[Please note that this piece contains multiple quotations of moronic bathroom humor, sadly, the height of wit among 9-year-old boys. If the word “poop” offends, I understand completely and feel your pain. Don’t bother to comment. Just stop reading.]
Earlier today, I drove my youngest son and a carload of boys from school to a soccer practice. As a former child yourself, you’ll probably recognize, and perhaps appreciate, the breadth and subject of their discourse:
“Wait. Shouldn’t that be poopful?”
(Burst of laughter.) “No, YOUR anus.”
(Gasps of delight.)
You get it, right? The boys were doing Mad-Libs, the old pad-of-paper game, which has a partial story printed on it, with blank spaces awaiting new nouns, adjectives or parts of the body. One person holds the pad and asks for the missing words, without revealing the story’s context. The listeners express their choices, the first person writes them all down, and then reads back the story, including the listeners’ suggestions; generally speaking, both bodily functions and the parts of the body most consistently covered with clothing are the guaranteed crowd-pleasers. And generally speaking, when trapped in the car for this game, I tend to block out such discussions as best I can.
Today, though, their words pierced my self-induced fog.
“Poop-tin. Vladimir Poop-tin! Put that.”
“No, no, don’t say Poop-tin. Just say Trump.”
“Yeah, yeah. Say Trump. Not Poop-tin. Put Trump.”
Gotta say, I was astonished. Not only were they injecting politics into the game, but also, they had a shared level of awareness of global players, and those players were in the forefront of their thoughts. In terms of both childhood and Mad-Libs, this was new news to me. So as their game continued, the boys had my full attention.
“Spicey. Like, put Sean Spicey.”
“But we haven’t used Mike Pence!”
“He’s not an adjective, dummy.”
“Okay. Use Spicey.”
Reader, I am neither paraphrasing nor fictionalizing.
I completely understand that children hear what their parents discuss, that some parents discuss age-appropriate politics with children, and that still other parents discuss what I would label age-inappropriate politics with children. Regardless, though, in my experience, those discussions rarely visibly impact said children.
But this time, these days, something’s different.
Drawing on some kind of stew made of what they have heard from parents, peers and media exposure, 9-year-old-boys are now using our president and those around him (yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, Poop-tin) as surrogates for feces and booger. In neither my two decades of parenting, nor in my own childhood, do I remember politics ever coming remotely near the Mad-Lib pad.
Is this a good sign, or a bad one?