Anatomical Pet Names (Part Deux)

August 25, 2009

So what about my son? Well, I don’t recall who was responsible for the anatomical pet name we used for him, but what the heck, I’ll blame my wife. I do this because the name picked was “Penny.” I realize that it was close to the name of the actual anatomical part, but c’mon, a penny? That’s the smallest unit of currency we have! Give the kid some self esteem and call it a quarter. I suppose it will be OK though, what with inflation rates and all. And I am pretty sure he’ll be taking full advantage of the cost of living increases, too.

Anyway, the name “penny” worked quite well . . . that is, until the movie “Bolt” came out. “Bolt” is an animated movie about a dog (named Bolt) who is the star of a television show. But, Bolt doesn’t know it’s just a show, he thinks its all real, even down to the super powers he supposedly has. Bolt’s mission is to thwart the efforts of the evil “Green Eyed Man” and his evil assistants, which turn out to be Cats. Alas, one day Bolt finds himself accidentally off the studio lot at which point he realizes he is just an ordinary dog.

The movie seemed innocent enough, except for one little fact, Bolt’s owner, the person he loves the most, and the one whom he is responsible for protecting in every episode . . . is a girl . . . and her name is “Penny.” So when Bolt tells the cats to take a message to the “Green Eyed Man” and that message is that Bolt will not rest “Until my Penny is free from his evil clutches,” I had some explaining to do. And when the “Green Eyed Man” tells Bolt that he will kidnap his “Lucky Penny,” I had some more explaining to do. Of course I simply told him that there’s nothing wrong with having a “Lucky Penny” and that he would be wise to keep in from “clutches” of all men whether they had green eyes or not. He seemed to agree, and after the ceremonial fist bump we call “Knuckles” we kept watching the movie. But one more hurdle remained.

About half way through the movie, my three year old son pressed pause. As I turned to look at him, I saw him staring down at his crotch. The confused look on his face told me that something was amiss. Slowly he turned his head, and looked up at me, furrowed brow and all. And then he softly asked “Dad? Penny is a girl?” Now there are few things in this world that will leave me speechless. I usually have an answer for everything, even if I have to make one up. But for some reason, as my son looked at me with this “what the hell were you thinking naming my unit after a girl” look on his face, I drew a blank. Even my thoughts didn’t make sense (“Well, um, the thing is, here, son in the landmark of Fishbine vs. Arizona, the US Supreme Court held that monkeys and dinosaurs were categorically denied rights based on the heretofore union of car batteries and lip balm.”)

He asked again “Penny’s a girl?” I felt my chest constrict even further, as I thought “Pull it together, man! Pull it together!” A few deep breaths, and then I calmly said “The Penny on TV is a girl. Your Penny is not.” It was simple, and it seemed to work. He looked appeased. Whew!

About a week later, I was picking him up from the in home day care we take him to. As I was gathering his things, the provider said to me “You are the one who changes his diaper at home most of the time, aren’t you.” I said “Yeah, why?” And then she told me that lately when she changes his diaper at day care, she’ll tell him that she needs to clean his Penny and he’ll correct her “No No, its my Lucky Penny.”

Smart boy. Smart boy.

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