|© Diana Thomson|
When my sisters were small, they knew a boy whose mother had taught him to call poop “plop,” as in the sound it makes when it hits the toilet water.
This strikes me as a mom trying too hard to be cute.
My sisters adjusted the word, as only little kids can. They started calling it “bonk,” expanding it sometimes to “ca ca bonk.” To this day, this expression remains in active use in my family.
The first time I brought my husband-to-be home to meet my parents, he spotted my mother, standing out in the rain in the backyard, trying to get Rufus, a sullen little lhasa apso mop-head of a dog, to pee.
“Make winkie-tinks! Make winkie-tinks!” my mother was crying.
My husband went out to join her in the cheerleading. He thought it was funny, which was good, since my family and I were letting our freak flags fly with him right from the beginning.
Rufus, not amused, did not pee.
I don’t like the terms “number one” and “number two.” These were obviously coined by someone who does not find poop, pee and farts funny – and I do not trust such people.
There is a septic-tank-cleaning company in Connecticut, however, whose slogan is, “We’re Number One in the Number-Two Business.” They also call their pumper trucks “honey wagons.” I like this company.
Kids in my family call their rear-ends “dupies,” from the Polish word “dupa.” One of the (many) roots of our family tree lay in Poland, you see.
If they haven’t already, I think linguists should study the development of bathroom words, particularly ones taught to children. Changing social mores, changing notions of children, of humor, the evolution of existing words, borrowing from other languages, it’s all there.