Friday, April 19, 2013

Choices, Choices

You drag your kids clear across the world. You eagerly anticipate conversations about architecture, culture, language, food and somehow you find yourself engaged in a neverending conversation about a t-shirt.

Of course, it wasn't just any old t-shirt that inspired this kind of passion in my children. It was, in fact, a uniquely foul t-shirt.

"Mom," my daughter whispered while we were waiting to board the boat to "James Bond" Island. "Did you see that woman's shirt?"

The shirt in question was all black with the word 'FUCK' emblazoned across it in white. Underneath, in smaller print were the words 'Off', 'You', and 'Me' with a little box in front of each one. Below that bit of verbal fun the t-shirt read 'Choices Choices'.

"What does it mean?" she asked. Her eyes were alight with a fire that our visit to the Emerald Buddha had failed to ignite.

"I think it points out how that particular word can be used in a variety of contexts," I said and turned to rescue my son from the various elderly Thai women who were petting him like a dog and pinching his cheeks.

She followed up with more questions. "If you checked the 'Me' box what would that mean?"

"Hmm, I suppose it would be like asking someone to have sex. Or in some contexts I've heard it used to mean 'oops'."

The word sex was all it took to get Child #2's attention. "What? Where? What are you guys talking about??"

It was just the beginning.

We talked about that t-shirt at lunchtime and while we dug a giant hole in the sand on the beach. We talked about it the next morning at breakfast and on and off the whole way to Cambodia.

We talked about what it might mean if you selected the 'Off' or 'You' boxes. We discussed how the F-bomb plays multiple grammatical roles and how some people have limited vocabularies.

Child #1 posited that since the girl wearing the shirt was Russian, it was possible she had no idea what the words meant. We Googled pictures of the Russian alphabet to confirm it is, in fact, different than ours. We discussed the worldwide ubiquity of certain words in the English language.

It became a catchphrase of sorts; an off-color, inside joke and my children took delicious pleasure about being in the know.

At night, in restaurants, when we were confronted with long and confusing menus filled with unfamiliar foods, the kids would meet my eyes and say "Choices Choices!"

And of course, we'd all collapse in giggles, which, as it turns out, was every bit as enchanting as all the erudite conversation I'd been eagerly anticipating.


Shell Flower said...

Oh, I knew you would have some funny stories to tell. Hahahaha. I can just see you trying to put a spin on that t-shirt for hours. It's nice to have inside jokes, even if they stem from obscenities, right? Those pictures are amazing, too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You handled that well!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm sure that's the first thing they will tell all their friends at school, too.

Barbara Watson said...

There's so much to discuss, isn't there? :-) And so many ways we can have meaningful conversations.

ilima said...

You're such a good mom.

Gail said...

You did handle that very well.

Now that it's not the forbidden fruit maybe it will not be used...Choices, choices.

Johanna Garth said...

Shell, inside jokes are the best.

Thanks Alex :)

Diane, maybe...there are lots of crazy things to talk about. much!

Ilima, some days better than others!

Thanks Gail, let's hope they choose another word!

PK HREZO said...

Ended up being an excellent topic of discussion and now they know from you and not other people's sordid views.

I tried leaving a comment the other day and blogger wouldnt let me. but I bet you had the best time!! I'll be looking forward to more pics!

Gwen Gardner said...

LOL, at least they know they can ask you anything!

Julie Flanders said...

Haha, great story. What an amazing experience you all must have had! Looking forward to more stories about the trip. :)

Teresa Cypher said...

Great story, Johanna. Isn't it amazing, the things that can spark an opportunity for learning?

I loved this: "Her eyes were alight with a fire that our visit to the Emerald Buddha had failed to ignite." lolol...yeppers. Another fine adventure in parenting.

It sounds like you guys had a blast!

Welcome home :-)

Carol Kilgore said...

I love when things turn out better than I could have imagined. Like with this. When your kids are deciding where to go on their honeymoons, someone will mention this trip. And one of the kids will say 'choices, choices'. Priceless :)

Welcome back!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lolol! At least you were a good parent who answered questions and discussed it. I think that was excellent. My parents were always that sort.

Choices, Choices--life is full of them. :-)

Botanist said...

Aah! Choices! That word will never be the same again :)

Jan Morrison said...

Oh this is a delightful story - and I'm more than sure that the Emerald Buddha would be delighted at the rich conversation that ensued!

Diana Wilder said...


That says it all. Dalightful! And I wonder...are you related to my parents? That's how they would have handled it, too - chucklikng as they did so!

Nicki Elson said...

Oh my gosh, hilarious. Kids are the greatest. And I can see why all those elderly women wanted to pinch his cheeks!

Oh, and P.S. I tagged in an award thingy at my blog. No pressure to follow up on it, though I'm sure your answers would be great!