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Bah Humbug

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Hank: (road raging at his videogame) What a douche bag.

Me: (looking up from my book) YO!

Hank: Sorry.

Me: Make a better choice.

Hank: Sorry.

Me: Especially with your Grammy and Grandpa Snitch coming in a couple months. Man, can you imagine the look on your Grandpa Snitch’s face if you drop douche bag while we’re driving around Sintra?

Hank: (resumes driving) He would be shocked.

Me: He would either laugh or get super judgmental about how I am raising his oldest grandson.

Hank: I will make a better choice. It’s just I am starting to understand why you use so many curse words.

Me: They’re some of the most gratifying of the English language but nothing will ruin your credibility quicker in a professional environment than calling someone a douche bag.

Hank: (giggling)

Me: When I was little my Grandma Hof said to my dad (dramatic sing-songy voice of desperation), “Berne, whatever you do don’t teach this beautiful child to say, ‘Bah Humbug.”

Hank: What does Bah Humbug mean?

Me: Um… (racking my brain) disgruntled, overall scrugingly, dismissive… um… It’s Dicksonian. I will have to look it up later, but it is something a curmudgeon would say and my grandmother wanted the daughter of her only daughter to be anything but a curmudgeon.

Hank: And a curmudgeon is bad?

Me: A curmudgeon is a grump and my dad has spent his life trying to convince people he is a grump when he is far from it. ANYWAY… so my dad then spent the next six months grilling me, priming me and rewarding me to the point where the first thing I said, all charming and two years old, when I saw my grandma Hof was…

Hank: Bah Humbug.

Me: Yes, and she was devastated and probably used that moment to make my dad finish the last of the green beans and mashed potatoes so she wouldn’t have to put them into the icebox for the rest of her life.

Hank: What’s an icebox.

Me: Before electricity fancy people had an icebox in their house which would keep foods cool and or semi-frozen, like a refrigerator. It was a wood and zinc lined box and a man would come and deliver a block of ice to your ice box once a week or so.

Hank: Seriously?

Me: Seriously?

Hank: Where did he get the ice? Like in the summer?

Me: Ice was a business.

Hank: Seriously?

Me: Yup.

Hank: And your grandmother had an icebox in her house?

Me: I think so. She never got out of the habit of saying icebox my whole life so it is safe to assume and her parents were the type to maybe have an icebox.

Hank: Wow.

Me: Yah. Life moves fast. My grandmother had an icebox to preserve food and you are driving a car simulation through the coastal roads of Australia in your living room in your pajamas.

Hank: (getting cut off by another driver) I am not going to call him a douche bag.

Me: Don’t even say douche bag.

Hank: I won’t.

Me: You did.

Hank: Okay, but I won’t again.

Me: Don’t make me tell you about the time my cousin Mark taught me how to swear every time he asked me to tell him a secret in the back seat of our Chevy Impala.

Hank: What? Really?

Me: See, I am not a good role model. Do not be like me. I was set up to fail with Bah Humbug, Awwwwwwe Shit and God Damn It, in my vocabulary before the age of three. I am a lost cause. Save yourself!

Hank: (giggling, then swerving to avoid being t-boned) Sugar! Jerk.

Me: (going back to my book, mission accomplished) That’s my boy.