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The True Meaning of Awful

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(sitting down to dinner)

Me: Hank, tell me everything about your first day back at school.

Pai: Me, too.

Molly: Me too, too!

Hank: BOTH of the school gym’s flooded.

Me: Whoooops.

Pai: You have two gyms?

Hank: Yes, we have a big gym and a small gym and they were both full of water so we couldn’t go into them so instead of gym we were forced into a small room where we had to spend the whole class watching people play with balls on YouTube.

Me: In a few years that will mean a very different thing.

Pai: Can it, Hanford.

Me: (raised eyebrows)

Hank: It was awful.

Me: Was it awful? Was it really? Witnessing a car accident is awful. The loss of a pet is awful. Vegemite is awful.

Hank: You’re right, mom. It wasn’t awful it was boring. Vegemite is awful. Today wasn’t Vegemite bad.

Pai: This is a conversation only the two of you could come up with.

Me: Don’t look at me! I’m American! I should have never had the opportunity to try that brown stuff they claim is food. Hank was the one who was curious about Vegemite.

Hank: Don’t look at me! I’m a kid! You’re the one who got Tia Isabel to send us Vegemite. Without you we never would have known what awful really is!

Me: How was I supposed to know it was awful? People swear by it! Who puts skunky bouillon paste on toast? Who ruins perfectly good toast! Toast needs nothing. It is perfect just the way it is!

Hank: Who does that?

Pai: I am glad we’ve established the proper intensity for the word awful now can we change the subject so we can enjoy our lovely meal?

Molly: (pushing food around her plate) What Vegemite? Vegemite awful. Awful Vegemite. Chocolate cake. Chocolate cake not awful. Yummy chocolate cake, please.

Pai: You have to eat your nice dinner before we can talk about dessert.

Molly: Chocolate cake for me, papa? Chocolate cake for me?

Pai: Maybe we should have stuck to the Vegemite. She will eat nothing now that she has cake on the brain!

Me: I bet some hoodlum has a recipe for Chocolate Vegemite Cupcakes.

Hank: (gagging dramatically) No. Nope. Please…

Me: Shall we google?

Hank: Mom, don’t! It’s not worth knowing. The idea is too…

Me: Awful?

Hank: Just stop. I now understand the meaning of awful. I won’t misuse it again. Nothing could be worse than Chocolate Vegemite Cupcakes.

Pai: Don’t go down that rabbit whole with your mother. Her imagination is vast. She could come up with an idea or two.

Me: (sinister smile) You have to ask yourself… WILL IT CUPCAKE?

Hank: She won’t stop.

Pai: Nope, not when she gets an idea in her head. Your mother is relentless.

Molly: CAKE!!!