Growing up in the 80s, I loved Steve Martin – not just the comedian, but my first ever boyfriend was a darling young man at my junior high who had the same name.
He was sweet, athletic, popular and hilariously funny – he, of course, idolized the “wild and crazy guy” comedian and often performed memorized routines for the lunch table crowd. This led me to love funny boys, a man with a quick smile and quick and clever wordplay.
I had no concept of NOT growing up to marry that boy.
But alas, I did not. Sigh. However, Steve Martin, the actor from my all-time favorite movie, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and several now memorized LPs (those are what we called vinyl records, children) of his stand-up comedy is still an influence on what I find funny. If you don’t know what a vinyl record is, stop what you're doing and call a grandparent.
Anyway, one of Boyfriend Steve’s favorite routines of Comedian Steve was one in which Martin joked about teaching kids the wrong words for everyday actions. He joked that teaching a three-year-old to ask to go to the restroom by asking “mambo dogface to the banana patch” would be hilarious.
Funny stuff and a comedic lesson in communication, confusion and how to mess up your kid.
Often, I try to explain something using a reference I think is entirely clear, but I get blank looks and confusion in return. Usually, it’s because I am trying to be funny. This is a disaster when my ham-handed attempts at humor cause the person receiving the instruction to miss the mark. It causes more work for everyone.
I forget that not everyone has the same filters as I do, like knowing comedy albums from the late 70s or every lyric from Simon and Garfunkel – my vernacular is a litany of Girl Scout camp songs.
Maybe it’s a southern thing? Remember that the person you’re speaking to may not know that all soft drinks are “Cokes” (unless it’s a Dr. Pepper) and that sweet tea is a different animal from iced tea with sugar stirred in at the table.
I guess what I want to impart is that we all have our own speech, own frame of reference and vocabulary. We also have different ways of handling the world's state now that COVID-19 is a part of everything we do and don’t do. I’m working on listening more, talking less. I’m learning to speak more clearly and kinder. That’s a filter that everyone loves, and the more exercise it gets, the better it works.
I guess that's my mambo. Maybe that's my banana patch. Whichever, it’s probably just like that time I was wearing diamonds on the soles of my shoes and ducking back down an alley with a roll poly little bat faced girl. See what I mean? You probably have no clue what I’m trying to say, and I’m over here laughing my head off. Awkward.