Sunday, February 8, 2015

Dick, Dick, Dick

As it is with most moments of horror, the seconds of reality stretched like hours. Time slowed. It happened like this.

There are two boys in one of the younger grades. I won't mention the grade, and I won't mention the names of the boys. We'll call them Tom and Jerry. Tom is talkative, worldly, and has an older brother. He knows things. Jerry is also talkative, follows through on every impulse, and acts like any sort of attention is good attention. He is young, probably the oldest in his family or an only child. He is not worldly.

Worldly means "knows all the bad words." You can imagine where this is going.

I spent the first 10 minutes of library helping the children pick out books while admonishing Tom and Jerry every few minutes. 

Settle down, please. 
Sit in your seat properly, please. 
Please make a different choice.

The usual positive mumbo-jumbo that, frankly, I'm not all that convinced works with some kids. (Post for another day.)

At one point a child, not Tom or Jerry, said something was dumb. Gasps filled the room. Children began murmuring. Jerry was not about to miss out on an opportunity for attention.

Scandalous laughter. "He said the D-word!"

And then Tom, worldly, has-an-older-brother-Tom, said, "What D-word?"


My Mother Sonar detected a threat in waters ahead. I stamped books, directed kids to the sections they wanted, and kept one ear trained on the torpedo fast approaching the library.

"He said dumb."

"That's not the D-word."

Ping. Ping.

"Yes it is."

Ping. Ping. Ping.

"No it's not."

"Then what is it?"

Ping. Ping. Ping. Ping.

I know from experience that the best way to keep a class from devolving into a pack of sailors on leave is to effect an air of nonchalance so that the rest of the class isn't aware of the scandal in their midst.

That's enough talking, boys. Read your books. Stamp, shut, slide. The Geronimo Stilton books are over there.

A whisper. "The D-word is dick."


"Dick? What does dick mean?"

Ping! Ping!

Stamp, shut, slide. Enjoy your book! Boys, I won't ask you again.

Another whisper, a general wave below the belt. "It's your private parts."

"Dick," said Jerry. He rolled the word around on his tongue like a gum ball, testing it for taste and texture.

Ping! Ping! Ping!

"You're not supposed to say it!" It was Tom's turn to be scandalized, but he wasn't so much scandalized as he was gasping with laughter.

"Dick, dick, dick."

Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping!

"What's so funny, Tom?" said a girl from across the room.

"Jerry keeps saying the D-word!"

Gasp. Girls whispering. "Jerry said dumb."

"That's not the real D-word!" said Jerry.

"Then what is it?"

"It's dick. Dick, dick, dick."

"Jerry said dumb? Oh my gosh!"

"No, he said dick."

"What's dick?"

"The real D-word!"

Red alert! Red alert! Red alert! 

I was able to diffuse the situation quickly after that with a quick I have no idea what Tom and Jerry are talking about everyone start reading quietly or you're going back to class early.

Tom and Jerry went back to class with notes in hand. I spoke with their teacher, who spoke with the parents. I received letters of apology from the boys the next day. 

All in all, it was a Monday.

And the funny thing is, I hate the word dick. It's a word I never use, ever. I even had trouble writing it out on the discipline notice to the teacher. Maybe it's because in my first grade class there was a little boy named Richard. He had strawberry blonde hair and freckles all over his face. Freckles everywhere. His parents called him Dick. The teachers called him Dick. We called him Dick. Everyone called him Dick because that was his nickname. His name was Dick, he had freckles everywhere, and he was really nice. He was one of the few classmates I actually spoke to because I was so painfully shy.

So maybe that's why I don't like that word. It's forever synonymous with a freckle-faced boy who was nice enough to draw a shy girl out of her shell. My last memory of Dick was after a birthday party at a bowling alley. All the kids and parents were heading off to their respective cars, and Dick's dad was parked nose-to-nose with my dad.

"Goodbye, Julieta!" said Dick. "I'll see you at school on Monday!"

"Goodbye!" I said, almost like a normal child.

"That boy sure is nice," my dad said. "Do you like Dick?"



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. hahahaha! I just love it when you tell a story. This, like so many of them, is perfect. Thanks for the laugh! Happy Monday!

