which I’d never do.
It IS intended to make fun of my teen daughter Chloe.
Which I do all the time.
In fact, it’s my life’s work.
But let’s face it, she’s an accomplice to that. She just makes it so easy.
For the purposes of today’s tale, you should know that Mr. V is a very smart, skilled science teacher with grey hair – and an accent from a country whose surnames have so many vowels, everyone just calls him Mr. V.
And now our tale:
As I’m laying down on Chloe’s bed while she puts on her pajamas, I tell her about a vendor’s new employee I met today. “She’s very sharp, capable, professional – dresses beautifully – really very impressive—”
“But…?” asks Chloe, as she climbs into the bed.
“But she ends every sentence with ‘and everything,’” I say. “It’s the oddest thing. I’m used to people saying ‘ya know’ or ‘ok’ repetitively, but I’ve never met anyone who said that. And she kinds of slurs it, like ‘an’ errrthing.’”
“She says it a lot?” asks Chloe.
“Yes! She’ll say, ‘We’ll send you the spreadsheets an’ errrthing, then you can review the figures an’ errrthing so we can get together for a meeting an’ errrthing.’”
“Yes, really! But she’s so professional in every other way, she may not even know she’s doing it. We’re going to be working together a lot — I’m wondering if I could discreetly mention it to her, as a helpful—”
“NO!” says Chloe.
“Just a friendly word of advice? She might appreciate it.”
“No, Mom, you cannot do that! I hate when people tell me I use the word “like” all the time! I know I use it, but I’m like a Valley Girl – I can’t help it!”
“‘Like’ a Valley Girl?” I grin. She laughs.
“Well,” I say authoritatively, “Sometimes in business it’s OK to advise people—”
“No, no, no!” She shakes her head vehemently.
I laugh and say, “Yes, it IS OK – hey, don’t you remember that time my friend Carol had to tell her employee that people complained about him stinking? Remember? And she had to tell him to take showers? He was from a different country where they don’t shower that much so—”
“OMIGOD! Like Mr. V!!” she exclaims.
“Oh really? Does he smell a bit—?”
“OH!” she says fervently, “It’s in-TOX-icating!”
I die laughing.
“In-TOX-icating? The smell is in-TOX-icating?” I ask.
She blushes and blurts, “Yes! Wait! Is that the right word?”
“Chloe, that means you find his scent powerful and exhilarating! Appealing and captivating! Like you’re drunk on his aroma! Like you’re swooning!”
She buries her head in the pillow – mortified!
“Did you mean the smell is ‘in-TOL-erable” instead of ‘in-TOX-icating?’ Maybe? Just maybe?”
She pulls the covers over her head.
I impersonate her voice and add a flirtatious lilt. “Oh Mr. V, come closer, come closer. Your smell is so in-TOX-icating!”
She’s shouting “STOP STOP STOP!” from under the covers — and the bed’s shaking ‘cause we’re laughing so hard.
And you can bet that ever since then, whenever she least suspects it – (and often when we’re in the company of others) – I interrupt the conversation to passionately blurt, “Oh! It’s so in-TOX-icating!”
She always turns bright red and shoots me a fierce look – and I just laugh and laugh and laugh!
— Darcy Perdu
PS I changed his initial to further protect the teacher’s anonymity!
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(What words do YOUR kids mix up? Have you ever had to give constructive feedback on an awkward issue to an employee/coworker?)
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