Words are important in our family. For instance, the other night Luca informed Diana that the name of his new rock band is “Luca and the Hot Farts.” Upon hearing this, I gave him $100.
But sometimes words hold valuable lessons. Horrible, valuable lessons.
It was a brisk Friday and I indulged the boys in a trip to Chipotle. I like taking them to Chipotle because I get to take them to the neighboring frozen custard shop for dessert. I also get to talk to them about E. Coli.
After mushing up his famous burrito bowl recipe (white rice, beans, lettuce, sour cream), Elijah asked, “Dad, what’s a Retard?”
I immediately went into Evanston Dad Mode. “Buddy. That…WORD…is not cool. It’s not a word we ever use. Some people use it to talk about people who are disabled. I mean, differently abled. We never, ever say it. It’s almost as bad as the N-word.”
Uh oh. What did I do?
“Wait. What is the N-word?”
“Nothing. Nothing at all. Forget I said anything. Say, do I detect a little E. Coli in this sour cream?”
Then Luca said, “Is it (a guess that was wayyyy too close to the actual word)?”
“Stop talking,” I said very loudly. This got the attention of a nice group of young men at a nearby table. A group of young men who would be particularly offended by the use of the N-Word.
Luca then made another guess at the word, he almost hit the bullseye.
I leaned over to him and did my best angry dad whisper. “If you continue guessing, I will take away your screens for a month. And…and…and…no frozen custard!”
That quieted him.
Eli didn’t even look up. “So we can’t say Retard either?”