    1. Laughing is always a good way to start a Monday. :)

  3. I laughed so hard at this last night!

    When my BFF was pregnant with her son they were discussing names at Easter dinner. Her sweet, sweet, sweet 70 year old MIL suggested Richard and she declined due to the common nickname. MIL stated so firmly "Well, I've never met a Dick I didn't like." Needless to say, that brought the house down! :D

    1. Aaaaahahahahahahaha!!! That's exactly what I'm talking about! I actually had a similar ending in my original post, but I edited it to make it *slightly* more tame. I keep forgetting that parents from school/kids could read this blog without looking to hard for it! :/

  4. Oh, that is so funny. Poor you! (Side note: When my daughter, Juliana, is playing house or whatever, she usually wants her name to be's "cooler.")

    1. Hilarious, since all I wanted when I was a kid was to be called Jenny!

  5. Good story. What a hoot. Thanks for a laugh.

  6. Oh, the joys of learning the darker side of the English language...

    I get to re-live this every time I have a class full of international students. It's a little easier in college to just tell them what a word means, but sometimes I run into the more filthy words that I don't want to really have a discussion about in class, so I have learned to delegate to another student to tell them after class. and that seems to work. :-)

  7. I remember when a friend I was teaching with was expecting her first child, a boy. She was going through picking names, and commented that they had to be careful, as their last name was Johnson. Evidently, I was unaware of another innuendo well into my 20s. They settled on Owen. :)

  8. Replies
    1. You have no idea how badly I wanted to laugh.

  9. Loved the story. I volunteer/sub in the library at my kids Catholic school. My embarrassing moment was with the internet. One of the older students turned off the filter (don't know if it was intentional or not) and one of the younger students got a naughty pop-up. Luckily, it was my son's class, so I knew the little girl. Luckily she didn't know what it was and she got me immediately. None of the other students saw it. We quickly got rid of the pop-up and I spoke to her mom at the end of the day. I laughed when it was over. Our technology teacher turned the filter back on and wiped the history. It was quite the adventure.

  10. Oh my gosh ... your story just made my day. I'll bet you LOL'ed your whole drive home thinking about how you were going to blog this and then especially how you were going to end it. LOVE your style, your wit and your attitude. - KarenA; who has no profile so commenting as anonymous, but reads your posts religiously :-)

  11. Loved this story. Kids can be so crazy. We have a friends with this name whose last name is the opposite of short (not tall, the one that starts with an L). He goes by his full name but we're like really, who names their kid Dick *Not Short?* (I hate to type it out and have it come out on a google search haha). His wife says he laughs when people bring it up and he'll say "What man wouldn't want to be named that haha." To be honest, this guy is as clean as they come and I've never heard a swear word leave his lips. Men (of all ages) are crazy. But I guess you'd have to learn to embrace it if that was your name.

    Speaking of names, I never knew your full name was Julieta! That's so pretty! I think Jules is the prettiest nickname and almost named my new baby Julia just so I could call her that but we have a last name conflict. Jules could be a nickname for Jane right? Ugh? It's too far, I know...

    Also, I'm working on a title for your book.... something like Mrs. Kendall- lawyer to librarian... something else. I don't know. But I hope you get it going soon (in all your spare time right?!)

  12. What a sweet and funny story. Don't you just love how your mom superpowers function in the classroom/library, too, just when the kids don't expect it! My students were always shocked at my supersonic hearing. (They don't know that they're just really unskilled whisperers.)

    1. How lame, replying to my own comment. Just had to add a funny moment with our art teacher, whose husband is Dick. She tends to drink a fair amount at parties, and gallivant about in high Art Teacher style. I'll never forget her talking dramatically about something, pausing to notice her empty glass, and saying, "I just need a little more....Dick!" as she looked for her husband to fill her glass. An indelible moment, retold to great hilarity.

  13. Best title for a blog post. Ever.

  14. Dying at the end of your post.
    The husband of my Mom's best friend is a Richard but has never been called anything but Dick. It is who he is, never thought twice about it.
    My husband is also named Richard, and was called Dick a few times by old timers at his office when he was new. Annoyed him to NO end and this is a man who is very, very, very rarely annoyed. Of course, that was 25 years ago, so very few people left who naturally jump from Richard to... you know. Thank goodness.

  15. This, my friend, is awesome.

    Of course, now I'm having to rethink the Dicks in my life. There's really only one. My co-worker's ex-husband is something of a jerk. Trying to be funny through her tears one day she called him King Richard . . . so, naturally, I felt I had no choice but to start calling him Dick. Now I'm feeling guilty . . . :)

  16. Honestly I thought I commented on this. I read it aloud to the mister and cracked up. Maybe I was laughing too hard and forgot to actually submit. Such a great post!


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