“What does ‘shamone’ mean, Mummy?” asked Maxi as I drove her home from Cubs, shrieking along to some Scissor Sisters song on the radio.
I took a deep breath, remembered that it was only me and Maxi in the car, and launched into a complicated explanation. I told her all about an old TV comedy and how that was based on Michael Jackson’s use of the word in ‘Bad‘. I explained that what made it funny was that a softly-spoken, religious man was being depicted as a foul-mouthed ghetto-language speaker.
“So”, I explained, “When lots of people say ‘Sha-MOOOONE!” like that, they’re imitating the Michael Jackson character in Bo’ Selecta, but missing out the motherf***er bit”.
Maxi nodded thoughtfully. “Doesn’t sound very funny”.
“No. I guess not”, I agreed.
“But what does motherf***er mean?” she asked.
Oh no… I am such a bad mother… Why did I give her such a detailed explanation?! So we talked about slang words for sex and incest and why I didn’t want to hear her use those words. “If you say them at school, you’ll get suspended. And if you tell one of your friends, their parents will go bonkers with us both. Ohhhhh, I should never have said anything…!”, I said, metaphorically wringing my stupid hands (I was driving. They stayed on the steering wheel. Honest)
“Mum, if I wasn’t your daughter, I’d say you were an idiot”, said Maxi.
“And I’d agree”, I said sadly.
“So, basically, what you’re saying is that ‘shamone’ means ‘woohoo'”, said my clever little daughter. “Why didn’t you just say that in the first place?”
That’s the second time this week one of the minxes has left me speechless.