Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Crisp diction

Originally uploaded by pwilnyc.

I've got the audiobook of Heat, by Bill Buford, right? I listen to audio books in the car, because we no longer have a stereo thingie in the house. Much of the time, when I am driving, I have the kids in the car with me.

Which means, ok, that sometimes my kids are listening to age-inappropriate material. I mean, I'm not listening to The Diary of Anais Nin or anything, mostly it's like City of Falling Angels (disappointing and boring) or young adult books, like Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman (excellent and funny).

So right now it's Heat. I hadn't expected the content to be a problem for the kids to overhear - it's about cooking, right? But I was wrong.

We're tooling along the highway, the kids are jabbering happily to each other. In the book, Buford is describing Joe Bastianich commenting unfavorably on a restaurant in a village at the base of the Apennines. All of a sudden the Big Man says, "Stop the tape!"

I stop the tape, and Big Man says, "That man on the radio just said 'Joe'!" (They have an Uncle Joe and aren't aware yet that it's a fairly common name.)

I say, "Well isn't that something!"

"Yes! chirps Mr. Three, "And also he said 'fuckers'!"

Wuh-oh, red alert - don't laugh, figure out how to nip this in the bud, we are on our way to mom's and really the last thing I need is them whipping out their favorite new word in front of Grandfather. He would pee himself laughing and I'd never hear the end of it.

Big Man repeats, "...FUCKersss..." really savoring the word. "That's a GOOD word!"

"No it's not," I say. "It's really not a word at all." Lie Number 3,590. When they learn to read they are gonna be pissed.

I pop the tape back in hoping to distract them and hoping Joe Bastianich watches his fucking language for ten more minutes.

The narrator intones, "This story continues on Cassette Two."

"Cassette Two..." both boys repeat, tasting the consonants... "Ca-ssette Two!"