Friday, February 11, 2011
Hookers, Gaffes, and a Ball Joke
I love a good slip of the tongue.
Hold on pervies. This isn’t some x-rated post for Valentine’s Day. What I mean is I love the simple misunderstandings of language. The funny gaffes we make as we string words together in simple conversation.
One of the memorable things about the TV show “Three’s Company” was when one of the roommates overheard a conversation from another room and took what was said at face value.
My husband and I laugh until we ache when one of our kids say something unexpectedly. A year ago, my daughter decided to change the shape of her cheap-o wire shelves. She tore them down and started from scratch, joining the seams with a white plastic clip. She had nearly finished her project, but was missing one crucial piece. If she let go of the last joint, the shelf would collapse, so she yelled for help. “I need a hooker! I need a hooker!”
After I clarified what she had said, I left her without a hooker and ran straight for her father. He misunderstood my tears of laughter and hurried to investigate.
“What’s wrong?” he asked her.
“I need a hooker.” My daughter stomped her foot to the ground.
“A hooker?” His lips curled and soon we both collapsed onto the floor, laughing.
“What’s so funny about hookers?” Frustrated tears filled my daughter’s eyes.
What isn’t funny about hookers? Who wouldn’t laugh at that?
Our hooker fun didn’t end there. During Christmastime, my daughter was outside helping my husband hang the lights. She ran into the house shouting. “Dad needs you to go to Wal-Mart to get some more hookers.”
I knew the economy was bad, but . . . I wonder if Wally’s price matches their hookers. Double coupon?
(In case you don’t get it, there’s a little clip thingy people use to hang Christmas lights or as my daughter called “a hooker.”)
Yep, we love us a good hooker joke. But we’re also partial to a good nut, ball, or Woody joke (thank you, Toy Story). Perhaps we love these innocent slips because we are a PG family. We’re careful what our children watch and what we say, so when something comes up we can’t help but laugh.
The funniest part is my kids’ response. They have absolutely no idea why we’re so amused. They stare at us with dulled expressions or simply continue playing.
After hearing a real-life blunder from a friend of mine, I couldn’t help add it in my first novel, Reply Hazy, Try Again about a woman who reluctantly returns to her high school reunion in attempts to reclaim her life after the death of her husband.
With a bit too much eagerness on her face, Paige snagged Avery to fill out the questionnaire.
“Thanks for the soda,” Avery yelled to John before Paige whisked her away.
Jessica and her crony, Tiffany, stopped them before they reached the table.
“Hello, Avery,” Jessica said. “How’ve you been?”
Avery looked to Paige for reassurance and then back to Jessica. “I’m great. Thanks for asking.”
“Sorry to hear about Kevin.”
“Thanks, Jessica. That’s so kind of you.” Avery’s cinched her fists.
“This is a lot of fun isn’t it?” Tiffany piped up. “My husband is having the best time.”
Jessica cast Tiffany an evil stare, causing Avery to question Jessica’s motives for the impromptu chitchat.
“Isn’t that your husband over there, with the cane?” Paige asked.
“Yes, he’s recovering from surgery. This has been exactly what he needed.”
“Surgery? What kind of surgery?” Avery asked out of sheer politeness.
“Oh, he had a hip replacement,” Tiffany said.
“Isn’t he a little young to have his hip replaced?” Avery took a large drink of Diet Coke.
Tiffany shrugged. “He was born without any balls.”
Avery’s large mouthful of cola sprayed Jessica like a sitcom style spit take. She stood fuming as beads of soda dripped down her face and onto her yellow chiffon dress. Avery coughed uncontrollably watching Jessica stomp off toward the restroom.
Paige’s mouth hung to the floor as she patted Avery on the back. “Did you say he was born without . . . balls?”
“Yes. Oh, Nooo. I meant ball joints,” Tiffany said. Her hand covered her mouth, while her face turned crimson. “Ball joints,” she said once more before rushing after Jessica.
Avery rotated between coughing and laughing hysterically. Paige clutched her around the waist so she wouldn’t fall over and nodded at curious bystanders as they passed.
“Oh, wow.” Avery wiped the tears from her eyes and took in a satisfactory breath. “That was the best laugh I’ve had in a long time.”
Do you have any favorite gaffes or slip-ups in language?