One vowel can make a big difference

Yesterday it was just me and my three year-old, Isaiah John. We were cruising down the road in my truck, past bars and tattoo parlors.

Yes, there are tattoo parlors in Wichita.

The sun was out, the wind was blowing, and we didn’t have anywhere to be for a couple of hours. It’s times like that when a man can really appreciate a cold one. So I turned to Isaiah, only half-joking, and asked, “Hey buddy, what say we go get a beer?”

“YEAH!!” he shouted. He sat forward in his car seat, eyes ablaze with excitement. Now, I like a smooth draft as much as the next fellow, but this reaction seemed inordinate, especially since at most he only ever takes a tee-tiny sip of mine and then scrunches up his face, pronounces it “too spicy,” and then demands lemonade. He’s practically a little Carrie Nation, this kid, without the attendant theocratic fascist mentality.

All of which made his enthusiasm for a brew suspicious.Β Then I realized. We’ve been reading this book at night, you see. And in it, the brave little cowboy has a big furry sidekick.

“Hey little man,” I called back to him. “I said beer. Not bear.”

His joyous face became crestfallen. He looked at me reproachfully. “Oh.”

Bad father. Must learn to enunciate.


  1. NW Juliana

    Seeing as this Sunday past was the day the Orthodox church commemorates the First Council of Nicaea, I thought your post was going to be about the “not one iota” debate at that council regarding Homoousios vs. Homoiousios. πŸ˜‰

  2. Jim

    Funny, when I was a kid learning to read, I got excited every time my parents drove past a sign for a bar. “I want to go there!”

    They always shot me down; finally, they asked why I wanted to go to a bar so bad.

    Well, duh, I wanted to see the bear!

  3. Frankie

    On a Saturday a while ago me and my little guy were going to pick up a pizza. Riding in the car we listened to Eric Clapton on the radio. We walk into the crowded pizza joint and he loudly announced “I just love ‘Cocaine.'”

  4. Birdie

    When my daughter was little, I used to buy a stack of books and let her choose which one I would read at bedtime. One of the titles I held up was “Barry the Bravest Saint Bernard.” I told her it was a true story about a dog who saved people’s lives. She turned it down night after night and I would read another book. After a few weeks of this, the book was put on the shelf and forgotten.

    Fast forward to middle school. We’re cleaning out the bookshelf, determining which books to keep while we make room for more. I held up “Barry the Bravest Saint Bernard” and reminded her of how she repeatedly turned down the chance to hear the story.

    “THAT’S what it’s called?! I thought it was ‘Bury the Bravest Saint Bernard.’ You know, like in a grave.” She told me that she always wondered why her mother was so eager to read this gruesome tale.

    She kept the book.

  5. brianm0122

    Once, while I was driving, my son announced that he wanted to go “downtown”.

    I said “What, Why?

    He said I want to go downtown, to see the boats”

    I had ZZ Topp on the stereo, Billy Gibbons was singing about wanting to go downtown…I still don’t know how he got “Boats” out of “Tush”, but I am sure glad he did. He came home singing about wanting to “go downtown to see the boats”

  6. Serolf Divad

    LOL, my four year-old also refers to everything she doesn’t like as “spicy.”

  7. Sam

    We thought my very picky four year-old had turned some sort of culinary corner when he started demanding burritos for dinner. We happily packed up for the local Mexican joint when my wife wisely asked him what a burrito looked like.

    “It’s an orange chip.”

    Doritos, obviously. Bullet dodged.

  8. neil

    Last summer we went to a California state park with our 4-year-old. He spotted the signs with (illustrated!) warnings about bears and excitedly asked if we were going to see a bear.

    It felt bad to let the kid down by explaining that no, we weren’t going to see a bear, bears are wild animals, they don’t like people, etc., etc. But I really felt like a fool fifteen minutes later as we watched a bear cross the path just a few yards ahead of us…

  9. Ade

    > The sun was out

    OMG, the sun went out! We’re all going to die! πŸ˜‰

    > Bad father. Must learn to enunciate.

    Bad father, must learn to stop giving small children sips of alcohol πŸ™‚

  10. Amy

    My grandfather likes to tell about my 7-yr-old father, on their cross-country move driving from MA to WA, begging for a “carpet” every time they saw a billboard for one. He’d always wanted a pet, and they’d been in the car forever!

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