My six grade English teacher, Mrs Hippo Potamus, not to be confused with my imaginary girlfriend Hilda, did her best to instill the basics of our second language into the young minds of the hooligans who occupied her class.
She was certainly not the daintiest person I knew and we liked her because one could hear her waddle down the corridor a mile away. Don’t judge me, I was twelve at the time! And at that age fat is fat. It’s open season on ridicule. Besides she made a buffet table nervous.
Throughout the year she managed to make a few things stick other than another pound or fourteen. At least for me. Two of those were never to use the words “NICE” and “FINE”. She called it lazy words, as she scoffed down another do-nut. She kept her stash close at hand.
“There are far better words created by the founding fathers of the English language. If you use anyone of the two in an essay it means you are not thinking about what you write and I do not tolerate non-thinking students in this class.” As she wiped the crumbs and syrup from her chin with the back of her left hand. The other one was holding the half-eaten do-nut, obviously.
I tend to agree. Adjectives deserves more respect. Teachers too. Youth is wasted on twelve year-old’s.
As an adult those words have a very different effect on me. I still don’t like them. Especially when they are used by my two teenage kids…
When I do something stupid, and that happens more often than I would like to admit, my kids are ready with a “Nice one dad.” That could include a reaction to a range of mishaps like tripping over a step or saying something inappropriate. My kids are always there to point out these little incidents. They keep me grounded.
But is there anything more sarcastic on the planet? It’s times like these when I wonder what happened to concepts like respect for elders or honour thy parents. It also provides me with an understanding as to why some lions eat their young.
When we have an argument, and that doesn’t happen as often as you might expect. The horror stories of teenagers are not true, all urban legend. It’s not that my kids never turn into hormone invested freaks with no rational ability but it happens rarely. A trigger for the metamorphosis would be if I have to use the word “No.”
Then they go all teenager mode and we have a minor disagreement. I normally win because I’m the father. And persistent. I simply won’t back down. The Wife makes me believe that I’m the boss so I have the authority. In the end they simply give up, but not before they have a final jab in the heart with “OK fine” and the compulsory eye-roll.
It’s the one thing that makes every person or parent lose their shit instantaneously. You want to poke those beautiful eyes with a fork and shove them where the sun don’t shine. Even if it means they might hurt the kids for a little while.
But you don’t because you are an educated, mature adult who are firmly against any kind of violence. Yes, even towards your own teenagers. One would think that they have learned by now that the “eye-roll” reignites the fire of authority all over again. Maybe they’re just a bit slow. And you remind yourself that you actually love them.
Anyhow, I’m actually fine with it because it doesn’t happen that often. And that’s kind of nice.