O bitter is my cup!
However could I do it?
I mixed those children up,
and not a creature knew it!
—Buttercup, HMS Pinafore
Peace and joy, Camper.
Young persons have wonderful questions; don’t listen to your parents on this. As you must have noticed, parents are impressed with you only when you’re a baby.
“Oh, would you listen at that? She just said ‘euphemism!’ Harold, get my mother on the phone! Tasha just said ‘euphemism!’ Harold!”
When you’re older and you have something serious to discuss, parents are just not that good.
"Why does America have a bicameral legislature?"
"Now you listen here, young man. America may not be perfect, but you’d best be grateful to live here at all, instead of some place like . . . like Muskogee, where they don’t even have a camera!”
Since they’re confused by everything you say, the best question to ask your mother or father is some version of the classic Keep-Them-Off-Balance Trio:
No, seriously, who were my real parents?
Why does that woman keep calling for Dad?
Nothing bad happens when you put water in the gas tank, does it?
Your Uncle Jerry was always a quiet child. Evidently, the midwife set him among the muppets in the nursery, and because there were eleven other children in the family, no one really noticed. Until he was 4 years old, that is, when nanny tried to replace the stick up his . . . never mind about that. But this is why Uncle Jerry has what the nice doctor calls “abandonment issues.”
Abandonment can excuse a multitude of transgressions—such as that prison-style tattoo you got in eighth grade and still haven’t showed your mom. When she surprises you coming out of the shower, you can say angrily, “Well, excuse me! I just needed to find out if you really loved me—and now I can see the answer to my question.”
A second advantage of this question is that you’ll soon have your own place to live. Under a bridge, of course, but your very own.
Joy and peace.