One such situation occurred this past weekend when we were all over at my folks place for the regular Sunday family dinner.
Sis was explaining to Mom and myself that her 8 year old son (my nephew) Mikey seems to have picked up a lot of bad habits and phrases lately.
"He is being so odd and disrespectful, Mom" Sis whined. "Even today when I told him to hurry up and get into the car so we could come over here; Mikey replied 'Ok, OK I'm coming, don't get your knickers in a twist'. I mean it is just not like him to be this way. I don't know where he is getting this all from and these sayings are so odd for a little boy."
I burst out laughing at this phrase however a sharp look from my mother reminded me that perhaps this was not the best time for laughter, at least not 'laughter out loud'.
"He must be picking this stuff up off the schoolyard." Sis speculated. "That's the only place where he can get it from. But I can't imagine from what kid. I thought I knew all of his friends but none of them are like this."
Just then my Dad and Mikey entered the kitchen heading towards the backdoor. We all could over-hear their conversation as they were putting their shoes on at the back porch.
"Lets go down to the 'old China-mans' store Grandpa." Mikey announced. "We can buy our ice cream there!"
"Ok" Dad responded cautiously. "Just be sure to count the change they give you back carefully, you know 'them people' are very clever in the math department. They've tried to 'Jew me' a number of times in the past, but I can always catch 'em."
"Always remember, you have to watch 'them people' - they can be as crooked as a 'dogs hind-leg' if you don't keep a close eye on em."
"No probs, Grampa" Mikey responded, sounding extremely confident. "Them people will need to get up pretty early in the morning before they Jew me."
With that, they departed as we all heard the screen door bang close behind them.
"I think I have a pretty good idea where young Mikey is picking up those nasty phrases from." Mom advised. It's clearly not another boy from his school. Certainly not with those types of expressions. It's a bad influence all right, not from another child on the school grounds but rather one who is closer to seventy years in age, that being your father!"
Sis looked completely shocked at this revelation. A hesitant and worried look filled her over-sized face.
I on the other hand, found this to be completely hilarious! Couldn't make up this stuff any better if I wanted to. This was great. But the evil side of me really needed to make things a little worse for Sis! (strictly for my own entertainment, of course!)
"That must be it Mom" Sis responded. "Now you mention it, he does sound a great deal like Dad with some of things he has been saying."
"Hey Sis" I interrupted. "What's it like having a kid who talks like a seventy year old man."? HAHA!!!
Once again I got the icy stare from Mom realizing that I should be perhaps a little more understanding in this awkward situation. However, I could not help it. This was way too funny.
"I guess I will have to talk with Dad about all this." Sis sighed, looking around the table uncomfortably.
Again I just couldn't help myself and had to add my cutting sarcasm to the mix.
"Well that shouldn't cause any problems at all Sis." I advised. "You telling Dad he is a bad influence on your son and HIS grandson. All I ask is that you just please let me be in the same room when you tell him this. I want a front row seat for that one."
Sis looked first annoyed and then terrified as my wise words finally sank in through that incredibly thick skull of hers. She quickly looked over to Mom for help.
"He's right, Mom." Sis whined. "If I bring this up to Dad he will definitely freak out. He will not want to hear he is a bad influence. You know what he can be like."
Before Mom could respond I quickly interjected by playing the devils advocate.
"Well if you mean Dad being a loving father and grandfather" I began. "Then yes, I do know exactly what he can be like. Or perhaps you mean something different? Remember this conversation may be both recorded and/or repeated by me at a later time for my own personal enjoyment. HAHA!"
I really loved this cheap entertainment at my sister's expense. She now looked completely uncomfortable and a total mess, even much more so then usual. I think I actually saw a tear however I could not be sure. I needed to continue my attack.
"Ya' know" I advised slowly. "This is kinda like that movie Freaky Friday where the Mom and the kid change places. I think it would have been much better if they would make this into a movie. A young kid taking on his elderly grandfathers angry and racist demeanour and sayings. Box Office gold, I say!! HAHA!! Where's Steven Spielberg when you need him! HAHA!"
Mom finally spoke up and responded "You let me take care of your father and you can have words with Mikey. I think that is the best approach to this little situation, nothing to worry about."
"And as for you" Mom turned in her chair and looked directly at me. "I don't want you making any more trouble out of this. You can see your poor sister is upset."
"Thanks Mom, I knew you could help!" Sis responded and then looking over at me made a nasty face and then stuck out her tongue. How bloody juvenile for a grown woman with 2 children.
"Just stop worrying dear" Mom replied. "Your father doesn't mean any harm, he only needs to be more careful in choosing his words around Mikey. He is at an impressionable age right now and picks up everything he sees & hears. I am sure everything will be fine."
Once again my entertainment was ruined. I kind of liked hearing all these phrases coming from both Dad and Mikey. It was amusing, well at least for me.
Oh well, Spielberg will just have to wait.