In the world of not-so-shocking confessions and revelations, there’s this: I’m a great big kid. I still watch animated movies (even without my daughter), I still light up at the thought of ice cream, and I still play video games.
When I’m alone, I still transport myself to elaborate, Mitty-esque fantasy worlds where the tasks in front of me are a little less mundane and the time I spend on them passes a little bit faster.
Anyone who’s seen what I’ve rated on Goodreads lately can figure out that I’ve read a lot more comic books than novels over the past couple of years.
But the most important thing you need to know about me for today is simply this: Flatulence makes me laugh. Even now, the thought of editing the previous sentence to say Fart jokes still make me laugh or even just Farts make me laugh actually set me giggling more than I should probably admit.
I can’t help but chuckle at a well placed That’s what she said.
Since my daughter was born, my wife and I have even created our own local variation of the game. We call it And that’s how you were made.
An example, paraphrased from a wrestling match with some new children’s furniture from IKEA:
“You need to hold this straight while I pound it in.”
“And that’s how you were made.”
It’s great, because it’s not plagued by the obvious gender bias that haunts That’s what she said, effectively doubling your chances at some crude, accidental double-entendre.
So, I suppose it was only a matter of time before the eternally adolescent side of my middle-aged brain decided to victimize one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature.
Like any two year old, my daughter has a mind like a sponge. Sometimes we like to give it a little squeeze to see what oozes out. While reading to her, my wife and I will stop midsentence and see how much she can recite. Lately, we’ve started deliberately making mistakes while we read to see how quickly our daughter corrects us.
And this is where the trouble begins.
Before bedtime recently, my daughter brought me a battered copy of Arthur’s Nose. I lifted her into my lap, held the book up in front of her, and reverentially proclaimed “Arthur’s Buttocks”.
My daughter, of course, dutifully corrected me. And bless her little heart. She was completely unfazed by my sudden lapse into the risqué and quickly forgot all about it.
I wish I could say the same for her father.
From that point on, my inner 13-year-old read every reference to Arthur’s nose as “Arthur’s buttocks”.
This is Arthur. He is worried about his *buttocks*.
This is Arthur’s mom.
This is Arthur’s dad.
This is Arthur’s sister.
They all love Arthur, and they all like his *buttocks*.
One day Arthur decided he didn’t like his *buttocks*.
He had a cold and his *buttocks* was red.
His sister thought his *buttocks* looked funny.
All mildly amusing, but relatively harmless. And then…
His *buttocks* was a nuisance at school.
Francine, who sat in front of Arthur, complained to the teacher that Arthur’s *buttocks* was always bothering her.
That was when I officially lost it. My wife returned from rinsing out the bathtub to find me red, tear-streaked, and near the point of convulsions. I had a nervously tittering 2-year-old trying to keep her balance on my lap as I sputtered my way through the book in choked clips and broken phrases. I couldn’t even hold it together long enough to explain to my wife what was wrong.
And who can blame me?
Try it yourself. For an extra challenge, try to reimagine the illustrations as you go. If you can keep a straight face, you’re a better person than I.
[And, yes, I’m aware that
inserting substituting *penis* instead of *buttocks* results in an equally funny read. And, yes, I’m aware that the first-gen Marc Brown illustrations really take on a new life as a result. But, this is a children’s book we’re talking about here. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!]
I wish I could say that this was the only time my inner adolescent reared his ugly head into storytime. But of course it wasn’t.
Arthur’s Eyes was a dud, but Arthur’s Tooth was an Epic Win from page 1:
Finally, Arthur had a loose *buttocks*.
He wiggled it with his tongue.
He wiggled it with his finger.
He wiggled it all the time.
I won’t spoil it for you, but I can’t deny my glee as I read about Francine’s *buttocks* falling out on her desk during math class, prompting Arthur to get up very early the next day for the sole purpose of wiggling his own loose *buttocks*.
So, next time you’re in the library, don’t be afraid to saunter into the children’s section for a few minutes and indulge your inner-adolescent. And if you find another winner, please let me know.
Story time just might depend on it!
And if anyone can find me a copy of that movie they watch in school, Nasty Mr. *Buttocks* Decay, I will totally give you all my desserts for a month.
Brown, Marc. Arthur’s Eyes. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1979.
Brown, Marc. Arthur’s Nose. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1976.
Brown, Marc. Arthur’s Tooth. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1985.