I think in fourty years or so, I'm going to make a terrific curmudgeon.
Actually, if you can keep a secret, I'm already practicing for it. My kids dread it when I have my little curmudgeonly moments, but I literally cannot help myself. And truth be told, the moments kind of amuse me, even if they appear absolutely horrifying to others.
The other day we were at Borders, and Ashes asked whether she could borrow a few bucks extra for a book she was purchasing. I only had a twenty, but that's okay, because I needed the change.
However, I noticed that the cashier was going for a ten. "Can I please have at least one five?" I asked. "I need it for lunch money tomorrow."
"Sorry, I'm not allowed to make change," she replied, looking down at her register.
"You're not making change," I replied. "You're paying me back for the book we just bought from you. I'm simply asking you to give me a five with what you're giving back to me."
"That's making change," she replied. "And it clearly says in the rulebooks that we cannot make change, because, like, they don't trust us enough to do so, because, like, they're afraid that we'll give away money or something."
"You're arguing semantics," I replied, sternly. "Giving me change would be if I came up and asked you to give me four fives for a twenty. Giving me back the money you owe because I just bought a book is not making change."
"What's arguing semantics?" Ashes asked, as soon as we were in the car...me, without a single five.
"It means she's full of shit," I replied. "She just didn't want to give me any of the fives in her drawer, so she made up some dumb excuse."
"That's awful!" said Theo, appalled. "You told that girl she was full of...crap!"
"No, I said she was arguing semantics," I replied. "That was a nice way of saying she was full of crap."
"But she's going to look it up in the dictionary when she gets home and find out you thought she was full of crap," he said. "And next time we go to Borders, she's going to be mean to us."
"One more place we can't ever go again," muttered Ashes, rolling her eyes.
"Oh please," I said. "She won't remember us next time we can go in. I can promise you that."
Ashes and Theo just looked at each other and shook their heads.
Or take church, for example. These past two weeks, our pastor has been promoting a rummage sale that's taking place. At the end of each mention, she'd conclude by saying, "So why don't you drop on by and pick up some rummage? It's for a good cause!"
I'd sit there in the pew, biting my lip.
As we walk out of the church each week, the pastor always makes it a point to say good-bye to everyone. It's kind of like a wedding procession, and one of my favorite parts of the service. As we were walking out of church yesterday and came up to her, I couldn't help myself. With a curmudgeonly twinkle in my eye, I said, as I was giving her a hug,
"How could you say rummage?"
"What do you mean?" she asked, somewhat taken aback.
"Rummage is not a noun. You rummage through things. That's a verb. You don't pick up rummage. It's impossible."
"But you say rummage sale," she replied.
"Yes, but that's an adjective," I said. "It's like saying you're going to pick up some blue."
The pastor thought about that a bit. "Hmmm. But you know what? I'm still going to call it rummage."
"I know you will!" I laughed, and we parted, with Corb walking behind me, shaking his head, just as the kids had.
"I can't believe you just said that," was all he had to say, in the parking lot.
I tell you, it's going to all be way more adorable, once I'm toothless and full of wrinkles. Once I get to that point, they're going to love every minute of it.