Mastering Words

With five grandchildren to choose from, it’s not an easy decision to pick the absolute funniest thing that any one of them has said. I’ll just share the one my dad loved to hear me tell.

A bit of background info first – his favourite book was “Catcher in the Rye”, where there are delightfully expressive expletives on every page. He never swore himself, but he could appreciate the use of swear words to get a message across. A joke that made him laugh was the story of an old man who gathered his four sons around him to make a sorrowful confession.

“I’m sorry to tell you this boys, but your mother and I were never married.” Sons one through three express surprise, disbelief and dismay. Son number four, having nothing new to add says “Well, I don’t know about the rest of you bastards, but I’m tired and I’m going to bed.”

I took my granddaughter (then age 3) to a playground once where she was happily climbing on the wooden construction that had ladders and ropes and tunnels and stairs. An older boy (perhaps around 5) began to pop up in front of her to block her way, and jump from behind things to try to scare her. Since she didn’t seem to be too annoyed by him I didn’t intervene. But I guess he did it one too many times, because suddenly she turned around and stomped over to me, put her hands on her hips and exclaimed “That boy is being a little MASTER.” There was no mistaking the tone and the inflection and what she really meant to say.

The expression became one of my dad’s favourites, and thus a family joke. Whenever someone was being bothersome or irritating he would ask them to please stop being a little master.

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