Last night I was getting the kids ready for bed when my eldest son drops this little bomb on me. I’m not sure my eyebrows have yet returned to their original spot.
“There was a penis joke in your math book?” I query, looking aghast at my current third grader.
“Yeah, you know the Penis?”
Ah yes, I am familiar with that particular subject. But by now, I felt like some additional information was needed. When I happened to glance at my five year old daughter sitting there on the closed commode, her toothbrush dangling from her bubbling gums, I could see that either we both were completely missing the boat, or I truly missed out by being too old for the introduction of “new math” into the second grade curriculum.
“There was a joke about the penis in your math book?”
“Yeah, you know, Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy….The Peanuts.”
As the cloud of suspicion against textbook producers lifted, I had to laugh. Both my daughter and I distinctly heard “penis” when my son was sure he was saying “Peanuts.” Now, some of the communication breakdown could have come from the speaking while brushing one’s teeth phenomenon. Or, it could be that my son really did say “penis” in some wacky Freudian slip. Either way, it was a good way to end my parenting evening: trying to figure out just what mathematical formula could be applicable to second graders and the male reproductive organ.
If a train is speeding towards city A at 35 miles an hour, and there is a penis in city B, how quickly will the train reach city C?
Yeah, those math problems made about that much sense to me as well.
But as a human, living with other humans, it is amazing just how often we misunderstand someone. That is what makes the Telephone game so much fun. But is also the catalyst for some serious angst.
Thank goodness I got my son to talk to me long enough so that I didn’t need to have my own telephone game with the superintendent.
Of course, just now my son was reading over my shoulder (“I’m not reading over your shoulder. I’m just looking at it.”) and informed me that the joke wasn’t in his math book. The joke was in his reading book. (As if a penis joke in a second grade reading book is A-OK, but not so kosher in a math book. Anyhoo.)
But I like the story the first way I heard it and would love to share it with you: “So there was this penis joke in my math book. It shows Sally telling the teacher that there’s this leak in the roof. Then Linus thanks Sally for telling the teacher and says he didn’t want to be a tattletale. And then you see this huge gush of water pouring down on Linus.”
And last night all I could think was, “What the heck does this have to do with math? And this is a really stupid joke.”
You can see why living with my son is not without some challenges. Thank goodness I like a good penis joke.