Tuesday, February 16, 2016


While driving Elijah and cousin Finn to our weekly dinner at The Firehouse restaurant and knickknack emporium, our favorite subject of swear words came up.

They were pretty sure they had heard everything the swear world had to offer. I begged to differ.

“You guys haven’t heard the worst swear word ever. A word so bad, you can legally punch me in the face for saying it.”

This got their attention. They begged me to say it. I made them promise not to punch me in the face. Plus I made them promise to never, ever say it out loud because they can get arrested.

They crossed their hearts.


I have no idea where the word came from. Naneenono just entered my brain like a bolt of lightening. It just felt like a swear.

Of course, the boys didn’t believe it was a real swear and they shouted it over and over. I begged them to stop, because I didn’t want to get arrested or punched in the face. When we passed an Evanston police car, I nearly burst into tears.

Once we got to the restaurant, we joined Luca, Rory and my brother. All of who got a quick introduction to this, the worst word in the world.

Naneenono Naneenono Naneenono!

I asked Finn to draw what he thought Naneenono was. He crayoned a giant purple squid that knocked over skyscrapers. I said his drawing was close, but a Naneenono is actually a giant squid’s rectum.

Luca began to shout, “I said the ‘N-word!’” in the crowded restaurant. I figured it was time to put the game to rest. Or escalate the game to its inevitable conclusion.

After a clandestine meeting with the bartender, he came over to our table and gave the performance of a lifetime.

“Guys. Some of the tables have been complaining. Have you been saying the worst word in the world?”

The kids’ faces turned white.

“They said you’ve been saying (looks over his shoulder) ‘Naneenono.’ Guys. I don’t want to have to throw you out of my bar.”

He walked away, solidifying Naneenono’s place in my heart forever.

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