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3 Jun

So long, and thanks for all the fish

Back in Toronto, and, to demonstrate that WonderBaby’s Royal Western Tour was not entirely a morose perambulation through the forests of despair, herewith a story. A story with a moral or two, and some cursing. Not for General audiences; Rated P for Parents Only.

The final leg of WonderBaby’s Royal Western Tour brought us to Tsawassen, BC, just south of Vancouver, to visit a dear, dear family that are as close as family as friends can get without actually being related by blood (a family that consists of one Super Awesome Mom and four of the sweetest gentlemen – one big and three small – that one could ever hope to meet, let alone claim a bond of near-familial friendship with.)

It was one of the smaller of these gentlemen, a unusually keen 7 year-old (let’s call him Clever Little Awesome Man), who, during the ride home from baseball practice last week, raised with his mother (the aforementioned Super Awesome Mom) a topic that some of us expect to have to address one day with our own children:

CLAM: Mommy, why do you always call us ‘dude’?

(OMG blog fodder. HBM’s inner pad and pencil are readied for action.)

CLAM: Because, Mommy, it’s a bad word.

SAM: A bad word?

CLAM: Yes.

SAM: It’s not a bad word. Why do you think that it’s a bad word?

CLAM: Because it is a bad word.

SAM: Who told you that it was a bad word?

CLAM: Nobody.

SAM: Who told you?

CLAM: Nobody.

SAM: Who?

CLAM: Nolan.

SAM: (Raised eyebrow.)

CLAM: Nolan said it was a bad word.

SAM: What did he say it means?

CLAM: Nothing. (Precocious little-boy giggle)

SAM: What did he say that it means?

CLAM: Nothing. (Louder giggle.)

SAM: Can you come over here and whisper it to me?

CLAM: (In mother’s ear) mumble mumble giggle mumble giggle.

SAM: I can’t understand you, sweetie.

CLAM: mumble mumble mumble giggle.

SAM: I still can’t understand you.

CLAM: (Loudly and clearly) DOLPHIN WEINER.

(Super Awesome Mom and HBM goggle at each other)


SAM: (Straight-faced) I think that Nolan gave you some bad information.

At which point HBM cannot contain herself any longer: I am totally blogging about this, OK? I am totally blogging about this.

And then, a quiet voice from the back seat: What’s blogging?

Because CLAM’s SAM has such tremendous respect for her child’s information-gathering capabilities and for the savvy of his friends – Nolan, apparently, is a junior zoology buff – she decided that before we completely undermined Nolan’s authority on all things dude and dolphin, we should check our sources and confirm our own information (that is, that dude does not, in fact, mean dolphin weiner. Because you never know.)

So, once home, down we sit with our respective laptops, babies on floor, older boys – CLAM and his younger brother, Clever Little Awesome Climber Kid (usually to be found on a fence or in a tree) – retired to the backyard, and Google pages open in front of us. Laughing our fucking asses off. (That moratorium on cursing? Over. ‘Cuz, um, HA.) Dolphin wiener!!! DOOOOOD! Do you think that dude really means that? I don’t know, dude. Dolphin wiener is pretty weird, dude.

(I won’t go into the Google Search Result details. Let’s just say that when you google ‘dolphin genitalia’ you become one of those crazy google pervs that turn up on sitemeter. Beyond that, you don’t want to know.)

Things then took a dramatic turn for the surreal when, just as two thirty-something mommies are shrieking DOOOOOD! at each other in reaction to the decidely non-zoological page that opened up after they clicked on a dolphin-penis link that they should not have clicked, two small boys came running into the room, anxious to know what are you doing Mommy? MOMMY?!?

And when the older baby (WonderBaby’s Big Cool Boy Friend, baby brother to CLAM and CLACK) started squealing, just at that moment, his first words:

Doood! dood. dood. dood. dood. DOOD!

And when, as laptops slammed shut, the boys demanded to know the following: are you blogging?

(dood dood dood dood DOOD!)

And: what’s blogging?

(dood dood dood)

(Frantic mothers trying to shove dolphin-porn transmission devices out of sight.)

(dood dood dood)

Something bad?

Something bad indeed. Something that respectable mothers probably shouldn’t be doing. Telling tales about street slang and the sex lives of sea mammals. Exploiting the charming moments of childhood for a laugh. Poking fun at some kid named Nolan.

Having a wicked good time.


For the record, if you Google ‘dude’, you get links to pages discussing the high points of Ashton Kutcher’s career, and to pages devoted to Jeff Bridges and/or the Coen Brothers. And to some scholarly discussion of ‘dude’ as a figure of speech that signifies ‘cool solidarity,’ a socio-culturally significant stance that facilitates the navigation of young men through ‘Cultural Discourses of young masculinity, which simultaneously demand masculine solidarity, strict heterosexuality, and non-conformity.’
You will also find this claim: “Vanity Smurf is a dude.” (Which is, I think, contradicted by the scholarly claim, cited above, that ‘dude’ is a signifier of strict heterosexuality. But given that Wikipedia asserts that ‘dude’ once referred to a dandy, I think that we are on safe etymological ground here.)
And, you will find this assertion: “Fake etymology of the word suggests that this slang term originally came from a term that meant a camel’s penis. The origin of this myth is unknown.”
Camel. Not a dolphin, but still. Both mammals. Both in possession of genitalia.
The lesson here: never underestimate 7 year-old zoologists. (Also, never Google dolphin genitalia. Or camel penis. But I digress.)
Nolan, my hat is off to you. Your zoological expertise may be a touch imprecise and perhaps more indebted to urban mythology than to science, but it is nonetheless impressive. That, or you are more pop-culturally savvy than a thirty-something Humanities lecturer.
Either way: DUDE.
And with that, we resume blogging per usual. I’m now off to visit everybody, having not been able to do my rounds while on tour. (And to update Love-in/Group Hug links – which are still coming in!)
I’ve missed you all!
We’ve both missed you.