It’s called “fronting.” That’s what Skippy’s speech therapist calls it…the thing that Skippy does, that makes it so perfectly impossible sometimes to understand what he is saying. The other day I handed him a spoon of creamy peanut butter with a square of Hershey’s chocolate stuck in it, for a snack. Skippy for Skippy. He said, “You know what this is?” he asked. I thought, yes, it’s peanut butter and chocolate. “What, Skip?” “It’s Weasel Butt.” I did not see that coming. “Weasel Butt?” “NO! Wea. Sel. Butt.” “That’s what I said: Weasel Butt.” Well, after ten frustrating minutes, and some major head-scratching, it turned out he was trying to say “Reese’s Cup.” Argh! I can tell you that they are no longer called Reese’s P.B. Cups around our house… Weasel Butt it is. But you see my problem. It takes major concentration to have a prolonged conversation with Skippy.
But today at lunch, while we were baking out on the backyard swing, we had such a talk. Skippy started it: “Do you know what is a very bad way to die? In space, with no helmet.” I had to agree. It is a bad way to go. I told him, “You know what I think would be a bad way to die?” “What?” he asked. “On fire!” “Oooooh! Yeah… or,” he added, “in the desert with no clothes and covered in honey.” Wow. I have to admit I had not thought of that way. But he’s right. It’s a bad way to go. “What is the worst part about that, Skippy?” His reply was simple: “I hate sticky stuff on me.”
My dad and I used to have a conversation every Thanksgiving that was pretty much designed to drive my mom crazy. It started with Dad indicating the big, raw naked bird that my mom was trying to wrangle into the oven, and asking me, “How do you think he died?” “Well, we could surmise from where we found him, that he froze to death,” I would say. Dad would nod, seriously, and say, “Interesting theory, but since he was encased in plastic, it is probably more likely that he smothered to death.” It says right on the bag that you’re not supposed to let kids or animals play with plastic. I would hold up the small plastic bag that Mom had removed from the body cavity, and say, “I think he may have been dead before that. Judging by this, he was missing a gizzard.” Dad: “Well, it’s probably just as well. He was going to die anyway.” “Really? Why?” I would ask. “Well, somebody cut off his head.” The conversation would deteriorate further as we would mention all the things the poor bird lacked in order to be alive. I’ll admit it. We are pretty morbid around here.
I actually decided a long time ago that the best way to go, is freezing to death in a blizzard. You wander around for awhile, lost and disoriented. Then you think to yourself, I’m just going to sit here for a minute and rest. What! Have you never watched “Little House on the Prairie??? As soon as you do that, you’re dead. But, all in all, not a bad way to go, right?