Skip to main content

Rebel Without a Tongue

Rebel Without a Tongue
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

Kids' brains work in amazing ways. At times, they can grasp complex concepts and make impressive discoveries. Other times, you have to wonder how we ever survived as a species.

My kids have come up with lame excuses for some of their behaviors, which makes me question their intelligence. Or wonder if they question mine.

Recently we were at a restaurant when my five-year-old son started acting up, My wife scolded him, and he responded with something he had never done before: he stuck his tongue out.

We teach our kids to be respectful of others, so this was a big no-no. So when she got on his case about it, I could see the little wheels spinning in his mind, and he latched on to the first excuse he could think of.

"I was thinking about my hamburger, so I licked my lips because I was looking forward to it."

I turned away so he wouldn't see me laugh. I wanted to say, "Kid, if that excuse was any more lame, it would ride on Bob Cratchit's shoulders and say 'God bless us everyone.'"

When we pointed out the feebleness of his excuse, he knew he had been busted. But that didn't stop the problem. As my wife continued her lecture, my son put his chin in his hand, cupped it in front of his mouth so she couldn't see, and stuck his tongue out again. So I had to get involved.

It was funny to see my son trying to be sneakily defiant, launching his very own secret revolt. As if I couldn't see a little kid three feet away, sticking his tongue out from behind his hand.

I could almost read his thoughts: "I'll only stick it out a little bit. Mommy won't see, but I'll know I'm doing it, so I'll win."

You just can't keep a stuck-out tongue a secret. No matter how hard you try, you can't stick it out a little bit. There is no "little bit" when it comes to your tongue. It shows. It sticks out like a little pink neon light that says, "you're not the boss of me." And there's always a mom or dad who says, "wanna bet?"

Every child goes through a minor rebellious phase. I know I did. One day, my mom was scolding me for something, so I thought, "I'll show her. I'll stick my tongue out a little, and then I'll win."

I stopped doing it because it caused a sharp pain on my rear end, roughly the size and shape of her hand. After that, I never stuck my tongue out at my mom. Once I tried sticking it between my teeth, but not actually out. Turns out, that causes a sharp pain on the rear end too.

But I also knew that when I was in my room, "thinking about what I did," she couldn't see a thing. That's when I stuck my tongue so far out, Gene Simmons would have gasped in amazement.

I was also the king of lame excuses when I was a kid.

Back in the day when teachers still spanked kids, I was often on the receiving end of a yardstick whack from my first grade teacher, Mrs. Jefferson.

Each afternoon, we would march down to the cafeteria, wait in line, and get our lunch. After lunch, we went back to the classroom to hear the recital of the litany of our sins that resulted in someone getting a whack out in the hallway at least once a week.

One day, I decided to antagonize one of my classmates in the lunch line, and started blowing on his face. When we got back to class, one of the other kids ratted me out.

"Mrs. Jefferson, Erik kept blowing on Kent in the lunch line." said the little ratfink.

"Erik, why were you blowing on Kent?" Mrs. Jefferson asked me. My mind raced for a suitable answer. One that would save me from a whacking.

"Uhh, it was cold in the cafeteria, so I was trying to keep him warm?"


While that didn't necessarily stop my youthful shenanigans, I did learn not to come up with such stupid excuses. That's not to say I didn't become a first class BS artist as I got older. I just got better.

If my son is smart, he'll learn that you can't out-BS an old pro like me, or that overt displays of rebellion are going to get you into trouble quicker than you can say "you can't make me."

I just hope he figures this out before he learns what his middle finger is for.

Like this column? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.


Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide


Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…