So this one day, when I was maybe six or seven, I was playing around in the basement of my childhood home. My brother was sitting on the couch doing homework or something, and my dad was working on the computer, which was on a desk in the corner of our downstairs living room.
I had been making paper airplanes, a skill I was proud of when I was a kid. The one I had made was nothing fancy, but it flew pretty darn well, thank you very much.
So there I am, throwing the plane back and forth and making up some silly story in my head. Of course, I was talking out loud, too, because when I was a kid, there wasn’t a moment when I wasn’t talking out loud.
I remember distinctly that I was speaking in what I would call an “old timey” accent. (Speaking in an accent – also not unusual when I was a kid…) I think it’s officially called the “continental” dialect, which is what all actors were supposed to use back in the day to sound like they were neither British nor American or something. Whatever it is, I love(d) it, and I guess I liked to mimic it when I was a little kid (and maybe in my day to day life at age 26, whatever, leave me alone).
All of a sudden, on what would become my final throw of the evening, the paper airplane whipped around like a boomerang and flew directly into me, hitting me in the face. I flinched dramatically, then laughed, brushing the plane away with a sassy flip of my hand. Then I said, “Oh! You bastard, you!”
And the room fell silent.
For about two seconds. Then my dad went, “ANDREA!”
“Watch your language! Where did you hear that word? That’s a bad word! Don’t ever say that again!”
“Do you hear me!?”
I think my brother just stared at me in horror. I was always the one doing the bold stuff (see: pushing the limits and getting into trouble).
I’m fairly certain that I went upstairs and cried to my mom. And I don’t remember the next time I made a paper airplane, but I’m guessing I took a short hiatus.
That was when I learned not to throw words around if I don’t know what they mean.*
*Probably the reason I was always scared to talk during Philosophy classes at university. Or during any theoretical English classes. Because what if I just thought I knew what I was saying, but I was actually wrong?