Those of you who hang out here may know that I’m kind of a bookish nerd and I love to read, write, and play with words. My love of words goes way, way back.
<que retro dream sequence music>
Back to the summer of 1976. Our country’s bicentennial. Back when a girl could learn something awesome on Sesame Street and hang out in a polyester bubble suit. I was right around 2 years old.
We were living in rural Tennessee, and en route to night church. My Grandaddy’s Buick was travelling over the rolling Tennessee hills with Mama and I in the back seat, and my Grandmama, who was holding my baby brother. My Mom, Sally, was expecting my baby sister in the fall.
Me when I was 2
Now, if you’re a numbers person, that’s 3 kids in 2.5 years. My Grandmama was a numbers person.
Grandaddy and Dad were in the front seat chatting as they drove along. Mom and Grandmommy were talking about having a boy, and *ahem* various names for boy parts. I wasn’t paying much attention, but I did hear my Grandmama say, “When Kenny was little, I called it a Tallywhacker.”
My precocious little ears perked up. That was a funny word. My little brain had no frame of reference for boy parts as far as use goes, but I was good at rhyming. So I piped up very seriously right at a hushed moment in the Buick.
Everyone heard my serious little voice enthusiastically announce, “Now it’s a Sally-whacker!”
I blame Sesame Street.
I was proud of my rhyme right up to the point when it landed. Shockingly, the car *erupted* in laughter. Screams of laughter. My Grandaddy had to pull over to the side of the road. The Buick rocked with pained gasps for air, and tears were squeezing out of my Grandmama’s eyes. I was a little shocked at the reaction to my good rhyme.
So that’s the day that my love of words met my love of laughter…but it wasn’t until years later that I figured out my own joke. I may have been precocious, but I wasn’t *that* precocious.