Archive for November, 2010

WTF is a ptarmigans?

November 12, 2010

I was helping Mack with his “5th grade” vocabulary words the other evening after dinner.  All that was required was to write a sentence for each vocabulary word.  I often help Mack with sentence structure because if I didn’t lend a hand, every sentence would sound like this “I have good nation“, “He has a solid” or better yet “My butt is lubricated” (you can probably see why I choose to help him).  Here is how the drill went the other night.

Dad- Dude, The word is environment- “Mankind cares for the environment by recycling garbage” (how’s that for being uber-PC?)

Mack- Too long Dad, how about this- “The environment is nice” (brief and single syllable is Mack’s mantra)

Dad- Right-O buddy I can live with that

(The next word on the vocab list was ptarmigans- I’m not shitting you- I’ve read the word 50 times since that night and I still can’t friggin say it correctly)

Dad-  The next word is p-tarmeeg-ans, fart-nar-geums, puntang-a-reemis, ptarmigans- WTF is a ptarmigans?

Mack- Is that spelled with a “ck” or just a “k” Dad?

Dad- Dude, seriously, what the hell is ptarmigans?

Mack- I don’t think that’s an appropriate sentence either Dad

Question, in what world does a 5th grade boy actually find the opportunity to use a word like “ptarmigans”?

The answer is- none, unless you reside on planet “Nerd” where warring tribes scrabble to the death as a means of resolving  ancestreal feuds.

I’ve been alive for over forty years, traveled to more countries than I care to remember and not once in my life span have I ever found the opportunity, or need, to use this word in a sentence.  Come to think about it, I’ve never heard anyone else use this word either- not even on Discovery channel!  So the question is why is our school system cluttering the limited space left in my kid’s brain housing unit with completely useless words?  Why don’t his educators teach him a word that MAYBE he’ll have a opportunity to use? I think both questions are completely reasonable?  But before I rant further let’s find out just what a ptarmigan is.  Who knows maybe it’s an up-and-coming word that everyone will be using in the very near future- you know, sort of like “Holla”, “Aiight”, “Fo-Shizzle” or even “Snap!”.  It could be that I lack hipness and this word is on the verge of being the next big thing.    Drum roll please- So just what is (are) ptarmigans?



Oh look, it’s a frigging bird.  Now that’s a word my son can use- why not put that on his vocabulary test?  I bet you if he replaced “ptarmigans” with “bird” in casual conversation he would receive a lot fewer ass kickings.

Now that I know what it is let me see if I can correctly use it in a sentence-

“Ptarmigans taste like chicken.”

“Last night I watched the classic Alfred Hitchcock film The Ptarmigans.”

“Look at all of the ptarmigans flying south for the winter” (makes me think of those creepy-ass flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz)

“A giant ptarmigan shit on my windshield” (again imagine a flying monkey dropping a deuce on your vehicle just after you had it waxed)

“A-well-a ptarmigans, ptarmigans, p-ptarmigans the word
A-well-a don’t you know about the ptarmigans?
Well, everybody knows that the partimigans is the word!

That shit doesn’t work either- but if you replaced ptarmigans with the term “bird” that little ditty turns into an iconic song that very nearly defined an entire generation.

Bottom line I don’t like this word- nor do I like those people who do.

BTW, if your some sort of Bird-Guy, don’t bother trying to explain to me why this word is necessary- I ain’t buying what your selling and I will only ridicule you for trying to educate me.  I am un-educatable when it comes to making things more complex than they need to be.

Here’s my moment of tolerance

You like “po-tay-to” and I like “po-tah-to”,
You like “to-may-to” and I like “to-mah-to”;
You like “ptarmigans” and I say shut up it’s a friggin “BIRD”

Guess not, no tolerance tonight- where’s the wine?

Subject #1- “Let me poke you in the butt”

Subject #2- “No, it’ll hurt”

Subject #1- “Don’t worry I’ll only stick it in a little bit”

Subject #2- “No way- you’re not putting that thing anywhere near my butt”

Subject #1- “Come on, I stuck it in my butt and I didn’t feel a thing- watch” (sticks it in his butt- Doesn’t even flinch)

Subject #2- “You barely stuck it in- I don’t trust you, you’ll shove that thing all the way in if I let you do it to me”

Subject #1- “Fine- can I stick it in your arm?”

Subject #2- “Ehh- sure, why not”

You should be completely ashamed of yourself for the dirty thoughts you’re having right now.

The above listed dialog is nothing more than my son trying to convince his best friend that being stabbed in the hip with a cocktail sword isn’t really all that bad.  Okay, I get it- a little strange, but not nearly as strange, or disturbing, as what you were likely thinking when you read it the first time.

Here are the facts:

Connie and I treated Mack and his best buddy to sushi the other night.  We ordered them some Japanese dumpling thingies as an appetizer and as fate would have it they came with a whole glass full of those cute little cocktail swords.  You know the ones I’m talking about- the little swords used to skewer the olives that adorn your favorite martini.  My boys don’t drink martinis so they have no idea of their intended purpose.  My boys do engage in sword play however, so that’s exactly what they used them for.

Unable to claim a clear victory (because it’s difficult to draw blood with a 1.5 inch plastic saber) they decided to take turns voluntarily stabbing each other to identify the toughest ten-year old at the table.  Eventually they got around to stabbing each other in the butt.  The conversation that started this post is exactly what they said to each other. 

Connie and I were laughing so hard we couldn’t speak.  Not because we have personal experience with that conversation, but because, like you, we’re immature and inappropriate.  Its kind of like when you’re at the zoo and you see a monkey pleasuring himself- you know you shouldn’t laugh or encourage their behavior but you can’t help giggling like a school girl because it’s friggin funny- inappropriately so, but funny none-the-less.  For the record I also laugh uncontrollably when monkeys fling poop or playfully wrestle each other (at least that’s what I tell the boys they’re doing).

If I could have gained my composure I would have ended the banter before the rest of the restaurant’s patrons became offended, but sadly every time I opened my mouth to end it Mack would say something even more inappropriate.  I’m truly ashamed of my lack of discipline- but not ashamed enough that I won’t share this experience with as many people as I can- because like I said, it’s friggin funny.

Next week I promise to share with you the discussion Cayden had in Home Depot about the size of his “Caulk” (I’m not making this shit up)