Thursday, December 11, 2014

Language Barrier

Knowledge is power.

Unless you’re nine years old.

Then it becomes entertainment.


Our son marched into the living room and announced in a booming voice, “I’ve been going comprende since the 1970s.”

Uh, say what?

I chuckled and asked for clarification, “Did you just say ‘comprende’?”

“Yeah,” he said. “You know, comprende.” He stressed that final word while gesturing toward his pants. “That means I’m not wearing any underwear.”


He then filled us in that he’d been watching a family television comedy where the hipster grandpa told his un-hipster grandson that he hadn’t worn underwear since disco was all the rage.

“So you see,” our son pointed to his bottom half, “I’m going comprende too.”


It took just about every weapon in our parental arsenal not to lose it in laughter right then and there, possibly scarring our beautiful son for life.

My husband quickly turned his back and discovered something completely riveting outside the window.

Could have been a squirrel.

Could have been the cat chasing a squirrel.

Could have been the dog chasing the cat chasing a squirrel.

At this point, a naked Charlize Theron chasing a squirrel through the back yard wouldn’t have caught his eye.

I leaned over and snuck a peek - his eyes were closed, lips smashed together, tears running down his cheeks, shoulders shaking.


He’s a strong one.

I straightened back up, took a moment to compose myself and asked my son, “Don’t you mean commando?”

He cocked his head to the side and eloquently responded, “Eh?”

I smiled and said, “Comprende means ‘understand’ in Spanish. Commando is slang for no underwear.”

He cocked his head, shrugged his shoulders and said, “That’s good to know. I’d hate to get those mixed up in school.”



“Hey, Mom, I’d like the Rosetta Stone for Christmas,” he announced later in the week.

Yeah. So did Napoleon. And we saw how well that turned out for the Little Big Guy. He got to claim it for about five seconds before the British swooped in, knocked him to the ground and took his new toy away to England.

Since this is a kid whose list normally includes items like video games, soccer balls and NERF blasters, I was a little taken aback at this more highbrow request.

“The Rosetta Stone?” I asked. “Are you sure?” (Seriously, where does the kid come up with this stuff?)

He nodded an exuberant “YES.” (Seriously, he’s a weirdo.)

“Well, good luck with that,” I said. “The Egyptians have been trying for 200 years to pry that big rock out of Britain’s hands. I doubt we'd have any better luck.”

He looked at me quizzically. (Seriously, not the first time that’s happened.) “Uh, it can’t be that hard, Mom, I just saw it advertised on television.”


That’s a lot easier than mounting a full military campaign. Poor Napoleon. If he’d just waited until QVC was invented, life would have been a lot easier for him.

“Wait a minute,” I muttered. “I think we’re talking about two different Rosetta Stones.”

Turns out he was referring to the series of language learning tutorials and not the actual Rosetta Stone.

That makes a lot more sense.

The shipping and handling on the real Rosetta Stone would have been a nightmare anyway.

I laughed and said, “I guess we can put that on your list.” I smiled, recalling his earlier foray into the misuse of Spanish, and added, “I assume you’re wanting the Spanish video.”

He quickly shook his head and said, “Nope. German.”


Great. By the time he’s done he’ll have learned how to go commando in just about every language on the planet.

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