I only discovered this today, but I think I’ve done it most of my life: I carry around a bag of funny nouns.
The topic on the playground carousel was Halloween costumes. Boo, as you’ll remember, is going to be a pink UPS Man. We learned who was going to be Spiderman and who a race car driver, and then we came to R–, a three-year old who’s a good sport and humors my jokes.
“What are you going to be for Halloween, R—?” I asked, but quickly interrupted during the slight pause while she marshaled her words with a guess: “Are you going to be a park bench?”
“Nooo-ho-ho-oo!” she laughed. I live for that little-kid version of “No” where they chortle the O into four or five syllables.
“Are you going to be a rutabaga?”
“A pot roast?”
Well, you get the idea. After the joke had worn itself out (which takes a pleasantly long time with a little kid — I think I’d risk a career change into stand-up comedy if I could ensure audiences from the under-6 set), she finally informed me that she was to be a princess. (Erp! In our family we spell out the word “princess” like it’s profanity so as to keep Boo from hearing it too much.)
What I discovered about myself, though, was that I have a list of these semi-goofy yet clean nouns at my immediate command all the time, just for such occasions. I collect and use ‘em like candy to liven up “Guess what?” games — rutabaga, in particular, seems to show up a lot.
Now that the presence of this “oddment stash” has risen to my conscious mind, it’s time to expose and expand it! Here’s my current silly noun list, guaranteed to evoke laughter or confusion or derision (or all three) in small children:
- magic toenails
- pink parakeet
- nose hair
Got any others? I can always use some more.