As a sports fan, I have always loved the Abbott & Costello skit, “Who’s on First?” I mean, the simplicity of it all, yet the comedic timing and delivery still makes laugh every time I hear or see it. It’s is pure genius. However, I never thought I would be using these two goofballs to help me through a parenting moment. But it did happen, this past weekend.
My 5 year old approached me with a serious question. I ran into a problem that many parents faced on a day to day basis. I didn’t know the answer. So I responded like any Dad would, “Je ne sais quoi.” He looked at me funny and said, “Dad, what does that mean?”
“I don’t know,” I replied as I continued preparing his lunch.
“No. Dad what does that mean?” he said with a little more passion.
“I don’t know,” I responded.
Suddenly he ran off down the hall to his room crying. I was perplexed. Then I thought for a moment. Wait a minute, he thought I was telling him I don’t know, and all he wanted was an answer. So, I ran down to his room.
“Drew, I do know what Je ne sais quoi means, it means I don’t know. I am so sorry. You thought I meant…” He slowly opened the door to his room, and I could see the tear streaks down his cheeks. He wasn’t completely convinced.
“Oh Drew, you thought I meant I didn’t know. Remember when I told you about Who’s on first?” It was a reach, but I thought maybe he would get it because he always laughed at the greatest Abbott & Costello skit.
“Yeah.” He said tentatively.
“Well it’s a little like that. Remember when the guy wanted to know “Who’s on first?” And the other guy would say, “Yes, who’s on first, what’s on second and I don’t know is on third.” There it was. The light bulb just clicked in that 5 year old brain.
“Oh, so you mean that “Je nuh say Kwah” actually means “I don’t know”?
Talk about a connecting parenting moment! Drew and I laughed about that one for a good ten minutes. I never thought a joke could make me a better parent, but it proves that we always need to watch out for who’s on First and what’s on Second because if you don’t know is on third, there is a chance you might never make it home.