Grammar Lesson With DJ Ryan

Car radio
Way too much of this when Ryan sits up front.

Now that Ryan is old enough and large enough to ride in the front seat of our car, he takes great pleasure in assuming the role of in-car DJ. The second he’s buckled in, he begins scanning the programmed radio stations, looking for a song he likes.

Ryan’s taste in music isn’t bad. Unlike his sister, he actually likes a lot of the same music I do. Riley dismisses anything I like as “old,” and is uninterested in giving it a try (except, oddly, for Blondie and the Beatles — I have no idea why). But despite decent taste in music, allowing Ryan to control the radio is incredibly annoying. He clicks through the stations rapid-fire, pausing no more than one or two seconds before going on to the next. He recognizes the songs that quickly. Even when he does find a song he likes, or when I ask him to stop on a song I like, he has to check the rest of the programmed stations just to make sure there’s nothing better on. In a 20-minute car ride, he changes stations approximately 6 million times.

Occasionally it gets to be too much. I demand he stop changing stations and leave a particular song on. The other day, all the stations were airing commercials at the same time except one, which was playing the Pink song, “Blow Me One Last Kiss.” Tired of him cycling through the various commercials dozens of times, I told him to leave the Pink song on.

Because I was in a playful mood and because I knew it would appeal to him, at least enough to stop changing stations, I pointed out that there was lots of suggested cursing in this particular song, and if he paid attention to the lyrics, he could figure out all the spots where the curse words (which were just silences on the radio edit of the track) were supposed to go.

Big mistake.

At first he insisted on singing these parts himself, loudly screaming the curse words. Cursing, after all, is a hobby of Ryan’s. Just ask him.

But something didn’t sit right with him. He turned down the volume to ask me a question. It was just after the portion of the song where she sings:

Have you had a s&#t day? Yeah!
We’ve had a s&#t day. Yeah!

“Dad, is the curse word that’s missing ‘s&#t’ ?” he asked.

I laughed and said that it was. The next thing Ryan said caught me totally by surprise.

“But isn’t ‘s&#t’ a noun, not an adjective?”

I was floored. I had to give him his due, before trying to explain the concept that curse words are very versatile parts of speech. All I kept picturing in my head was the old George Carlin routine where he expounds on the versatility of the F-word (YouTube link, NSFW). I don’t think we’re quite ready for that one yet, although in a moment of parenting weakness we once allowed Ryan to watch a YouTube clip of then-Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau drop an insane number of F-bombs in a brief intermission speech to his team (YouTube link, NSFW).

Regardless of the context, I think Ryan’s language-arts teacher would be quite proud of him for correctly identifying the parts of speech in the song lyric. We don’t get to chop the circumstances under which our children apply the lessons they learn in school. I’m just happy he was able to take the lesson out of the class room and apply it to a real-life situation.

Oh, and right after we had this exchange, he changed the station.


5 thoughts on “Grammar Lesson With DJ Ryan

  1. Does Ryan get to watch HBO’s 24/7 for the Winter Classic, where players say “f#%^*n’ right!” after every goal, fight, and successful shoelace tying? That could be a fun one for you guys…


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