So long, and thanks for all the fish

June 3, 2006

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.
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    Granny June 3, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Just when I think I’ve heard everything.

    Where do they learn all this? I certainly didn’t know it.

    motherhooduncensored June 3, 2006 at 9:41 pm

    Hey DUDE~ Or should I say Dolphin Weiner? So glad you’re home safe and sound.

    We missed you both too!

    Awesome Mom June 3, 2006 at 9:54 pm

    I had heard somewhere that dork was actually the term that you were looking for. Hmm do I dare go online and try and back that up? I am not sure.

    nonlineargirl June 3, 2006 at 11:35 pm

    Because I am a big nerd, I looked it up in the OED. I’d heard somewhere that dork meant whale penis, but apparently the OED disagrees, mostly. They had only 2 definitions, one of which was slang for penis. (no animals are specified)

    sherry June 4, 2006 at 12:08 am

    We missed you too!!!!!

    lildb June 4, 2006 at 12:24 am

    I’m (if possible) an even bigger fan of the word “dude” than before, based on your post.

    p.s. how cute are YOU? fun picture. you and the babe look great against that knockout setting.

    welcome back. :)

    Mother Bumper June 4, 2006 at 6:50 am

    Omigod – I referred to myself as a dork in my latest post and I say dude a minimum of 100 times a day. Who knew I was bantering around such dirty, dirty words (giggle).

    Glad you and WonderBaby are back. My vocab has been suffering.

    Jezer June 4, 2006 at 9:58 am

    Duuuuude! You’re back! I’ve missed you so.

    Gorgeous photo at the end, by the way.

    chelle June 4, 2006 at 10:18 am

    hehe I call everyone dude!! oops!

    Missed you! Glad your trip went well!

    Dawn June 4, 2006 at 11:51 am

    I will now and forever think of dolphin penis when I hear “dude”.

    Thank you , HBM.

    bubandpie June 4, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    Children are sleeping so I must. not. laugh. out. loud. But when the boys caught you hiding the dolphin porn and demanded, “Are you blogging” it took both hands to keep the scream of laughter from getting out. And then the camel pic! Note to self: do not read HBM while children are sleeping.

    Welcome back!

    soleclaw June 4, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Dude! Hilarious! (And I love the title!) Welcome back!

    Mrs. Chicky June 4, 2006 at 3:11 pm

    Dude, glad to have you back.

    I’d love to add more to the dolphin weiner discussion but I must go Google “dolphin genitalia”. Got to have my aquatic animal porn fix.

    But before I go I must say that I don’t know what those kids (in a previous post – cousins?) were talking about. You don’t look like Velma at all.

    bunmaster June 4, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    Trying to come up with Dolphin wiener hot dog joke but it’s just not working. Oh well. Glad you are back.

    Oh & speaking of penii(?) there’s a museum I went to in Iceland full of specimens. Perhaps we can send Nolan there. here you go and some more (remember to right click if you don’t want the link to take over the comment box)

    Annie, The Evil Queen June 4, 2006 at 4:03 pm

    Dude. That’s hysterical.

    Karen June 4, 2006 at 5:05 pm

    HBM, I love Douglas Adams.

    Christina June 4, 2006 at 7:05 pm

    Welcome back!

    And dude, that was hilarious.

    kittenpie June 4, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    That is hilarious. How could the boys not giggle? How could you not laugh your asses off? And most of all, how could you honestly not blog THAT?!

    mama_tulip June 4, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    LOL. Such fabulous blog fodder, dude.

    jennster June 4, 2006 at 10:36 pm

    LOL! dolphin weiner?!?!!! omg.. who knew i’ve been calling people dolphin weiner’s all over the place! lol

    Undercover Angel June 5, 2006 at 12:19 am

    LOL! That is probably the funniest post I’ve ever read on a blog. I call everybody dude. I’ll be more careful about that in the future…

    Mommy off the Record June 5, 2006 at 12:30 am

    Your site hits are TOTALLY going up now! Do you know how many people probably google “dolphin weiner” every day? Now they will find your site. Awesome, dude!

    Anyway, welcome back! Love that picture of you and the little dudess. :)

    Gina June 5, 2006 at 1:34 am

    Just passin’ thru. Absolutely hilarious post! Thanks for taking the time to write it down for all of us to read… the kids will be happy you did later too.

    lynsalyns June 5, 2006 at 7:46 am

    My sister calls me dude all the time. Hmmmm.

    This was such a good way to start my morning – a giggle before coffee is a rare thing, indeed.

    Glad you are back to the keyboard!

    Pattie June 5, 2006 at 8:53 am

    Well, we truly do learn something new every day, don’t we? When the next person says this to me, I am going to have trouble keeping a straight face *snicker*

    Cute pic, BTW

    J's Mommy June 5, 2006 at 10:40 am

    welcome back and that story is hilarious!

    mothergoosemouse June 5, 2006 at 12:54 pm

    Dude, love the picture.

    My father used to cringe when I would use the term “dork”, as he considered it to be slang for “penis”. When I told him that colloquially it was synonymous with “nerd” or “geek”, he throttled back.

    Speaking of my father, I will forward the link to the scholarly discussion of the word “dude”, which was generated by the university from which he earned his MS in Engineering (and where I flunked out of the undergrad Engineering program). I’m sure he will be just as proud as I am to have attended such a fine, serious-minded institution of higher learning.

    Andrea June 5, 2006 at 3:15 pm

    Dude, my father once told me (recently, too) that the word “dork” is a reference to a whale penis. That’s what I was thinking about the whole time I was reading this. I never went so far as to research it, but considering the source (my dad) it could be completely true, or it could be a buncha crap intended to get a laugh out of me.

    I just read non-linear girl’s comment, so I guess my dad was only partly right.

    Glad you’re back.

    Mel June 5, 2006 at 6:48 pm

    Welcome back! :)

    Jenny June 5, 2006 at 7:09 pm

    Ok, I say dude all the time and now it will never be the same. See you later, dolphin wiener. (Crap.)

    Mom101 June 5, 2006 at 11:25 pm

    The missing was mutual, HBM. I love seeing you, hearing you, knowing you’re back. (and thanks for the email – glad to know something or other did the trick. whatever it may have been.)

    sunshine scribe June 6, 2006 at 12:18 pm

    Dude, welcome back. And I so will be saying Dude all day now.

    We missed ya :)

    something blue June 7, 2006 at 1:27 pm

    Dude is going to be one those words that makes us parents sound like we are trying too hard to be cool. Totally dude.

    Home sweet home. Glad that you have returned!

    Anonymous February 25, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Hello Bad Mother. I know you put this blog up a year ago….but my husband and I laughed so hard at our own similar experience with this expression – and search for the true meaning. My first response was to type in dude for the definition – then (embarrasingly) “camel penis”. I am so glad we found your site.
    I hope that we haven’t unwittingly joined you on some beastiality pervert site – as innocent parents trying to uncover the truth. lol.
    Thanks for the enlightenment.
    The Davies Family

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